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Malden teachers’ union votes no confidence in superintendent


Schools

The union says the superintendent did a poor job of consulting with the union on important issues.

Malden, MA – 04/28/22 – Malden High School. (Lane Turner/Globe Staff)

The union that represents teachers and other staff at Malden Public Schools overwhelmingly passed a vote of no confidence in Superintendent Ligia Noriega-Murphy on Wednesday night, The Boston Globe reported Thursday.

The newspaper reported that the union attributed the vote of no confidence to Noriega-Murphy’s failure to communicate before announcing 63 layoffs last month, as well as multiple incidents in which they claim the superintendent tried to make changes that would require union input as per their contract. .

“Communication from the superintendent has been lacking, opaque and not honest,” said MEA Chair Deb Gesualdo. World.

The World reported that disputes between the Malden Education Association (MEA), which represents more than 700 Malden educators, and Noriega-Murphy have been going on for months, but tensions have now reached a fever pitch.

More than 99% of MEA members who were at the meeting on Wednesday night approved of the vote of no confidence, the newspaper reported, and in recent weeks parents and students have questioned his credentials.

Noriega-Murphy told the World Thursday that she was not surprised by the union’s vote.

“They focus more on adults than students,” she said.

Noriega-Murphy became superintendent last summer after working for Boston Public Schools as a school administrator for more than 20 years, the World reported.

While there, the paper writes, she was praised for improving education at a high school with poor academic performance, but was also criticized for hiring a dean who later went to jail for shooting one of his students.

The MEA says Noriega-Murphy attempted to make numerous major changes without consulting them or honoring the contract during his first year at the district, the World reported, including changing the way teachers are evaluated, changing job descriptions, and offering less stipend money without renegotiating the contract.

Additionally, Gesualdo told the Worldthe district last month gave the union little notice before announcing 63 jobs to be cut next year and failed to properly explain the reasons for the layoffs.

In a presentation to parents last month, the newspaper reported, Noriega-Murphy said the district chose not to rehire 18 teachers because of their poor performance.

But Gesualdo told the World that some of the teachers were found to be “competent” on the assessments, and therefore the union doubts the veracity of the district’s explanation.

“It’s a very good example of dishonest communication,” Gesualdo told the World.

This year alone, MEA members have filed seven class action lawsuits, in addition to 11 individual complaints, the newspaper writes.

School committee member Adam Weldai agreed with the union, telling the World he thinks the district did a “really poor job” communicating with the public and teachers, and that he thinks the superintendent made “many missteps” in his freshman year.

The mass firing of teachers has caused some Malden parents and students to question Noriega-Murphy’s stated qualifications, the newspaper wrote.

Noriega-Murphy is often referred to by the prefix Dr., including in district communications and on its official website. However, the World reported, the resume she used to apply for the Malden job did not mention a doctorate.

Noriega-Murphy’s explanation to the World is that she has a doctorate in urban education from the University of Salamanca in Spain. She said she didn’t list it on her resume because it wasn’t necessary for the job and because “a legal issue with my spouse prevented me from listing it.”

Weldai also told the World that the superintendent told the school committee that she had a doctorate after she was hired.



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