New York Daily News

Parents’ nitemare

Principal hired despite girl’s death, misdeeds


A DISGRACED city principal who was fired after one of his students drowned on a field trip has a new job as the leader of a troubled Bronx charter school.

Former Columbia Secondary School Principal Jose Maldonado-Rivera was put on probation after the tragic death of 12-year-old Nicole Suriel on an unguarded beach in June 2010.

He was fired five months later — and banned from work in city schools — when investigat­ors caught him using his school employee mistress as a baby-sitter.

But none of this prevented Maldonado-Rivera from snagging a top job at the Dr. Richard Izquierdo Health and Science Charter School in the Bronx.

Though publicly funded, charters are not held to city hiring rules, and Maldonado-Rivera said he de- serves the gig.

“Just take a look at my résumé. It speaks for itself,” he told the Daily News. “There is no question about my competence.”

City officials disagree. Maldonado-Rivera was at the helm of Columbia Secondary School when he allowed Nicole’s class to travel to a Long Island beach without permission from parents.

The sixth-grader did not know how to swim.

Maldonado-Rivera managed to keep his job after the tragedy but lost it when investigat­ors caught him in “an inappropri­ate financial relationsh­ip” with his parent coordinato­r and live-in girlfriend, Mon- ica Marin-Reyes.

He was fired for “repeated failures in judgment,” and the ousted educator left the city to run a school in Tanzania for a year. His girlfriend resigned.

Although Maldonado-Rivera is banned from working in city-run schools, Education Department spokeswoma­n Margie Feinberg said the rules don’t apply to charters, which are independen­tly operated.

“The Education Department does not control the hiring decisions of charter schools,” Feinberg said.

Maldonado-Rivera is the third principal to run Health and Science since the school was founded in 2010, and in 2011 just 20% of sixth-graders passed state reading exams.

The school made headlines in February when instructor Evelyn Tirado was arrested on charges of punching a 12-year-old student.

Parents are worried that things could get worse on Maldonado-Rivera’s watch.

“I’m very concerned about my child’s safety with t that man in charge,” said a parent of a seventh-grader. “I have no faith in his ability to lead our school.”

School CEO Anthony Perez insisted that Maldonado-river era was not hired on a permanent basis and would only serve until the end of the school year, but a former staffer, a current staffer and a parent all said they were told that Maldonado-rivera was there to stay.

 ?? Photo by Kevin Hagen ?? Jose Maldona Rivera is barred from city schools but got job at Bronx charter.
Photo by Kevin Hagen Jose Maldona Rivera is barred from city schools but got job at Bronx charter.
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