September 12, 2017
I hope that everyone is doing well and is having a good start to the school year. While I am sure you have—and will continue to have—your share of challenges in the upcoming months, please know that the Paterson Education Association (PEA) is here to help. As individuals, we can do a lot, but as a union, we are unstoppable.
As many of you know, I was served with tenure charges in my capacity as your union president last spring. These charges do not seek a revocation of my tenure or my dismissal, but rather my suspension. After a member representation meeting in late December with Frank Napier Academy Vice Principal Sharon Davis, it was alleged that I acted unprofessionally, and the district filed two counts of conduct unbecoming last March. Not only was I saddened and disappointed by the charges, but I was offended by the insinuation that advocating for the rights of my fellow PEA members is considered a form of harassment or intimidation in the workplace.
More than that, however, I was—and still am— outraged: I’m outraged that we were saddled with a state-appointed superintendent (Dr. Evans) who sought to silence our advocacy instead of focusing on what was best for you, the students, or the schools in Paterson. Make no mistake: I will never apologize for standing up for what is right. I’m passionate about the work I do and am not cowed by this baseless attempt to stop me from holding former Superintendent Evans and this district accountable. I am fighting these charges so that no union representative in Paterson—or anywhere in New Jersey, for that matter—will be bullied, intimidated, or fear retaliation the next time he/she represents a member.
I know you understand what’s at stake and that an injustice to one is an injustice to all. You have demonstrated that understanding time and time again throughout the last six months, and I would like to thank you for your support.
This Thursday, I am scheduled to appear for my first tenure charge hearing. I am confident that I will be exonerated and the truth will prevail. After all, I am the only one in this debacle which has stuck around to see this through. But, until then, be assured that I will continue to stand up for what is right and look forward to continuing to serve all of you as we work side-by-side to continue to do great things for Paterson.
John McEntee, Jr.