Sunday, February 23, 2020
Liz Crowley and generational nepotism infects faculty staffing at a public school
The sister and nephew of Liz Crowley, an ex-city councilwoman running for Queens borough president, are getting special treatment as teachers in a city middle school, a whistleblower charges.
In what one staffer called “cronyism,” Patricia’s son, Eugene Cullivan, a day-to-day substitute, was filling in for an art teacher on leave. But when that teacher returned in November, Principal Kelly Nepogoda let Cullivan keep the class full-time instead of returning it to the licensed specialist.
“This is not just about favoritism. It’s about hurting students,” a veteran DOE teacher said. “The art students are subjected to a substitute when an experienced, licensed teacher is available.”
The veteran called it “preferential treatment” for the politically-connected duo. The Crowley sisters’ cousin is Joe Crowley, the longtime congressman and former Queens Democratic Party boss defeated in 2018 by primary challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Patricia Crowley declined to discuss the arrangement. Nepogoda did not return a call or answer an email. Liz Crowley did not return calls. A special election for borough president is set for March 24.
Patricia Crowley, 50, is licensed to teach children in pre-K to 6th grade, and special education. She taught 6th grade science at IS 5 before taking a special, two-year DOE assignment as a “peer evaluator” in other schools, making $141,300 last school year.
Since returning to IS 5 in September, her salary reverted to $121,862, the DOE said. She doesn’t teach a class, but supervises the SAVE, or in-house suspension, room. Typically five to 10 students at a time come from various classes with work assigned by their regular teachers.
A SAVE teacher may help kids with questions, but no lesson planning or grading is required. It’s considered an easy, less stressful job.
Crowley could be teaching a regular class, or helping reduce class size, the DOE veteran said: “Her services should be utilized helping students with the greatest need, instead of being put in a practically phantom job.”
Her son Cullivan, 27, was subbing for an art teacher on medical leave when the school year started, Nepogoda granted his request to keep the class after the art teacher returned on Nov. 22. Nepogoda assigned the art teacher a class of students scheduled for music, replacing a music teacher she had removed for alleged misconduct. The school is now without a music teacher.