June 27, 2022 By Christian Murray
The Department of Education announced today that Dr. Philip Composto will keep his job as Superintendent of District 30 and so too will Madelene Chan who is the current superintendent of District 24.
The announcement comes about six weeks after the DOE unceremoniously notified Composto that he was no longer wanted for the position– and Chan learned her job was in jeopardy.
The initial announcements proved to be extremely controversial, and the DOE was subject to an avalanche of outrage from parents and elected officials who supported both Composto and Chan.
The pair are responsible for overseeing the elementary and middle schools in their respective district, which in District 30 covers Astoria, Corona, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Long Island City, Sunnyside and parts of Woodside.
District 24, meanwhile, covers Ridgewood, Maspeth, Glendale, Middle Village, Elmhurst, Corona and parts of Woodside, Long Island City and Sunnyside.
Many superintendents across the city were handed pink slips in May because the school chancellor asked all 45 superintendents to reapply for their positions as the DOE looks to expand the role.
The city had selected finalists for each of the position, and many incumbents– such as Composto– were told they were out of the running. The finalists were to go before parents and the community as part of the hiring process.
The city received pushback from parents about the ousting of incumbents and elected leaders were outraged.
Elected leaders held a rally in Astoria in support of Composto and parents put together a petition that garnered more than 3,000 signatures calling for his reinstatement. They also said at the very least he deserved a chance to be a finalist.
Chancellor David Banks changed course and said that the DOE wanted to work with parents across the city and the current superintendents across the city were deemed finalists.
“The central pillar of this administration is parent and community engagement and … we are inviting all incumbent superintendents to be interviewed as part of the community process,” Banks said at the time.
Deborah Alexander, a longtime member of the District 30 CEC, said she was impressed by the Chancellor for making the reappointments and added that it was a clear indication that he is listening to parents.
“I have been around the block. I have heard the DOE say that they listen to parents—and then watched them go and do whatever they want,” Alexander said. “This time we have a chancellor who backs up his talk with the walk.”
The DOE named four finalists for District 30, including Composto. In District 24 there were three finalists, including Chan.
Alexander, a big advocate for Composto, said: “I think he was the only candidate [for the position]. We routinely call him the best superintendent. Year after year.”
State Sen. Mike Gianaris, who organized the Astoria rally in support of Composto, issued a statement following the announcement of his reappointment.
“Dr. Composto is a capable administrator who has earned the respect of families, students, and the general community for his engaging leadership. I am pleased the city listened to the wishes of those stakeholders.”