Thank you to all who have supported Dr. Cincotta. He'd like you to know that he is very grateful!
"Dear Students, Parents, Alumni, and Colleagues--My dear supporters,
Nothing I have experienced in my career has been as humbling as seeing this petition for the first time on Monday, 15 April.
I had been told that my contract would not be renewed just before the Spring Break, some 19 days earlier, and the shock and disbelief that I felt was long over. I was deeply disappointed in the administration's decision. I love High Tech High. I love teaching at High Tech High. I love my students and I have great respect for my colleagues. But, at this point, Mrs. Cincotta and I had decided that my career in public education was now over. If I couldn't teach at High Tech, I wasn't interested in teaching at another public school. I had started an active job search over Spring Break and an offer was already being negotiated. When we returned from Spring Break, I had been urged to meet with the Superintendent, even though everyone knows that, once the administration posts want ads for your job, there is nothing you can say that is going to change its mind.
So, that Monday afternoon at 12:50, I was on my way to my 1 pm appointment with the Superintendent when a colleague asked me if I had seen "the petition." "What petition?" "You'd better take a look at it before you see Mr. Gargiulo," he said. I went back in my room and was stunned by the outpouring of your love and support on change.org. I was dumbfounded as I walked upstairs to the Superintendent's office. As you know by now, the rest is history.
I have much to be thankful for and I am truly grateful.
First, thanks to Mr. David Centeno, my student and the organizer of this petition. He saw all of the passion displayed by students, alumni, and parents on a High Tech Facebook page and decided to channel it into something productive, this petition. Thank you, Mr. Centeno, for your initiative and courage to make a difference.
Thanks to those of you who wrote a "Reason for signing" along with your signature on the petition. I don't feel worthy of your most kind and generous words. My overwhelming sense was, "I have to do better next year. I've got to become the educator these people say I am." You've inspired me and I promise you that I will do better.
Thanks to the many who signed this petition. I do not know who you are but I appreciate your taking a stand for what you believe in. Everyone can tell you that petitions to save the job of an untenured teacher almost never work. School boards have complete freedom to dismiss an untenured teacher for any reason or no reason at all. But, as you have often heard me say, "The answer is always 'No'--until you ask." I now know that you have learned that lesson well. Thank you all for asking!
Thanks to my current and former students—including some High Tech alumni who took a day off from college—who met in person with Dr. Giammarella and/or Mr. Gargiulo to make known your disapproval of their decision. It takes some guts to confront authority and I commend you for giving us all a lesson in the value of participatory democracy.
Special thanks also to my colleagues: teachers, staff, school administrators, and district administrators, who supported me in both words and deeds. I am deeply grateful for your public and private support and your willingness to speak directly and effectively to the decision-makers about what you believed was a wrong decision. I also thank Dr. Giammarella and Mr. Gargiulo for keeping an open mind and being willing to reconsider their decision in the light of new information presented by students, parents, alumni, and colleagues.
I hope that I have not left anyone out. As I noted above, I do not know everyone's name. I only know that you did something important for me and you did it on your own without my asking or prompting. Thank you!
While you have done so much for me, there is one more thing that I would request of you: Would you please send a note or drop in to Dr. Giammarella and Mr. Gargiulo to thank them for their willingness to hear your voice and their courage to change their minds? You have made your request known publicly by this petition and privately by your visits and phone calls, and they listened to you. They deserve your acknowledgement and thanks. It is important to giving credit and thanks where credit and appreciation are due.
Finally, your words and actions have carried the day but the victory belongs to everyone: current and future students, parents, alumni, colleagues, and administrators. We are all blessed by what you have done. Obviously, there are those who opposed my remaining at High Tech. I reach out to them in a spirit of friendship and collegiality. I hope that one day they too will appreciate what you have done.
Friends, there are seven weeks of school left. There's much left to accomplish. Let's get back to work!