Steve Perry adds “therapist” to his title of “educator” and author

Steve Perry calls himself American’s most trusted educator. 

While Hartford and Connecticut taxpayers pay him a full-time salary and benefits to serve as the principal of the Hartford School System’s Capital Prep Magnet School, Perry skips about 20% of the school days so that he can travel the country giving speeches for hire.

When Perry does show up for work he spends an inordinate amount of his time promoting his speaking business through media interviews and his obsessive use of Twitter while on public time.

Most recently, Perry has been busy pushing a plan to use his private company to open up a charter school in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  Local support for his plan comes from corporate education reform industry ally Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and Finch’s campaign treasurer, Kenneth Moales.  Moales tried and failed to get his own charter school last year, but has used his position on the Bridgeport Board of Education to push the charter school agenda.

Just this past Thursday, Steve Perry was out-of-state giving a speech and holding a book signing session at Winston Salem State University.

The Thursday before Perry was the keynote speaker at a conference at Kent State University in Ohio.

For that one, Perry was introduced at an author, principal and CNN education contributor.

The description went on to say that, “Perry is the founder and principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Conn., which has been cited by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top schools in the country. Capital Prep has sent 100 percent of its predominantly low-income, minority, first-generation high school graduates to four-year colleges every year since its first class graduated in 2006.”

But of course, that statement is patently untrue.

Capital Prep HAS NOT sent 100% of its graduates to four year colleges every year since its first class graduated in 2006.

Today Perry is northern Virginia to give the keynote address at the annual VABHMA Gala Reception.

And this time Perry’s bio has been expanded to proclaim that he is not only an educator and author, but that he is also a therapist.

The event biography leads with the following:

Dr. Steve Perry’s heart pumps passion and produces positive change. Featured in CNN’s Black in America series, Dr. Perry is the most talked about innovative educator on the scene today.

Perry is the founder and principal of what U.S. News and World Report has cited as one of the top schools in the country, Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut. Capital Prep has sent 100% of its predominantly low-income, minority, first generation high school graduates to four-year colleges every year since its first class graduated in 2006.

100% of Capital Prep’s graduates have gone to four year colleges?

Despite the fact that falsifying and padding one’s resume has downed a number of politicians over the years, some individuals apparently continue to believe that they don’t have to live by the same standards, rules and laws that apply to the rest of us.

No real financial support for public schools, but plenty more for charter schools (especially Bridgeport)

When Dan Malloy was running for governor he pledged to make adequate funding for Connecticut’s public schools a priority.

Instead Malloy introduced the most anti-teacher, anti-union, anti-public education corporate education reform industry initiative of any Democratic governor in the country.

Rather than use state education funds to support local schools and take some of the pressure off local taxpayers, Malloy has used scarce public funds to push his own initiatives including implementing the absurd Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Testing scheme and an unfair and inappropriate teacher evaluation system.

Compounding the problem has been Malloy’s devotion to diverting money to Connecticut’s charter schools.  In fact, the single largest beneficiary of Malloy’s charter school largesse has been Achievement First, Inc., the large charter school management company that was co-founded by Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor.

But Malloy and Pryor have been shoveling public funds to other charter school companies as well.

The charter school management company known as Jumoke Academy/FUSE has been given additional money and control of two neighborhood public schools.  The executives of Jumoke Academy have been given management control of the Milner Elementary School in Hartford and the Dunbar Elementary School in Bridgeport.  The Chief Operating Officer of Jumoke Academy/FUSE was even appointed to the Connecticut Board of Education by Governor Malloy.

Meanwhile, other charter school companies have already been approved or are seeking approval to open new schools in Connecticut.

Last month, nine new charter school applications were submitted to the State Department of Education.

Despite the inadequate funding for existing public schools and a projected $1 billion state deficit for the year following this November’s gubernatorial election, Malloy’s budget includes funding for at least two new charter schools.

A primary target for the expansion of charter schools has been Bridgeport, in part because Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch is considered a strong charter school advocate.  Bridgeport already has four charter schools.

As the Connecticut Post recently reported;

“BRIDGEPORT — An outspoken Hartford magnet school principal, a Rhode Island education reform advocate and a longtime city teacher who also happens to be the mayor’s ex, all want the same thing: open the state’s next charter school here.

The three applications represent a third of nine applications received by the state to open charter schools this fall or next….”


The new plans include two schools prepared to open next fall if they receive approval — the Capital Prep Harbor School, modeled after a Hartford magnet school run by Stephen Perry and the STEAM Academy for Girls, started by Claire Mastromonaco, a fifth-grade teacher at Johnson School, who is also the ex-wife of Mayor Bill Finch.

A third contender is Great Oaks Charter School, a school spearheaded by Maryellen Butke, founding director of the Rhode Island Campaign for Achievement Now.”

Charter school companies see Connecticut as a prime target for expansion because not only does the state give charter schools money for every student they take in, but the cost to transport those charter school students and the cost to provide them with special education services continues to be paid by the local school district.

The Connecticut Post article goes on to summarize the three new Bridgeport charter school proposals;

Charter School Proposal #1


Mastromonaco said she has always wanted to start a school for girls. A classroom teacher for 18 years, Mastromonaco also runs the Children’s Center for the Arts. Her background is in the arts, but she loves the sciences and math and said she sees too many of her female students lose confidence and “check out” by the time they reach middle school.

She said a single-gender school that focuses on science, math and the arts will help them more feel confident.

STEAM would open in the former Holy Rosary School near Washington Park with 108 pre-kindergarten through first-graders and grow to a 252 pre-K to fifth-grade school by its fifth year. The school would strive to be racially balanced, draw from the suburbs and city. Its preschool would be Montessori-based.

Christopher Finch, her son and a teacher in New York City, would serve on her governing board along with several Bridgeport educators and parents.

In a letter of support for STEAM, Bruce Ravage, director of Park City Prep, a charter school that has won permission to add a fifth grade, said Mastromonaco knows the student population well and is in a unique position to address its needs.”

Charter School Proposal #2

“Capital Prep Harbor School

Asked why he’d want to come to Bridgeport, Perry, a lightning rod for school reform issues, talks about the city’s waterfront location, proximity to New York City and its potential.

“Bridgeport has always been one of those cities you heard about,” Perry said. The charter school he would form here would be modeled after the public magnet school he has run in Hartford for nearly 10 years.

It would have a theme of social justice, a longer school day and year, require students to participate in sports and extra-curricular activities, and would strive — according to the 600-page application — to send all graduates to four-year colleges.

“Running it as a charter would be different,” said Perry. “It would create the opportunity for us to be more creative. Quite frankly, there are limits within the structure of a large school system. Even when people don’t want it to, it has to be the same. That sameness presents a challenge to schools like ours.”

Something else that is different is that Capital Preparatory Schools Inc., a private management company run by Perry, would get 10 percent of the fee, $2.5 million over the first five years of the contract. Perry said that is common when charter firms run more than one school. It also remains unclear how much the school would pay for rent.

The Harbor School application said the city has dedicated space in the Bridgeport Technology and Trade Center on Barnum Avenue and the proposed budget shows no rental expenses. The city, however, doesn’t own that property.

Among supporters of the plan are Kenneth Moales Jr., a member of the city school board.”

Charter School Proposal #3

“Great Oaks

Great Oaks would be a college preparatory school geared largely toward English language learners, who make up more than 13 percent of students in the district.

The school day would be long, stretching from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., followed by after-school activities. The school year would be 200 days, compared to the normal 180 days a year.

There are already Great Oaks schools in New Jersey and New York, said Christina Grant, vice president of the Great Oaks Foundation, who acts a chief academic officer for both schools. The school would start with 100 sixth-graders and work its way up, providing two hours of individualized tutoring to students every day, according to the application.

It would also be located in the former Singer Factory on Barnum Avenue, where three other city charter schools (Bridge Academy, New Beginnings and Park City Prep) all got their start. Great Oaks would pay $10 a square foot for 6,366 square feet. It wants to open in the fall of 2015. Its management fee built into its budget would amount to $1.6 million over the five years.

One of the many letters of support for the proposal came from Meghan Lowney, executive director of the Zoom Foundation, and a behind-the-scenes player when the city school board was taken over by the state in 2011. Great Oaks’ plans, she wrote, are aligned with her efforts to rapidly improve public education opportunities for underserved children by pooling and leveraging financial, human and political capital.”

Although public hearings are required on each proposal, the decision to approve or reject a proposal rests with the Commissioner of Education and the State Board of Education.   The charter school law severely limits the role of local boards of education.



Who is pushing Capital Prep Steve Perry’s Capital Prep Harbor Charter School application?

According to the charter school application submitted by Steve Perry’s private charter school Management Company;

 “The Capital Prep Harbor School (the “Harbor School”) is designed as a replication of the Capital Preparatory Magnet School (“Capital Prep”) in Hartford, Connecticut.  The founders of Capital Prep have developed an internationally recognized model designed to prepare children from historically disadvantaged populations to compete and ‘win’ in education.  Capital Prep has proven that all children when given the right conditions and environment not only succeed but excel in their academic as well as their social-emotional growth.”

As the Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor and the State Board of Education consider Steve Perry’s 600 page application to open a new charter school in Bridgeport, their first task will be to overlook the fact that Perry’s Hartford Prep Magnet School refuses to provide equal access to Latinos and other children who deal with English language barriers.

Perry’s Hartford school also fails to take its fair share of students who need special education services, and it is alleged that the special education students Capital Prep does enroll don’t get the services mandated in their Individual Education Plans (IEPs). There are widespread rumors that Capital Prep is being investigated as a result of its utter failure to meet federal and state special education laws.

The data on Capital Prep’s failure to provide equal access is stark and extremely disturbing;

2011-2012 Hartford School System Capital Prep Magnet School
Latino Students 49.7% 21.7%
Students not Fluent in English (ELL) 18% 3.4%
Students who come from homes where English is not the primary language 39.7% ?
Special Education Students 13.5 6.3%


In addition, the disciplinary tactics utilized at Capital Prep Magnet School have raised equally serious concerns.  Students being forced to sit at the “Table of Shame,” students being required to stand while eating lunch, students being made to state during entire academic classes and students being made to stand facing the wall for long periods of time in administrators offices are all examples of disciplinary policies that may cross into child abuse.

Perry’s charter school application reports that he and his senior staff have been working with Bridgeport officials and community leaders for months.  The application reads;

“Founding members continuously met with local officials, including Mayor Bill Finch and his Education Adviser, Joshua Thompson, as well as local community-based organizations, religious leaders and representatives from Housatonic Community College.”

So who are these Bridgeport supporters?

Listed as Governing Council Members for Perry’s new Charter School are;

Reverend Kenneth Moales, Jr., Senior Pastor Cathedral of the Holy Spirit

  • As directly quoted from his resume, Moales also lists himself as CEO/Founder C.R.E.A.M. Inc. and says that in that capacity he, “Earned endorsement from Mayor, local newspaper, Democratic District leaders and Democratic Clubs in Bridgeport CT for Board of Education” and “Exhibited tireless energy, positive attitude and visionary leadership” and “Revamped entire department bringing in all new Commissioner.” 
  •  Kenneth Moales Jr. who continues to serve on the Bridgeport Board of Education is also Bill Finch’s campaign treasurer.

Reverend Carl McCluster, Senior Pastor Shiloh Baptist Church, Bridgeport

  • McCluster also lists himself as Founder, Managing Director, Senior Program office for F.R.E.E.D.O.M. Inc. a National Economic Development Consulting Firm

Reverend William McCullough, Senior Paster Russell Temple CME Church in Bridgeport.

  • McCullough also lists himself as the Founder and CEO of U-Turn Ministries, FaithCARE and Safe Streets Kids (SSK)

Teresa Wilson, Executive Director V.I.P. College Preparatory Program, Inc., Bridgeport CT.

Wilson reports that she coordinates “college tours for areas high school students” and “collaborates(s) with various school districts and school administration in selection of students to attend tour….”

Gwendolyn Brantley, ACCESS Education Services, Bridgeport, CT.

Brantley’s adds her duties are to “Administer and manage an academic enrichment program for middle and high school students.”

Meanwhile, appended to Perry’s charter school application are a series of letters of support.  They come from:

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch who writes, “As Mayor of Bridgeport, I am writing to express my full support of the proposal of by Capital Prep Harbor School to open a state charter school in fall of 2014 that will serve the children and families of Bridgeport.  I am honored by the decision of the Capital Prep team to bring their outstanding academic model to Bridgeport within the context of a top-tier high school program…”

Other letters of support are from:

State Representative Charles Clemons

Teresa Wilson writing on behalf of the VIP College Prep Program. (Note that Wilson serves on the proposed charter school’s Governing Council.)

Reverend Carl McCluster writing on behalf of Shiloh Baptist Church. (Note that McCluster serves on the proposed charter school’s Governing Council.)

Gwendolyn Brantley writing on behalf of ACCESS Education Services.  (Note that Brantley serves on the proposed charter school’s Governing Council.)

And Kenneth Jackson, founder of Kenneth Jackson’s Mentoring Services

Considering that Stefan Pryor, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, has consistently supported charter schools at the expense of public district schools and has ducked his obvious conflict of interest when it comes to his support for charter schools, it will be interesting to watch whether Governor Malloy and Commissioner Pryor are successful in railroading this controversial and flawed charter school application through the State Board of Education.

Stay tuned…

Is Hartford forgoing its ethics policy for Capital Prep Steve Perry?

Even a cursory review of the facts reveal that Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry is violating Hartford Board of Education policies, and potentially state laws, due to his chronic absenteeism, his inappropriate use of social media and the fact that he spends an inordinate amount of his work day promoting his profitable public speaking business.

But the most serious breach of ethics, Hartford Board of Education policies and potentially state laws arise from the charter school application that CAPITAL PREPARATORY SCHOOLS INCORPORATED recently filed with Commissioner Stefan Pryor and the State Department of Education.

Steve Perry’s application is to open a new charter school in Bridgeport, Connecticut that would be called the Capital Prep Harbor School.

According to the documents filed with the State Department of Education, the applicant is;

 Dr. Stephen Perry, Head of Schools
Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc.
1304 Main St.
Hartford CT 06103


Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. is a corporation filed in the state of Connecticut.  According to the incorporation papers filed with Connecticut’s Secretary of the State, Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. was created on Feb 16, 2012 and is domiciled at 40 Middlefield Street in Middletown, Connecticut.  Steven Perry is recorded as the President of Capital Preparatory Schools Incorporated and that address is also Perry’s residence.

At the same time, according to the documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service, Capital Preparatory Schools Incorporated is actually located at 1304 Main Street in Hartford, Connecticut. 

But of course, 1304 Main Street in Hartford is the where Capital Preparatory Magnet School is located and Capital Preparatory Magnet School is owned and operated by the Hartford Board of Education.

So according to the Internal Revenue Service, Steve Perry is using a Hartford Board of Education school as the address for one of his private corporations.

His application to open a new charter school in Bridgeport reiterates that point since it lists the official address for the application as: Dr. Stephen Perry, Head of Schools, Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. 1304 Main St. Hartford CT 06103

The policies of the Hartford Board of Education limit outside employment for its employees.  Hartford BOE Policy # 4138 reads:

Non-School EmploymentPersonnel of the schools may receive compensation for activities outside of the compensated work time as long as these activities do not interfere with the proper discharge of their assigned duties, do not constitute a conflict of interest, or do not cause poor public relations within the community. It is expected that any outside activity should be carried on in a business-like and ethical manner.

All employees shall notify the superintendent of outside activities that may interfere with the performance of normal duties.

If an outside activity occurs during compensated work time and the superintendent permits the employee to participate, any compensation given the employee shall be remitted to the district.

Since Steve Perry is openly running a private business out of a public school, the first question for the Hartford Board of Education and Superintendent Christina Kishimoto is whether Perry properly notified them that he was running his private company out of their facility and whether Kishimoto and the Board signed off on those activities.

The second question for the Hartford Board of Education and Superintendent Kishimoto is whether or not the work associated with Perry’s private company interferes “with the proper discharge” of his assigned duties.

And the third question is whether the Hartford Board of Education is being properly compensated by Perry since the policy clearly states, “If an outside activity occurs during compensated work time and the superintendent permits the employee to participate, any compensation given the employee shall be remitted to the district.”

Making the situation even more incredible is that we now learn that the Hartford Board of Education’s “Perry Problem” goes far beyond Perry. 

According to Perry’s Bridgeport charter school application, the Founding Members of the new charter school include a number of Capital Prep Magnet School administrators and teachers, all of whom are Hartford Board of Education employees;

Richard Berganski Jr. (Vice Principal)
Scott Wojnarowicz (Math teacher)
Kelly Horan (Science teacher)
Scott Kapralos (Math teacher and SPJ)
Kitsia Ferguson (Head, Lower School)
Monique Ethier (Math teacher)
Lauren Davern (History teacher and SPJ)
Lisa Loomis (English Teacher)


Is it possible that Superintendent Kishimoto and the Hartford Board of Education has really signed off on the fact that Perry and his entire management team are engaged in running a private business out of a public school?

And if the 600 page Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. application to form a charter school in Bridgeport wasn’t proof enough that significant work is being done through Perry’s private company, the application added,

The Northeast Charter Schools Network (NECSN) has also teamed with the founding members as a consultant on the preparation of this charter schools application.”

The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a registered lobbying entity in the state of Connecticut and NECSN and its immediate predecessor the Connecticut Charter School Network were part of the $6 million coordinated campaign to support Governor Malloy’s corporate education reform industry initiative.

As the Northeast Charter Schools Network brags on their website;

“Our experienced advocacy staff understands that despite tremendous promise and performance, charter schools are under constant attack. NECSN’s team has been successful on many fronts, bringing significant victories to the charter school movement despite tough budget cycles…”

In addition the Northeast Charter Schools Network reports that, “…member schools have access to Elevate Charter Schools…Elevate provides: charterGO, a charter start program for new school applicants; charterSHIELD, an audit and compliance program featuring a continuous improvement plan that is based on an in-depth review and alignment of a school’s charter to its academic program and authorizer requirements; and, charterRENEW, a program designed to walk schools through preparation for charter renewal.”

As “Head of Schools,” for Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc. Steve Perry is clearly investing significant amounts of money and time building his private company.  

As the charter school application clearly reflects, that effort includes the Vice Principal of Capital Prep and more than half a dozen other Hartford Board of Education employees.

The question now isn’t whether Steve Perry is running a private company out of a public school, the question, yet again, is whether anyone in authority will step forward to ensure the Steve Perry and is fellow operatives are forced to follow the laws, rules and policies that everyone else must follow.

Steve Perry’s Capital Prep Bridgeport Charter School management fee for initial five years – $2.7 million

The Hartford Bridgeport Board of Education is paying Steve Perry a large salary to serve as the Principal of its Capital Prep Magnet School.  Perry has a twelve month contract so he is supposed to be “on duty” year around.

Although Perry has missed 20 percent of the Capital Prep school days this year, he has been paid for those missed time thanks to banked vacation days, sick days and personal days.

But he actually spent those days traveling around the country giving speeches for hire.

Most recently, the news is that Steve Perry has submitted an application to open up a Steve Perry Capital Prep Charter School in Bridgeport.

Perry intends to use the charter school management company that he set up a few years ago.

According to the official documents filed at the Connecticut Secretary of State, Perry’s private company is housed at his home in Middletown and he is the sole owner of the entity.

However, Perry filed documents with the Internal Revenue Service claiming that his company is really housed at the same address as the Hartford public school that he runs.

The immediate question that arises is that although he was being paid by the taxpayers of Hartford for his full full-time job with the Hartford Board of Education and making far more money thanks to his speaking business, Perry had time over the past few months to create a 600 page Charter School Application and meet with state and local officials to lobby for their help and support.

It certainly isn’t clear who paid for the development of the application or how he managed to hold down two jobs and still develop his Steve Perry Capital Prep Charter School plan.

What is clear is that Perry expects to make a huge windfall from his Charter School Project.

According to the application Perry submitted, the Hartford Board of Education employee is demanding that Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, approve a management fee of at least $2.6 million dollars over the first five years of his Charter School project.

In addition, he apparently expects the City of Bridgeport to pay for the following costs:

  • Rent for the Steve Perry Capital Prep Charter School 
  • Utilities for the Steve Perry Capital Prep Charter School 
  • Custodial Costs for the Steve Perry Capital Prep Charter School.

And all that money comes on top of the state subsidy that he would be getting.

With Commissioner Pryor’s support, Steve Perry would not only receive a major “startup” grant, but Connecticut taxpayers would hand over approximately $34 million to Perry’s company over the first five years that the school is in operation.  By the fifth year, Perry would be expecting a public subsidy in excess of $11.5 million dollars a year to run his charter school.

These funds would be on top of his management fee and the taxpayer support doesn’t even count the millions of dollars Perry would be getting from the taxpayers of Bridgeport to subsidize his school transportation costs and pay for the special education services of the students who would be attending his Charter School.

Putting aside the massive cost and the myriad of problems associated with Perry’s erratic and dysfunctional management style, the ultimate insult to Bridgeport and Connecticut is that Perry claims that his school will provide educational opportunities to the full range of students who attend Bridgeport’s school system.

Perry’s application reports that;

13% of the student body will be for students who need special education services, 6% of the students will be those face English Language barriers and 90% of the students will come from families that are so poor that they qualify for Free/Reduced lunch .

Compare those numbers to the reality of Steve Perry’s Capital Prep School in Hartford.

Instead of a special education population of 13%, Perry’s Hartford school only 6.3% of the students served have special education needs and most of those are not getting the services they need, deserve and are legally entitled too.

Instead of an ELL/Bilingual population of 6% that he is promising Bridgeport, only 3.4% of the students in Perry’s Hartford school face English Language challenges.

And instead of 90% of the children coming from low income households, only 51.4% of his students in Hartford qualifying for Free/Reduced lunches

The truth is that despite the fact that his application is in excess of 600 pages, Steve Perry’s Bridgeport Charter School application appears to be nothing more than a sham.

Oh, and one last extremely revealing note about Steve Perry’s unwillingness to provide equal education opportunities to Latinos and those who face language barriers…

Perry’s Bridgeport Charter School application brags that 6% of the student in his Charter School will be reserved for children who need English Language help.  But of course, as the State Department of Education reports, the number of Bridgeport students who need English Language Services is at least 12% and growing.  That number that is more than double the percentage that Perry says he will accept in his proposed Bridgeport Charter school and four times the number he allows into Hartford’s Capital Prep School.

The State Department of Education is rushing the approval process through.  Check back for more information about when any public hearings on Perry’s Charter School proposal will be held.