Barbara Pinos, Principal and Elia Marie Soto, AP
628 Tinton Avenue | Bronx, NY 10455
(Please note there is an error on this page; it states Ms. Pinos is the principal and Ms. Soto is the AP, but it is actually the other way around.)
Ms. Pinos (AP) creates a culture of fear and intimidation. Some highlights:
• Her general demeanor is rude, power-hungry, and disrespectful to teachers and students. Many people use the word “nasty” which is a good description. She is infamous among those who have met her. I once heard her tell a teacher his lesson was “a hot mess” in front of the children. She yells at kids and adults, rolls her eyes, and sometimes calls them names. While doing so, she will tell her target that THEY are the one being rude/unprofessional.
• She is a poor communicator in general. She often speaks too fast to understand and uses big words to make herself sound smarter. She sends lengthy emails that are full of mistakes. This leads to teachers not knowing when meetings are, classes coming for assemblies on the wrong date, etc.
• Before students arrive in the fall, she repeatedly makes teachers rearrange their classroom furniture or bulletin boards, giving only vague reasons such as “It’s not conducive to learning.” She made me move all my desks around several times even though the room temperature was over 90 degrees.
• Calling teachers away to meet with them while they are teaching, instead of scheduling it during their prep or other non-instructional time. This obviously disrupts lessons and leaves students without supervision.
• She calls students by the wrong name or nicknames.
• She denied me time for PD that had already been paid for by the DOE because “you already have PD opportunities in the building.”
• Refusing to nominate effective teachers for tenure without a reason.
• Rude behavior toward job candidates. She once called an applicant and told him “you can forget about it.” For another applicant, she told them to prepare a demo lesson for a small group of students and then actually made them demo for a class of 25.
• Making several false misconduct reports to OSI. When I was at the school, four teachers were accused of misconduct in a single year. That is too many for them all to be substantiated. One of them was in the rubber room for months without evidence.
• She made a literacy coach work with mentees who did not teach literacy (technology teacher, STEM teacher, etc.). This caused the coach to exceed her maximum caseload, according to ULit guidelines.
During my time at PS 161, the teachers felt scared and unable to interact naturally with one another, for fear Ms. Pinos would walk by. I heard many express fear for their jobs. They told me to get on Open Market ASAP.
I don’t have as many specific complaints about Principal Soto. At the very least, she enables Pinos’ behavior. Soto will not do anything herself and sends Pinos to handle it instead. This makes her rather unapproachable. Soto’s attitude toward me seemed to be, “If you just do what you’re supposed to, Pinos will leave you alone.”
Many staff believe the administration has racial/ethnic bias. I once heard that “if you’re not Puerto Rican, you’re screwed.” While this is difficult to solidly prove, it is easy to see Pinos and Soto have “favorites” who they don’t pick on, and rate well. They laugh and joke around with certain staff. Pinos never once smiled at me.
This is a school where students and parents struggle in many ways – economic, language, emotionally. Pinos is the wrong person to help this community in so many ways.
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