Bernstein: O’Neill Leads through Collaboration

letter to the editorSubmitted by Peter Bernstein, Greenwich Board of Education Member, Oct. 26, 2015

While a certain Greenwich Time columnist has made it his crusade to attack the leadership of the Board of Education, he has not done his homework.

Let’s look at the facts. Under Barbara O’Neill’s leadership the Board, with collective input from the community, has adopted a strategic plan to guide our actions around all issues while others are singularly focused in their thinking and in fact, certain members have chosen not to participate in Board retreats meant to set the direction for the district.

Barbara has been instrumental in working to improve the governance model of the Board and hold the administration accountable. Change is made by those who participate.

She has overseen the development of fiscally responsibly budgets within the BET guidelines. She cares strongly about all stakeholders – students, parents, and taxpayers. Barbara strives to make positive change within the confines we operate within.

The bottom line is that rebels don’t lead, leaders do. And they do it by fostering an atmosphere of collaboration – even in the face of negativity from colleagues who refuse to work with others and seemingly attack for no reason. Barbara has not stopped reaching out to these recalcitrant colleagues in an effort to bring them into the conversation. But you have to be willing to remain in the room and participate to be part of the conversation. That is what you elect us to do – be part of the conversation and make choices for our schools and community. These are the deeds the very same columnist referenced. Unfortunately these critics would rather attack with words, come late, walk out or not come at all, which necessitates a need for voters to look long and hard at the options.

Please join me in voting to re-elect Barbara O’Neill to the Board of Education.

Peter D. Bernstein

Member, Board of Education



  • Richard may

    Dear Mr. Bernstein,

    While I applaud “collaboration” and find it a very desirable trait, I have never seen it rank particularly high as a leadership skill. The fact remains that students at Greenwich Public Schools do not seem to be receiving the education that most Greenwich parents seem to want for their kids.

    The Greenwich Public Schools receive the lion’s share of the Greenwich Town Budget and, as a taxpayer and grandparent, I would like to see a stronger commitment to setting goals of academic excellence and evaluate whether school administrators are meeting those goals.

    While the ability to “collaborate” is laudable, it doesn’t strike me as a particularly compelling argument to vote for Barbara O’Neill, where academic standards seem to have slipped under her “collaborative” style of leadership.

    I – for one – will not be voting to re-elect Barbara O’Neill and hope that others will join me in voting in a Greenwich School Board that seeks academic excellence and accountability from its school administrators.


    Richard W. May
    Greenwich Resident

  • Right on. The BOE itself should be accountable to voters for academic excellence and not hide behind the administration. We should only elect members to the board who have proven themselves as managers and leaders who have achieved significant results before they join the board.