A Massachusetts school district superintendent finalist claimed committee members rescinded an offer to hire him after he addressed two female officials as “ladies” in an email.
According to local media, Vito Perrone received an offer as the head of Easthampton Public Schools on March 24 until the School Committee revoked the proposal on the grounds of using a so-called “microaggression” in an email sent to the members.
Perrone said he sent an email making three separate requests to Chairperson Cynthia Kwiecinski and executive assistant to the committee Suzanne Colby about his offer. At the top of the email, Perrone said he wrote ‘ladies, which he then claimed Kwiecinski allegedly called a microaggression, saying “the fact that he didn’t know that as an educator was a problem.”
“I was shocked,” Peronne told The Daily Hampshire Gazette. “I grew up in a time when ‘ladies’ and ‘gentlemen’ was a sign of respect. I didn’t intend to insult anyone.”
Perrone told Western Mass News that Kwiecinski and Colby felt “insulted by the address.”
“And I said, well, I grew up in a time — the sixties, seventies — when ladies and gentlemen was a term of respect,” said Perrone. “That’s how I intended it, and I didn’t mean to insult you and was basically told my apology didn’t mean anything, and they were going to rescind the offer.”
Perrone requested to negotiate a higher salary and more sick days after comparing it to his current salary as an interim superintendent for the West Springfield school district, which was around $14,000 more than the East Hampton Public Schools offer.
“This job was not about the money for me,” he told the Gazette. “I honestly felt like I was coming home to Easthampton. I coached football here. I was principal here when we built the school. I have such wonderful memories … I was excited to come back.”
Kwiecinski told the Gazette she could not address administrative matters when asked for comment.
Marin Goldstein, a School Committee member, told the Gazette that executive session meetings are confidential.
Perrone contacted the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, who informed him nothing could be done, considering he never formally signed a contract with the district.
“Honestly, I am truly, truly disappointed that I won’t be in Easthampton in that building,” Perrone told the Gazette. “I’m just sad.”