STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Between her special education advocacy and his expertise in higher education, Great Kills resident Joan Correale and College of Staten Island President Tomas Morales are slated to represent Staten Island parents on the citywide Panel for Educational Policy.

The group’s duties include approving the Department of Education’s budget, the five-year capital plan, agreements and proposals for closing failing schools. Its responsibilities also include approving educational policies proposed by the chancellor.

The panel was reinstituted Tuesday, after Gov. David Paterson signed the New York City school governance legislation into law, with new provisions that require that the PEP approve all no-bid contracts, as well as any contracts that exceed $1 million.

The 13-member panel is comprised of eight mayoral appointees — two of which, for the first time, must be parents of public school children — and five people selected by each of the borough presidents. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his eight delegates yesterday, including Morales, who has been CSI’s president since 2007. When reached by phone yesterday, Borough President James Molinaro said he plans to reappoint Correale, who he originally selected to serve on the panel in March 2004.


The mayor’s picks included four who were reappointed: Philip Berry, a management consultant and vice chairman of the City University of New York Board of Trustees; David Chang, a scholar and the chancellor of the Polytechnic Institute of New York University; Tino Hernandez, president of the nonprofit Samaritan Village Inc.; and Richard L. Menschel, senior director of Goldman Sachs. The other new members are Linda Lausell Bryant, mother of a Brooklyn middle-school student and executive director of Inwood House; Joe Chan, father of two Brooklyn students and president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, and Gitte Peng, a filmmaker who advised Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott on educational issues.

Though Morales was traveling out of town and could not be reached for comment, a spokesman for CSI, Ken Bach, said he was excited to begin.

“Dr. Morales is honored to serve on this prestigious panel, and looks forward to working with his fellow appointees, each of whom are respected leaders in their fields,” Bach said. “Dr. Morales is a lifelong advocate of public education, recognizing that it can transform lives and provide the base for a lifelong love of learning.”

Ms. Correale, a mother of two children, one of whom has special needs, said she enjoys hashing out policies on the PEP that deal with the concerns of parents from her community.

“I like being able to help people who come to me,” she said. “This time, there’s going to be a little more transparency, which is a concern that’s been brought up. I think that’s very good.”

Among her goals, Ms. Correale plans to establish a relationship with the new leaders of special education for the DOE. Linda Wernikoff, executive director of Office of the Special Education Services, and Garth Harries, senior coordinator for Special Education, left their posts in recent months.

Amisha Padnani covers education news for the Advance. She may be reached at

Originally appeared on and in the Staten Island Advance on Saturday, August 15, 2009. Reprinted on CSI Today with permission.

President Tomás Morales is one of two Staten Islanders chosen for the Panel on Educational Policy.