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Pleasantville's superintendent takes fight for job to Trenton

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Pleasantville's schools superintendent is taking her fight to Trenton.
Dr. Nataki Chestnut-Lee was placed on paid administrative leave last week, after claims were made that she lied on her application.
The move came days after Chestnut-Lee held a press conference claiming a faction of the board was trying to get rid of her.
Monday morning, she was in a van parked at the Harbor Square shopping center in Egg Harbor Township waiting to head to offices of the governor and the commissioner of education to deliver petitions and letters of support, according to a text she sent out announcing the trip.
She referred any comment to her attorney, who could not be immediately reached.
Board of Education Vice President Elyse Sanchez, who was making the trip in a separate vehicle, also declined comment.
Her brother, Julio Sanchez, was president until last week's meeting when the board cast a no-confidence vote against both Sanchezes, and then removed him as president.
The new president, Sharnell Morgan, said she could not comment on a pending investigation.
The allegations against Chestnut-Lee first came in a 94-page complaint former board member James Pressley made to Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, the acting education commissioner.
Pressley was one of several board members arrested in a 2007 bribery case, and now is a social worker and minister.
His filing included copies of the superintendent's application that indicated she had never been fired, put on leave or investigated, and a lawsuit showed all three had happened.
Chestnut-Lee now says that settlement between her and her previous school district made just before she applied for the Pleasantville position rescinded her termination and allowed her to resign.
An independent investigation will look into that along with other issues that were not officially put on the record at last week's meeting, which devolved into several heated arguments between board members,.
Eventually, the Sanchezes and three other members left, which caused the meeting end due to a lack of quorum
"Chaos once again has erupted in the Pleasantville School district," Chestnut-Lee wrote in a text obtained by BreakingAC. "A caravan will be going to Trenton to both Governor Murphy office and Commissioner of Education office to deliver petitions and letters of support for the current Superintendent."
The text also gave a synopsis of the board meeting, including that the board solicitor was fired, and then that move rescinded until the board can get a replacement.
Pressley, who was at the meeting spot Monday morning, had more allegations, including that some people were forced to sign a petition supporting Chestnut-Lee before they were allowed entry to a Pleasantville Jokers football game, according to a letter he wrote to the acting commissioner of education..
In a Facebook post attacking this story, Elyse Sanchez insisted that "the Jokers or the Jokers field has nothing to do with a petition."
Pressley's letter also said that Chestnut-Lee "continues to engage in harassment, intimidation and other bullying tactics against select Board of Education members, because they have called for an official investigation regarding her falsified employment application, complaints of sexual harassment, misappropriation of funding and other unethical behavior/conduct."
She "has manipulated individuals into getting on a bus to Trenton in an attempt to obstruct this pending investigation and bully the state."
Pressley also alleges that the superintendent hired an employee who allegedly lied about his high school diploma.
The copy of Antwone Snead's resume shows he graduated in 2006 and got a bachelor's degree in 2012. But a copy of his GED is stamped 2015.
"Madam Commissioner, how is it possible to obtain your four year degree before obtaining a high school diploma/GED?" Pressley writes. "It's just impossible and a slap in the face to employees who have worked hard to obtain authentic credentials."
Snead was formerly a Class II officer with Atlantic City.
Chestnut-Lee had two vans at the meeting spot Monday, but only one left with anyone on it.


Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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