Sam Pirozzolo was born and raised on Staten Island. He has been happily married to his wife Priscilla for twenty three years. They are the proud parents of two NYC public school students. Sam became active with educational issues in 2005 when his daughter attended kindergarten. In 2007 he was elected to Community Education Council 31 and served three months as Recording Secretary before becoming President of the Council and still currently still serves as President.
During his tenure CEC 31 has been credited many times for being at the forefront of education and educational issues. Former Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott complemented Sam and CEC 31 during a June 2012 CEC meeting when he said, “You’re so far ahead on the issue that the Department of Education isn’t even aware of the issue,” Walcott said. “You’re hearing that from me, and I’m the person that’s in charge of the Department of Education.” http://s.silive.com/UI5k6RV
At the time, Sam, CEC 31 and parents were advocating on behalf of Local 1181; keeping highly trained and qualified school bus drivers from being replaced with less qualified drivers and matrons.
CEC 31 has a long history of advocating for students, parents and teachers. In April 2009 CEC 31 wrote three resolutions suggesting the Department of Education take steps to provide tuition reimbursements to attract additional qualified bi-lingual, ethnically diverse and special education teachers to the NYC public school system. In December of 2011, when then Mayor Michael Bloomberg made disparaging statements about firing half of the NYC school teachers, Sam along with his son single handedly distributed hundreds of flyers calling on Sheldon Silver and the NYS Legislature to reevaluate Mayoral Control. http://www.silive.com/westshore/index.ssf/2011/12/mayor_bloomberg_takes_flak_on.html
CEC 31 made national news when they were the first Community Education Council in NYC asking that the Department of Education to allow for School Resource Officers to be placed in schools in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings. http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2013/01/staten_islands_community_educa_2.html
Staten Islanders recognized the dedicated work of the members of CEC 31 by voting them “News Maker of the Week” in an online poll at that time.
In January of 2001 toxic polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs were discovered leaking from classroom lighting ballasts at PS 36 on Staten Island. CEC 31, in partnership with City Councilman Vincent Ignizio and concerned parents, completely routed and expedited the DoE’s slow and unresponsive attitude on replacing the light fixtures at PS 36. This event became ground zero for PCB exposure and was the beginning of new laws and policies regarding the accelerated replacement of PCB ballasts citywide.
CEC 31 leadership also became involved when the NYC Department of Education was proposing to place an Alternate Learning Center (ALC) for suspended middle schoolers in a building on the Petrides School campus. Parents became concerned when they learned that students on lengthy superintendents’ suspensions (given for the two highest categories of disciplinary offenses, such as gang-related threats, sexual assaults and sale of drugs) would be placed next to elementary school students on the campus. Parents voiced their concerns at the CEC meeting and to Chancellor Walcott at the Panel on Educational Policy meeting the following day.
I became involved and voiced my strong objections to the plan:
The result was that DOE immediately reconsidered the ALC plan and decided not to place the center at the Petrides campus.
Sam credits much if not all of his success as the President of CEC 31 to the unwavering support and dedication of his fellow Council members and the extremely dedicated and responsive parents and elected officials of Staten Island.