Hack of the Day: Donna Byrne

Massachusetts has teacher certification rules, right?  You especially need to be qualified to teach students with special needs right?  Apparently not if you are politically connected, qualifications be damned.  You are getting that job.

The Sunday Worcester Telegram & Gazette is reporting that a politically connected former assistant to the School Department Superintendent has scored a $75K job teaching special education students despite her utter lack of qualifications for the position.

Former School Superintendent James A. Caradonio’s office manager has landed a $75,000-a-year job as an elementary school special education teacher, even though she has no teaching experience, has not passed the state teacher licensing test and does not have required special education training.

Donna C. Byrnes, 58, worked in the central office for 15 years and earned $75,962 in 2008. Mr. Caradonio left the superintendent’s post last September and Mrs. Byrnes’ job was eliminated at the end of the year.

After receiving an $8,362 lump sum payment for accrued vacation and sick time, she started Feb. 1 at the Chandler Street School in a job recently made vacant by the retirement of a veteran special education teacher. The veteran teacher has been retained as a special consultant to mentor Mrs. Byrnes, school officials said.

The position teaching students with moderate disabilities at the inner-city school carries a base salary of $67,531. Mrs. Byrnes also makes another $191 a week during the school year – for a total of about $7,640 extra a year – for teaching extra hours as part of the school’s extended day program, one of three such longer day programs in the school system.

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