On Nov. 25, New Haven Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Michael Pinto will resign from his position to work for the city as an attorney in the Office of the Corporation Counsel, according to a press release from Mayor Justin Elicker’s office on Tuesday.
Pinto has worked for the city intermittently since 2007 and will leave his current post after schools are set to open, the mayor said. New Haven’s public schools are scheduled to transition from remote to hybrid learning on Nov. 9.
Pinto served as an economic development officer from 2007 to 2011, and then as the city’s deputy director of Transportation, Traffic and Parking Department from 2017 to 2019. He became the chief operating officer for NHPS last February. Pinto’s decision to transfer to the Office of the Corporation Counsel was made in consultation with Elicker and Superintendent Iline Tracey. Elicker told the News he believes this department is the best fit for Pinto. During his tenure, Pinto oversaw the distribution of 832,705 meals for NHPS families, issued 21,000 laptop or tablet devices to NHPS students and secured state funding for mobile Wi-Fi hotspots.
“Mike has strong integrity, he is very hardworking and very collaborative,” Elicker said in an interview with the News. “In a time when there were so many atypical and new challenges, Mike stepped up to the plate with a candor attitude.”
Elicker, along with other city officials, said he was proud of Pinto’s accomplishments as NHPS COO. In addition to spearheading a mass food distribution effort, Elicker said that Pinto facilitated the opening up of a “COVID shelter” for the homeless and created infrastructure to ensure a safe school reopening for students on Nov. 9.
Board of Education President Yesenia Rivera echoed Elicker’s sentiment.
“We’re grateful for the professionalism and dedication Attorney Pinto brought to the Chief Operating Officer position over the last 18 months,” Rivera said in a text message to the News.
Rivera said that while the Board of Education is sad to lose Pinto, she believes he will be an asset to the Office of the Corporation Counsel. In Tuesday’s press release, Corporation Counsel Patricia King said she was looking forward to working with Pinto next month, after having previously worked with him on the Board of Zoning Appeals.
Elicker said Pinto will leave his position well after schools are scheduled to reopen so that Pinto can have ample time to address reopening concerns expressed by school leaders. However, the mayor also said that he expects most logistical issues pertaining to the city’s hybrid school reopening model to be resolved by Nov. 25. He also said he believes that NHPS leadership will be able to address any potential issues that might arise after Pinto’s transfer.
Tracey is currently working on a transition plan to replace Pinto. Tracey could not be reached for comment on this story.
Elicker noted that the nomination process for a new COO would have to go through the Board of Education, since city law gives the board final authority to approve NHPS personnel changes. Elicker did not give any information on a timetable for Pinto’s replacement.
Rivera expressed optimism that the city will eventually find a qualified candidate to become the next COO.
“We’re hopeful to find another candidate that has the depth of business experience and ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment needed to run the operations of the largest [school] district in Connecticut,” Rivera said.
New Haven Public Schools started the school year in a remote model on Sept. 3.
Christian Robles | firstname.lastname@example.org