Dr. Roberto Padilla, the former Newburgh Schools Superintendent who was placed on paid leave last August and is the subject of a sexual harassment and workplace retaliation lawsuit, has a new job.
On Monday, he was introduced as one of the 45 Community School District Superintendents by New York City Schools Chancellor David Banks.
Padilla is the new superintendent of schools for Community School District 7 in the Bronx. He will report to Banks and to New York City Mayor Eric Adams who was also at the press conference.
“I am beyond thrilled with this group, their connection, their sense – spirit of collaboration,” Banks said. “We were all just gathered in a room upstairs and just the hugging and the love and the support that they show for each other, I didn’t want to leave and come out here.”
Padilla was placed on paid leave by the Newburgh school board in August of last year, following allegations of improper conduct towards two female district employees at a conference in San Diego earlier in the year. After the board - and a district hired investigator - determined that the results of that internal investigation were “inconclusive,” the paid leave was extended through November of 2023.
In May of this year, Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that no criminal charges would be filed, citing insufficient evidence of any criminal statue in Orange County.
While no criminal charges have been filed, Padilla, the district and the Newburgh Board of Education have been named as defendants in a civil lawsuit filed by two former employees of the district: Una Miller, former Principal at GAMS Tech Elementary School, and Elizabeth Walsh, former classroom English teacher at Newburgh Free Academy Main Campus. Both allege they were sexually harassed by Padilla on August 10, 2021. Both allege a subsequent pattern of harassment and retaliation that led to their respective resignations. The two educators, through their attorneys, released a statement Monday evening after Padilla’s appointment was announced.
“We are shocked that the New York City public schools, Chancellor Banks and Mayor Adams are putting their trust in Roberto Padilla after his conduct that compelled us to file a lawsuit against him. We previously trusted Padilla, and our careers were derailed because of it,” Walsh and Miller said in a prepared statement. “The students, families and educators of the Bronx and District 7 deserve better than Padilla, who we saw firsthand create a culture of fear and intimidation. We advise the city to re-evaluate this important decision.”
Since Padilla’s departure, the Newburgh Enlarged City School District has been led by Interim Superintendent Ed Forgit. In May, the school board appointed Dr. Jackielyn Manning Campbell, a onetime acting superintendent in the New Rochelle City School District as Superintendent of Schools. She takes over in Newburgh on July 1.