City educators, parents and students were sickened Thursday to hear an Upper West Side teacher found a pot of cash and a cushy job at the end of a rainbow experiment that burned two students.
Beacon High School teacher Anna Poole has landed $23,000 in raises since the 2014 accident that permanently disfigured one teen and prompted nearly $40 million in lawsuits.
She is now an instructional leader assigned to Education Department headquarters and teaches city teachers how to perform science lessons.
New York City Parents Union founder Mona Davids was appalled.
“I think that’s outrageous and ludicrous. It’s actually insulting,” said Davids. “But it’s typical DOE. That’s what they do, reward poor performance.”
As an example, Davids cited former Bronx principal Santiago Taveras, who lost his job at DeWitt Clinton High School in a 2017 cheating scandal. Despite a probe that found he changed students’ grades, Taveras landed in another high-paying city schools gig, as an educational administrator.
Poole, 35, was a rookie science teacher on Jan. 2, 2014, when a chemistry rainbow experiment went horribly wrong and caused a classroom explosion that injured two students.
“Oh my God, I set a kid on fire,” Poole cried out, according to a Special Commissioner of Investigation report published five months after horrific blast.
But instead of firing Poole, Education Department officials gave her a new job as citywide instructional specialist and a series of raises the agency said were contractually required. She currently makes a $79,484 a year — up from $56,048 on the day of the explosion.
City public school teacher and education activist Axia Rodriquez said Poole’s plum gig shows the Education Department disciplinary system is upside-down.
“The DOE is helping this lady reboot her career because it was a tragic accident,” said Rodriquez, who teaches English-language learners. “But when whistleblowers speak up, their careers are in tatters.”
Queens teacher Bobson Wong said on Twitter that the city should put its brightest educators in positions to lead important professional development classes.
“I think this says a lot about the quality of professional development — who gets chosen to do it,” Wong tweeted. “I wish teachers had more of an opportunity to run PD, but given how busy we are, this is difficult.”
Beacon students were shocked that Poole is giving city educators lessons on how to lead science classes. The classroom blast she touched off four years ago melted the ear of one student, burned the forearms and hair of another and left a third with PTSD.
So “maybe continuing to work with chemicals isn’t a super responsible decision,” said sophomore Henry Pearl, 16.
Poole didn’t pick up her office phone when called for comment, and her coworkers at 52 Chambers St. said they were too spooked to comment on her story.
“Good luck,” said one DOE staffer approached by a Daily News reporter outside Tweed Courthouse. “There’s a lot of fear here.”