I really love this picture taken today. Not only because it’s of my amazing wife and amazing boys, but also because of the symbolism of the Verrazano bridge in the background. You see, on this very day, back in May 2005, I was probably walking on the catwalk under this very bridge. You can see it below the roadway and above the tree line on the left. I was inspecting this bridge while donning an orange reflective vest and white hard hat. I worked about 12 hour shifts and sometimes 7 days a week. No kids, no wife, not teaching and definitely had no clue about the corruption in our school system and teacher’s union.
It wasn’t until a month later, in June 2005, that I saw my wife’s school from that catwalk and first started thinking to become a teacher. We were engaged and getting married in Greece in July 2005.
As you probably know, I returned from our honeymoon and enrolled in Brooklyn College’s education program. By May 2007, I had taken a substitute job that turned into a full-time position at Berta Dreyfus Intermediate School 49. Despite a cut in salary of over $20,000, and an unimaginable journey of trials and tribulations, I look at this picture and think:
“Wow…this moment here is the amazing product of 11 years of patience, courage and fortitude. Not just mine, but Angela’s too. Even though the DOE hurt me and my family, and made me miss out on a lot of precious time with them, here they are and they’re wonderful. Despite all you read here in “The Francesco Portelos Story“, I have little regrets.”
Now to concentrate on Federal lawsuit Portelos v. City of NY et al. 12 CV 3141 that will hopefully bring some justice to me, my amazing family and this broken system.