Aspiring math teacher John Quinn Jr. didn’t get the numbers to go his way this week.
Instead, the majority of the 11 people who run the Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center voted to hire someone else as a math instructor before the start of the new school year, averting what would have been another public relations black eye.
Quinn, after all, is the son of Wilkes-Barre Area School Board Vice President John Quinn Sr. As fate would have it, the elder Quinn also currently serves as chairman of the technical school’s Joint Operating Committee. Although it’s not illegal for a wannabe teacher to apply for and land a job in a Pennsylvania public school district where mommy or daddy sits on the school board, it sure smacks of desperation. That’s doubly true in Wilkes-Barre Area, long derided in the court of public opinion for its obscene instances of nepotism and for outright corruption, including the passing of bribes to land business contracts and jobs.
For the record, Quinn Sr. abstained from voting Monday for the agenda item involving his son’s application. Even so, it’s hard not to question whether the Quinns are attempting to establish a family dynasty in the district. Quinn Sr. formerly taught in the district, and his daughter, Colleen Wood, worked there too, according to a 2003 article in The Times Leader.
Son John Quinn Jr. has worked part-time intermittently for the district for more than a decade.
Two years ago this month, federal agents attended a Wilkes-Barre Area School Board meeting and served multiple subpoenas. The agents asked for information including employment and hiring records, particularly for John Quinn Jr., said then-Superintendent Jeff Namey. Quinn Jr. was certified in secondary school math, a field with frequent shortages of qualified teachers, Namey noted at the time.
Quinn Jr., whom we assume to be fully qualified and capable in the classroom, can help to alleviate public skepticism about the Wilkes-Barre district by switching his attention to geography. In this commonwealth, there are 500 public school districts; why not find one in which to work where you have no relatives on the school board?