Cagey Teachers Who Put Students First

HCSBoard Seal

So there are two board meetings scheduled for tomorrow. At 8:00 am, the board will hold their annual reorganization meeting to determine the new officers for the coming year. Then at 8:15 am (the re-organization will only take 15 minutes, I suppose), the board will hold a called business meeting to discuss Temporary Agreements and the Amended HR report.

I expect with the potential retirements of an expected 200 employees that there will be many of these special called meetings to deal with Human Resource issues especially since the central office is taking a more direct hand in school-level hiring. It’s going to be a busy time for the superintendent and the board, and a difficult time of decision for many of our most experienced teachers and staff. It should be a time of praise for these teachers for their dedicated service to our system, but instead, Dr. Wardynski seems intent on ascribing to our teachers negative attributes whenever possible.

When last Dr. Wardynski spoke of those potential retirees, he described them as being “cagey” about their plans for retirement.


He seems unwilling or unable to consider that perhaps these teachers simply love teaching, and they’re trying to find a way to handle the pay cut that the state is sticking them with. Or maybe they simply love their students and hate the thought of leaving their classes in the middle of the year. Perhaps they are doing everything they can to avoid leaving the system in a jam.

Nope. None of that enters his mind. Or if it does, it doesn’t escape his mouth. So what does escape?


As George Bernard Shaw once said (and Bono later paraphrased), “The liar’s punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.” So it goes, in a similar fashion, with those who look out only for their own needs ignoring the best interests of those pesky students: they assume that everyone is looking out only for themselves.

Your adjectives are revealing more about you, Dr. Wardynski, than they are about teachers. You’re becoming a fine example of the text exegeting the reader.

Assuming that I can make it from the South end of town to the North by 8 after dropping off the kids (at two different schools since the boy is not offered services at his home school), I will be in attendance. As always, the meeting will be broadcast on ETV (Comcast 17, Knology 99), and at the Huntsville City Schools website. I will also be live-tweeting the meeting @russwinn. You can follow on Twitter or on the Geek Palaver Facebook Page. Hope to see you there so we can see together what other insight into the board and the superintendent we can gain.

Maybe next he’ll accuse teachers of being only concerned about receiving seven grand above the maximum posted salaries for their friends.

Nah, no one would be that blatant. Oh, wait . . .

"Children see magic because they look for it." --Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff, Jesus' childhood pal.


  1. I would like to thank you for having this blog, your tweets, and for saying what THOSE of us want to say, but can not. I could speak my mind. I could say what I wanted to say and and quote my sources from CO., but who would pay my mortgage?

    1. You’re welcome. But the thanks really goes to those teachers, aide, support personnel, and administrators who are giving their lives in service to our kids.

      So, thank you.

      (And thanks for reading!)

  2. Casey has his nerve calling somebody “cagey” holding Board Meetings at 8 AM on a work day so working parents can’t attend. Glad you will be there letting us know what really going on.

    1. True. Especially when that board meeting was for the board to approve both Temporary Agreements and the HR report and the meeting was conducted without any public discussion from the board of what those two reports contained.

      I wonder who they’ve hired/fired/transferred now?

      1. What’s that you say? The meeting was conducted without any public discussion from the board of what those two reports contained? No wonder we don’t know what we don’t know. smh

        So, Laurie McCaully is the school board prez? What are you feelings?

        1. I’ve requested a copy of the HR report that was approved, but have not received it yet.

          Concerning McCaulley: She is the only board member who consistently votes “no” on anything. (Occasionally, Alta Morrison joins her.) http://www.geekpalaver.com/2011/08/31/administer-and-supervise-educational-interests/

          I’m sure that she will be fine as President, and I wish her well.

          But frankly, I have such low expectations of the board at this point, I’m not sure that who holds the titles is going to make much of a difference.

          1. But frankly, I have such low expectations of the board at this point, I’m not sure that who holds the titles is going to make much of a difference.

            My sentiments exactly.

  3. McCaulley is just as bad as the rest of them (BOE). She occasionally voted no when ARM was here but has not since “Dr. I Don’t Give A Damn” has been there. She has voted with them since July. Continue to be vigilant… HCS and their entire Board is still a sloppy, hot mess!!!

    1. Actually she did vote against a proposal once since July. On July 16 she opposed the suspension of board committees. But that’s it. That has been the only “No” vote on any proposal since Wardynski began on July 5th.

      I agree that we all need to be vigilant with Wardynski and the board regardless of which one of them is “in charge.”

  4. Another eloquent essay! You are right; teachers should be thanked for giving their lives to teaching…not treated as the enemy. It seems like Dr. W is just waiting for the more experienced teachers to leave so he can hire the “cheaper” teachers.

    According to the Teachers’ Retirement System, anyone wanting to retire to avoid the increases should retire on 12-01-11 or before. The retirement packet must be in Montgomery 30 days before the retirement date…10-30-11. In addition, HCS Human Resources must complete a portion of the forms before it is sent to Montgomery. So…teachers should already have their retirement packets into Human Resources if they are retiring 12-01-11. One teacher said it took HCS HR 21 days to complete her packet before sending it to Montgomery! The number of teachers retiring mid-year should be known by the end of this month. Before they leave, let’s hope someone remembers to say “thanks for your service”.

    1. Thanks for the details, carolyn. I agree that Dr. Wardynski’s attitude (and the board’s as well) concerning the pending retirements is one of glee. I’m convinced that they would be thrilled if they were able to replace the majority of the teachers and staff in the system. All of their policies since basically February has been to encourage teachers to quit or retire.

      Thanks for the details on the retirement schedule. There is at least some hope that the state legislature will extend the deadline to at least the end of the school year.

  5. Russ, if u are attending the mtg 10/11, is it possible for u to type a bulleted list of citizens comment questions to be distributed to those in attendance that evening? It could include: why the new “because we aren’t being sued” (yet) method of evaluation is acceptable; why the central office is expanding (aides to dr. W, 2 directors of elementary Ed, etc) but teachers are making the state minimum; why all of the right people have come from Aurora; why each of them has had a salary approved by the board making more than the advertised salary and without discussion at the board mtgs; why they keep having these special mtgs where the public can not attend, etc??? Your blog has been mentioned in several public sources lately (Congrats To u!!!) but the public needs to know this info and hold the entire board accountable. The situation is getting worse by the day and will continue until they are forced to stop this behavior and focus on children. None of the decisions he and the board have made have been about the kids. It’s been a out deception, hiring aides, demeaning/intimidating his current work force, and hiring his friends.

    Can u do that???

    1. These are good suggestions, and yes I can do this if people want. What I can’t do is make people show up. (Especially the day after fall break.)

      I’ll work on a post to this end soon.

      Concerning the publicity: My sole purpose here is to attempt to make our school system as strong as possible. I’m not doing this for publicity or (as if it were even possible) to get elected.

      My goal is to encourage people to get involved. If anyone would like suggestions for ways to get involved, or for questions to ask, I’m happy to help, but I’m just one guy speaking out. Nothing will change until others add their voice to the mix, too.

      Thanks for the suggestions and for reading!

  6. I know that u don’t do this for publicity. I was just proud that something that I read personally was sited In another publication. U are making a difference and others recognize it too. Thanks for being invested in our children:)

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