Huntsville City School BOE’s Befuddled Assumptions

Rubber Stamp

With unanimous approval by the board of education, without raising a single point of discussion, the board of education approved Dr. Wardynski’s recommendation to hire Elizabeth Hachar as principal of Butler High School on June 21st. Not one person on the board publicly asked any questions about her before approving the recommendation. Their assumptions are that Dr. Wardynski will take care of everything, and that it’s not their job to decide things like job titles and whom they approve for hire.

Here’s what Dr. Wardynski had to say about her:

So, um, Ms. Hachar is going to be joining us. She has long tenure in New York City Public Schools. She has served in the, uh, Bronx for many, many years in a school that had a high number of children with English language acquisition needs. Um, from there she went on to join uh, KIPP Schools as an administrator. She has uh great experience both in public schools, uh, children with great needs, and in a Charter school. So she’ll bring a wealth of experience from both domains to our work at Butler and we look forward to her arrival. She’ll be here at the beginning of July.

Fairfax County, Virginia South

At the conclusion of this discussion, Mrs. McCaulley quickly changed the subject to the newly named Assistant Principal at Johnson High School Paula Cotman, from (can you guess?) Fairfax, Virginia. (Yes, this is our third hiring from that County. In his “national searches for talent,” Dr. Wardynski seems to consistently return to Aurora, Colorado and Fairfax, Virginia. Ms. Cotman seems to have most recently been a Counselor at Lanier Middle School in Fairfax.) There doesn’t seem to be a lot of information available about Ms. Cotman online.

That’s not the case with Ms. Elizabeth Hachar, however.

Elizabeth Hachar Called “Tyrant

Ms. Hachar has had quite a bit written about her. If you care to google her name and “Bronx,” you’ll find more information than you likely care to know about here.

First up is an article on NYDailyNews.com entitled, “Parents Say Administrators are Siccing ACS [Administration for Children’s Services] on Them to Retaliate for Complaints.” If you complain about the school that Ms. Hachar was the principal of, you get visited by the New York equivalent of Child Protective Services. As parent who has been on the receiving end of Dr. Wardynski’s intimidation tactics when I’ve asked questions that he hasn’t liked, I’m sure that he would love having someone in this district who would call Child Protective Services on an “uppity” parent. Now, it seems, he has found someone who will.

Next on the list is, “Legal Services NYC-Bronx Fights for Students at P.S. 11.” This posting claims that children attending Ms. Hachar’s elementary school “are not receiving the special services to which they are entitled, including Special Education, English as a Second Language, and Academic Intervention Services according to parents, teachers, and community activists.” Again, Dr. Wardynski has done, and continues to do, an excellent job of limiting services and cutting Special Education budgets. Now it seems that he has a principal who will do this for him. Remember, Dr. Wardynski had the nerve to praise this woman for her work with children with “English language acquisition needs.” He does seem to appreciate those who limit services.

It also seems that Ms. Hachar’s school received the high honor of being “Eighth Worst” in New York for educational environment. In other words, Ms. Hacher is well known by her parents and teachers as a principal who is “mistrusted” by her teachers and an “ineffective manager.” Leonie Haimson wrote that, “Ms. Hachar appears to be quite a tyrant and has a long history of infuriating parents.

She was quite talented at firing teachers such as Mr. Charles Woods.

So it’s easy to see why Dr. Wardynski would want to hire her. Having someone so controversial in the district to do his dirty work might actually take some of the negative press away from him. He can then claim that he supports school autonomy when she does the same types of things here.

Six Degrees of Eli Broad

But in addition to this, there is another reason Dr. Wardynski likes her. You see, she is a graduate of the New York City Leadership Academy. This “leadership academy” is exactly like the program that Dr. Wardynski has instituted here for principals via the SUPES Academy. It focuses on turning principals into CEOs of their “companies.” It also (again, I’d bet you could never guess) receives support and funding from The Broad Foundation, just as the SUPES Academy does.

So you see, Ms. Hachar and Dr. Wardynski were somehow reunited after being separated at birth.

Assumptions and Short Term Memory Loss for Huntsville BOE

Do you remember when, back in April that the Board of Education rescinded a signed contract with Mr. Dan Meier (also from Fairfax County, Virginia) because they learned that Mr. Meier had been caught up in some questionable land deals in Fairfax?

Do you remember when Mr. Blair claimed to be “kind of befuddled about what happened” in hiring Mr. Meier?

Do you remember when Mrs. McCaulley claimed that “there’s a lot of lessons learned lately” when it came to light that parents had used Google to do a quick background check on Mr. Meier? How about when she went on to say, “I know for a fact that there’s no more assuming from board members?

If so, well perhaps you should run for a seat on the board since clearly your memory is better than theirs. You see the way they found out that there were questions surrounding Mr. Meier was from people in the community doing a Google search on his name.

Much as people like HsvGirl63 have now done with Ms. Hachar. (Thank you, HsvGirl63, whomever you are.)

Here’s the problem. Either the board forgot over a period of just three months that it’s their job to supervise the superintendent and his recommendations, or they did do a background check on Ms. Hachar and this is exactly the type of principal they want to hire.

So, is the Huntsville City School Board of Education incompetent, or do they want to threaten parents and teachers? I’m not sure that there’s a third choice here.



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


  1. This is the BOE we have instead of the BOE we wish we had. My thanks to Hsvgirl for doing what the BOE was elected to do and the news media won’t do.

  2. not disagreeing with anything you said about having someone who will call child protective services as retaliation, but that’s been going on for a long time – I’ve seen it done

    1. I know.

      Oh, and feel free to disagree with me whenever you want. Disagreement is sometimes necessary for understanding to take place.

  3. Incompetent.

    I read the “press release” from the sup’s office that The Times published on this hire. Raised more questions than it answered, and left me convinced that in reality she had a bad record. At least my instincs were right.

  4. Great job Russell! We teachers love reading your posts and are so thankful to have you in our corner. To add one more interesting point about Ms. Hachar- she was scrutinized for locking all of the bathroom doors at her school. One student was even hospitalized for impacted bowel. When interviewed, her reply was, “All teachers have a key to the bathrooms.”

    1. Good god. In an Elementary school no less. I guess I should be grateful she wasn’t placed at an Elementary School here.

  5. “So, is the Huntsville City School Board of Education incompetent, or do they want to threaten parents and teachers? I’m not sure that there’s a third choice here.”

    A third choice: HCS now has a reputation that ensures that only those who no one else will hire are ready to come here.

  6. Is it just me, or is the endgame here to burn the public school system so badly that charter schools become the only viable solution (at least to the city)?

    Wardynski would be the perfect hatchet man to chop the school system to pieces, with side benefit of hiring all sorts of sycophants and fellow Broad cronies to collect paychecks and run numbers for their organization.

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