What Kind of Day Has It Been?

What kind of day has it been

On September 14, 2016 at about 2:35pm CST, Dr. Casey Wardynski, Superintendent of Huntsville City Schools since July 5, 2011, offered his resignation to the Huntsville City Schools board of Education effective on September 15, 2016 at 5:00pm.

That’s 1,899 days.

Over that time, at least 1,538 teachers and staff have volunteered to leave the district. If you add in the approximate 400 teachers and staff who were non-renewed over that time, that number climes 1,938 district employees who have left since Dr. Wardynski was hired by the 2011 Board of Education (Dr. Jennie Robinson, Mr. David Blair, Mr. Topper Birney, Ms. Laurie McCaulley, and Ms. Alta Morrison.)

We have lost more than one teacher or staff member per day since Dr. Wardynski was hired 1,899 days ago.

Since May 23, 2014, through the most currently released Human Resources report dated September 1, 2016, 733 teachers have resigned (75%) or retired (25%).

I mention this simply to explain why despite my sincere appreciation that Dr. Wardynski has finally taken the advice I offered him on September 20, 2012, I am not actually out celebrating his resignation tonight.

Our district has gone from having one of the most experienced teacher corps in the state to one of the most inexperienced teacher corps in those 1,899 days.

Our community has lost far too much in those 1,899 days.

Our schools have lost far too much in those 1,899 days.

Our kids have lost far too much in those 1,899 days to celebrate their coming to a close.

All I can say is that I hope that it is not too late for our school system to recover.

It Is Not Yet Over

Tomorrow evening, the board agenda included the following item under the Consent Agenda:

Compensation for Services – Pinnacle Schools, APP

In other words, the board of education in collaboration with the Superintendent is planning to discuss the contract with The Pinnacle Schools of Huntsville, which is run by Ms. Karen Lee as CEO. This is the same Ms. Karen Lee that Dr. Wardynski is planning to make the future Mrs. Casey Wardynski in December as he announced today during his resignation press conference.

This is the same Pinnacle Schools that Dr. Wardynski defended back in October 2012 when an employee of Pinnacle abused a HCS student in their care.

In addition to this, the board has another agenda item under the consent agenda to give TCU, a frequent contributor to the school board election campaigns of Walker McGinnis, Elisa Ferrell, and Laurie McCaulley.

From 2012 through 2016, TCU has been paid $5,727,840.39. Tomorrow night, there is a recommendation to give TCU the authority to oversee the completion of the “HCS Facility Plan Phase 1” with a budget of $279,365,234.00 through October 31, 2017. According to the agenda item, TCU would, “represent HCS in all requirements related to the completion of HCS’s Facility Plan Phase 1.”

This ceding of control over to a contractor is remarkably similar to what happened after Frank Spinelli, the first CSFO under Wardynski, left to go to work for LEAN Frog making $175 per hour.

It would not surprise me at all to learn that TCU plans to hire Dr. Wardynski as a consultant to oversee the “completion of HCS’s Facility Plan Phase 1” after he resigns tomorrow afternoon.

Both of these points, as is always the case with this board of education, bear close observation.

So, What Kind of Day Has It Been?

On the whole, I breathed a sign of relief today at 2:35pm. This separation is long overdue, and I fear it may be arriving far too late.

I’m convinced that it will take at a minimum another 1,899 days for Huntsville City Schools to recover from Dr. Wardynski’s obliteration of our teacher corps.

To all the teachers and staff who have survived the past 1,899 days: Thank You. I cannot imagine how difficult this time has been for you. Today has been a good day, but tomorrow is just the beginning of the path to make things right.

Good Riddance, Dr. Casey Wardynski

Dr. Wardynski, if you were being honest when you claimed that you had personal issues that you needed to address, I absolutely wish you nothing but the best in your life to come.

You have, however, become a teacher of sorts after all: I’ve learned not to take you at your word.

 
Russell

“Children see magic because they look for it.”

–Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff, Jesus’ childhood pal.

33 Comments

  1. Amazing. Local administrators always mess up without the help of the parents. Being above the law always catches up.

  2. Sir, in all honesty, your motives have never been as pure as you would like everyone to think. Rarely did you find anything positive about the Superintendents performance. Even in resigning you imply the worst out of speculation perhaps as a parting blow. Maybe this entertains your readers.

    Your attacks are far too blinkered and personal. Maybe the man is just ready to move on to a new chapter. Having known the retired Colonel for years, I believe his motivation was nothing more than trying to fix a system that is broken on a national scale. He’s a tough leader who has no time to consider every opinion so of course he would anger a system and its people that are bent on status quo. And yes he truly wants the kids to thrive and succeed.

    And when you speak of all the teachers that have left the system, are we to believe they were all model examples? And are we to believe that one man was the reason for their leaving – no blame on the hours, the federally mandated testing, the lack of being able to discipline, the principal?

    I know you’ll read this a shrug it off but I hope you’ll use this pause to do a little self examination and call out the challenges Huntsville and our nation face in education as well as highlight positives with the next superintendent instead of just a one sided critique.

    1. What you wrote deserves to be shrugged off. If Wardynski wasn’t a crooked opportunistic narcissistic liar I am sure something nice might be said about him. Truthfully, he’s been nothing more than a corporatist dictator with a rubber stamp board.

      1. Having not addressed any of the issues I mentioned, you too are clearly opportunistic with a jaded agenda and therefore irrelevant. I ask you do you have the integrity and fortitude to curb your armchair pot shots at the next Sup and board and instead jump in and get your hands dirty, do something helpful?

        1. Sorry for the length of this reply, but Mark seems to be disappointed that his points were not addressed…so I’ll give it a go:

          Sir, in all honesty, your motives have never been as pure as you would like everyone to think.
          – This one was already discussed by another post. I for one will not question the Geeks motives as he has children in the HCS and seems to be looking out for what’s best for them.

          Rarely did you find anything positive about the Superintendents performance.
          – Rarely was the Superintendent’s performance a positive thing

          Even in resigning you imply the worst out of speculation perhaps as a parting blow. Maybe this entertains your readers.
          – I for one am rarely entertained by this blog…incensed is more the emotion.

          Your attacks are far too blinkered and personal. Maybe the man is just ready to move on to a new chapter. Having known the retired Colonel for years, I believe his motivation was nothing more than trying to fix a system that is broken on a national scale. He’s a tough leader who has no time to consider every opinion so of course he would anger a system and its people that are bent on status quo. And yes he truly wants the kids to thrive and succeed.
          – I cannot comment on someone’s motivations….just their actions. The actions of this Superintendent have, in my opinion, been detrimental to the goal of kids thriving and succeeding. No time? There was no time on just one subject to seek every opinion? No time to consult with the very people he worked for? He had all the time necessary to hear all sides and build consensus…that’s just obviously not his style. I believe you when you say he truly wants the kids to succeed (not thrive)…after all, “success” makes him look better. I’m under no belief that he is interested in the well-being of kids….I’ve not seen one piece of evidence to support that.

          And when you speak of all the teachers that have left the system, are we to believe they were all model examples? And are we to believe that one man was the reason for their leaving – no blame on the hours, the federally mandated testing, the lack of being able to discipline, the principal?
          – They were certainly not all model examples. However, when you consider the sheer number of teachers that have left since this Superintendent was hired coupled with comments made by outgoing teachers AND teachers still in the system, coupled with the fact that many of those that have left have been hired by other school systems you get a fuller picture that illustrates what a hostile work environment is like.

          I know you’ll read this a shrug it off but I hope you’ll use this pause to do a little self-examination and call out the challenges Huntsville and our nation face in education as well as highlight positives with the next superintendent instead of just a one sided critique.
          – The HCS system faces many challenges, some of which you’ve already mentioned: long teacher hours with poor compensation, excessive standardized testing, lack of discipline and respect, and poor leaders. I can’t see where the previous Superintendent did anything to solve these issues. Instead, the previous Superintendent created more of these challenges by alienating classes of children, alienating parents, alienating teachers, and alienating principals. He created a hostile environment that does not foster education. I can share in the blame for putting him in office…I was one given an opportunity to interview him and make a hiring recommendation. I thought that his decisiveness and his being from “outside” the educational system would be a good thing for a Superintendent….I still do. However, his toxic dictatorial style is not at all what I seek in a leader.

          In our next leader, I hope that the shortcomings of our previous leader are addressed. To that end, our next leader should:
          – Be fiscally responsible
          – Seek consensus and not rule by intimidation
          – Put the children #1
          – Act with high integrity
          – Open communication (“communication” is bi-directional) with the community
          – Return more autonomy to local schools
          – Encourage ALL discipline issues that are disruptive to classroom education to be escalated up the chain of authority.
          – Promote community involvement in their community schools
          – Return to traditional test-taking techniques where mistakes are returned to the student and lessons can be learned.

    2. maybe you are too close to be objective as well. yes, one man is responsible for this exodus because it is he that put in place the bureaucracy, the incompetent administrators without proper experience and made technology more important than the content it was supposed to provide. he is the one that created or allowed the hostile work environment. as for federal testing…ah blame the feds! the school did more internal standardized testing that benefited pearson and the consulting companies than they did federally mandated testing.

    3. Russell’s motives are as pure as they come. He is a parent of two children attending this degraded school system. All awesome parents want their children to succeed, as does Russell. I really don’t think that is too much to ask from our school system….but, under Wardynski that is/was not happening. Students have not been successful and the test scores prove that.

    4. How shall I say this,Warndynski should have been gone the first year.He may have been made for the military yet not for a school system.

      1. Actually, if you go back to when he was first bring considered for super &’closely read what the Times wrote about his career, it seems that he was active duty for a portion of his career, then finished up in the reserves. Since the army has an “up or out” policy (get promoted or quit) it’s possible he wasn’t made for the military after some rank.

  3. I heard a local radio “mouth” say this morning that it’s a good thing for Wardynski to move on because the new board members were voted in “to basically oppose and force Wardynski out of office.” Perhaps, unlike the bobbleheads that did occupy the Board and never challenge Wardynski, this board would have at least pushed back on the Superintendent and actually represent their districts the right way. I know of at least half a dozen teachers who were determined to leave after this school year because of Wardynski. I certainly hope they will now reconsider.

  4. Ms. Karen Lee… oh the words I have for that woman and the hell hole she runs at Pinnacle. And the HSV school board who forced my son to attend school there after removing his IEP accommodations at GHS. I wish now that I had pursued my lawsuit against the school board, Pinnacle, and those that allowed my son to be beaten over a “carrot”. Yes, a carrot thrown at him during class while staff at Pinnacle watched him being beaten by 3 boys who were 3 times his size. And let’s not forgot the idiot principal (who formerly worked at GHS as an assistant). She did nothing and would not even look me in the face when I demanded an explanation! Who informs me that my child needed medical care? The paramedics who were called to the school! Had I not threatened legal action and demanded that he be allowed to return to GHS via homeschool program AND be allowed to graduate with his class… I would have sued this school system for everything its worth. As for Mr. Wardynski, I do not fault removing teachers who had been employed far longer than they deserved using “tenure” as their prize to continue their sorry teaching skills. But there are other things that I did not agree with. The only thing I can say at this point is that I’m glad my son is no longer in the school system and I never have to put up with the hell again.

  5. I am of course very glad it is over, but like you, the cheering is muted by melancholy. He may be gone in a day, but gone too are all the days of opportunity to learn and to teach that his regime tainted or suppressed or simply ruined.

    I am hoping for a closer look at Pinnacle. It’s been a dirty secret for way too long. I guess when the lovey-dovey stuff starts to get old, W will spend more and more time there, battering kids’ psyches if not bodies — and there will be no pesky parents to complain. Wonder how he’ll get along with the step-sons, Charles Lee, Jr.and Eric Lee, the ones who were arrested for trafficking during a raid netting 24 pounds of marijuana, $37,600 cash, and a small arsenal. And while he was out on $25,000 bond, Eric was made a supervisor at mommy’s private prison.

    1. Yeah she’s such a role model parent (NOT!)… and her website discussing her “qualifications” leaves much to be desired. If you have thugs for kids, then you needn’t be running an alternative school. Mr W will use his military skills to try to whip her boys into shape. I’d like to see how long that lasts. And to marry another when you’re wife hasn’t even been gone 9 months and they’ve only been dating since “early summer”. He obviously doesn’t like being “alone” and needs a “trophy” wife so he can “get a life”.

    2. Yes we are all hoping for a closer look
      At Pinnacle and their true relationship with Dr. Wardinsky I am sure!

    1. I was not a supporter of Dr. Moore; however, there was never a two year period during her ten year tenure that the district lost 733 teachers. (742 counting the 9 who left tonight.)

        1. Those resignations happened before anyone knew Dr. Wardynski had left, but feel free to continue making points that demonstrate your lack of understanding of the process, Mr. Hebb.

  6. Mark Hebb is certainly right about one thing: the poor state of HCS isn’t because of one man. The board has the responsibility to hold this man accountable and in check, which they’ve consistantly failed to do.

  7. I just want you (and the fellow readers) to know that teachers were celebrating in the hallways of GHS when the news went live.

    We’re far from out of the woods, but maybe now we can choose a better path.

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