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.