There were a number of decisions made last night, including the hiring of yet another principal through the PROACT search firm (an organization with Broad Foundation connections). If you’d like to read an excellent summary of those events, please take a look at Bonvillian’s articles on the Huntsville Times concerning this hiring and the proposal to put a security fence around the new Lee High School.
I would instead like to draw your attention to a common and consistent pattern of intimidation employed by the superintendent with any employee who dares to ask questions.
I’ve written before about the importance of questions and the superintendent’s astonishing arrogance in his conviction that his ideas should not be questioned.
He did the same thing to teachers who asked questions about even his oft quoted statement that the STAR test takes only 8 minutes to complete at the Mountain Gap PTA merger meeting on March 6th. (By all accounts, it takes student who are performing above grade level 20-30 minutes at a minimum. Those who are performing at or below grade level take longer.)
His approach is to intimidate teachers into silence.
He did the same thing last night at the board meeting to Ms. Pam Hill, a teacher in our system who dares to ask questions during the Citizen Comments section of the board meeting.
Here’s the video of their exchange.
So what did Dr. Wardynski have to say?
Ms. Hill, you’re an employee of Huntsville City Schools. You do not represent Hampton Cove Elementary School. So that was a misrepresentation. Uh number two, you stood there the night I read the specifications against Principal McGhee. Uh, Principal McGhee was relieved for a whole host of reasons that where upheld in court. That had to do with poor leadership, ethical questions. And so we will relieve such leaders, we will relieve such teachers, and so I would caution you when talking to your employers to speak to them as your employers. The Board is your employer.
First, yes, Ms. Hill is upset. She’s upset with the way the superintendent and the board seem to disregard teachers as a disposable inconvenience in the educational process. I am quite certain that Dr. Wardynski would prefer a school system that was filled with temporary staff whom could be dismissed at will. This is his model “teacher.”
She’s also upset that administration will benefit from others’ hard work. All one need do is look at the salaries Wardynski is paying his friends to see that this is also a model that he follows.
So yes, she’s upset.
She has ample reason for being so.
She is not alone. There is not a single day that I don’t hear from an employee of Huntsville City Schools who is not upset, hurt, demoralized, and looking to do something, anything, else. Ms. Hill is simply giving voice to those who are too afraid to speak out.
She should be praised for speaking for the voiceless, not threatened.
Wardynski accuses Ms. Hill of misrepresenting herself as a spokesperson for Hampton Cove Elementary.
What he was referring to was Mr. Blair’s reading of the form that is required to be filled out by anyone who wishes to speak during the citizen comments.In order to be allowed to speak, you have to sign in at least 15 minutes before the beginning of the meeting giving the board your name, address, name of the organization that you represent, and the purpose of your comments.
So, Mrs. Hill’s “misrepresentation” was that she wrote the words “Hampton Cove” down on a sheet of paper. Unforgivable isn’t it? As you can tell from her comments, she did not state that she was speaking for all of the teachers at Hampton Cove Elementary.
For someone who regularly offers “misrepresentations,” you would think that Dr. Wardynski might be a little more cautious throwing around accusations of that nature. But as we’ve seen often before, the standards that Dr. Wardynski applies to himself, and to his friends, are radically different from those he applies to others.
That his actions are often hypocritical is old news.
But then he proceeds to offer a red-herring response to Ms. Hill’s comments by claiming that she was defending Fillis McGhee as having been wrongfully terminated.
Ms. Hill offered no defense of Ms. McGhee’s firing last night. Perhaps if Dr. Wardynski would spend those three minutes actually listening to citizen comments rather than thinking of ways to threaten the speaker into silence, he would have heard this.
But I suppose asking him to actually listen to people for even three minutes is just too taxing.
And then he wraps up his response by threatening Ms. Hill. “And so we will relieve such leaders, we will relieve such teachers, and so I would caution you when talking to your employers to speak to them as your employers. The Board is your employer.”
Again, you would think that someone who regularly speaks disrespectfully to his employers (parents and the public) would not feel comfortable accusing others of doing so, but as I said, his hypocrisy is old news.
What isn’t old news is his systematic attempts to threaten, intimidate, silence and even fire teachers, instructional assistants, therapists and staff who have the audacity to question him on anything.
Anything at all.
He truly believes that we should simply say thank you and move along.
His arrogance is destroying our schools, which is in turn destroying our community.
Dr. Wardynski should be required by the Board of Education to issue a written and public apology to Ms. Hill.
That, of course, won’t happen. This board is, at least in the majority, entirely in his pocket. And they suffer from the same arrogance and desire to cover up their actions that he does.
It’s time for a change.