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Minutes June 5, 2014

William H. Ray Elementary

LSC Meeting Minutes

2014-06-05

APPROVED 2017-07-07

 

Meeting started at 6:11 PM

 

Roll Call – Present

 

Gabriel Sheridan

Don Willard

Amy Levine

Kirsten Esterly

Matthew Christian

Gordon Mayer

Tim May

Bill Schmidt

Patrick Brutus

Alysia Tate

 

Roll Call – Absent

 

Dr. Antonia Hill

 

Approval of Agenda

 

Tim May moved and Bill Schmidt seconded that we approve the agenda. Vote was unanimous in favor with no abstentions.

 

Approval of Minutes

 

Patrick Brutus moved and Tim May seconded approval of the May 6, 2014 LSC minutes. Motion passed with 8 in favor, 0 against, 2 abstaining.

 

May 20 LSC minutes were discussed. Don Willard noted that there are several name misspellings.

 

Kirsten Esterly and Patrick Brutus seconded approval of the May 20, 2014 LSC minutes, provided that name misspellings are corrected. Motion passed with 8 in favor, 0 against, 2 abstaining.

 

Tim May moved and Kirsten Esterly seconded approval of the May 28, 2014 LSC minutes. Motion passed with 8 in favor, 0 against, 2 abstaining.

 

Public Comment

 

Gordon Mayer: Spoke briefly about what has occurred during the past week. Many emails, etc.

 

Bill Schmidt, LSC Secretary, reported on the process of arranging candidate visits on Monday and Tuesday, June 2 and June 3, and the process of gathering and collating feedback.

 

Amy Levine, teacher representative, reported on the process of arranging candidate visits for teachers and on the handling of feedback from those sessions.

 

Don Willard thanked Bill Schmidt and Kirsten Esterly for their work in following the process throughout and in doing extra work during this most recent period.

 

Bill Schmidt thanked Paula Florell for her amazing work in support of making arrangements and organizing feedback during this period.

 

[4th grader] One thing is I had a petition to keep Dr. Hill as principal. It is currently locked up in my desk. I got quite a few names on there and I’d like to give that to you at some point. I really believe that Beth Bazer is the best candidate for the job if we can’t have Dr. Hill. Just for the record, I think that Lisa Dallacqua would not be the right fit for Ray School

 

Paula Florell: I want to commend Ms. Levine for her integrity in sharing her relationship to one of the candidates, and I would respectfully like to ask you to abstain from the vote. I want to thank this council for your work for the past 2 years. To get together 12 people to accomplish anything requires a great deal of selflessness. This is the last and perhaps greatest decision you will make for the school and I hope you would make a decision that is best for our kids day 1. One that a year from now you will be able to look back on and feel satisfied.

 

Audrey McFallen: I have an issue. I first vote for Dr. Hill to be given the contract. I don’t understand why we are in this position in the first place. I see all the credits that the other candidates have. But the secrecy is something I don’t understand. Why aren’t you disclosing what has happened? That’s an issue. If you want to share, then share that information. Is there an issue that maybe is not credible? That many people are going to have problems with?

 

Karen []: My thing is why won’t we – you guys decided Dr. Hill didn’t make the cut. Nobody told why. I don’t think that was fair. 2, how did you come up with 3 Caucasian candidates and not an African American in the bunch. There is something wrong with that.

 

Jenny Wejman: I was on PSC [Principal Selection Committee]. I was in favor of Bazer. My biggest concerns are strong middle school leadership and discipline. I felt she has great answers and great vision. She wants to have more of a partnership with Shoesmith. These kids are going to come every year. That is not a one-time thing. Right now, in my opinion, there has not been success in the middle school, and that goes hand in hand with discipline. The icing on the cake for me was to see my coworkers light up when she was speaking. And because of my coworkers, who I respect. … I am proud of our teacher reps, and would be disappointed if Amy [Levine] did not vote because she votes for all teachers.

 

Stacy Horgan: Kind of piggy backing on Ms. Wejman. Shout out to the PSC for finding good candidates, Amy and Gabriel for what they have done. They have really gone above and beyond, and I think the best candidate is Beth Bazer.

 

Jim Pueymirou: I attended a lot of these meeting, and so I say really great work for the people on PSC and LSC. I think one of the things we have to deal with is we have to move forward. Right now it seems we are in limbo. A lot of us want to know, and the teachers want to know, who is going to be the leader for next year. So the LSC has to nominate and determine who will be selected. Decisions were made in the past but let’s move forward.

 

Domonique Battle: I am a parent and something has shocked me about this process is how raw this community is about race. As diverse as this community is, that really took me back. I want to say that out loud. From what I understand there was a rubric an dprocess and dr. hill was in it, but did not make the top 3. Yes, I was sad. But moving forward, we had 3 and now we have 2. If oyu look at the documents, Lisa talked a lot about herself, but Beth talked about Ray. Who we are, who we have been, and who we can be. I heard collaboration from her, and a lot of strong things about what we need in a leader. An instructional leader, who is thinking about the structure of the school, a collaborator but a decision maker in the end. I have not had a lot of conversations with parents, but knowing that Beth started talking about courageous conversations, the whole Ray community needs to move forward. Of the two candidates we have, Beth is amazing.

 

Steve Daniels: 4th grader. Thank everybody for giving so much blood sweat and time. I am grateful we have two really strong candidates. I did not expect that to be honest. Beth Bazer would be wonderful, so let’s get it done tonight.

 

Denise Hill: Just two quick things. First I am appreciative that we had the opportunity to have the forums earlier this week. I think that both candidates really did a good job of addressing how they deal with race. Lisa talked about her dissertation topic about segregation in schools so there is a lot of deep thinking about race. So I think that both candidates would come in with an orientation toward making sure we have those sorts of conversations in a deep way. I also appreciate the gravity of the situation before you. Have an eagle-eye view. This moment is bigger than us, it affects the next 20 years. Whatever great things that can happen in our society can happen in these halls. It is more than just however long the contract is. A major decision and legacy of Ray.

 

Sasha Austin Schmidt: I have been a teacher and a parent at Ray since 2001. So I have known 4 principals. I’ve been really stunned by the amount of suspicion that has attached itself to this particular principal search committee. I have been a voyeur for Bernadette Butler, Tatia Beckwith, and now this one, and I have never seen such suspicion. That makes me sad. I think the people who take this on don’t do it lightly, not with agendas. Sad that the people who have worked so hard are not getting the respect they deserve. I worry that that suspicion is going to carry forward when we get our new principal, and I don’t think that is healthy for the school. I can tell you from experience as a voyeur that this is the most thorough and participatory and open group of PSC members and LSC members.

 

Sheena Harris: I am a parent and would like to read a statement. Story about a little girl. Too many little girls and boys. Born into a community of educational crisis, Roseland, where honor student was beaten to death. School to the right, school to the left, both subject to violence. Education disrupted by schools. Inequities in public education. Meeting targets. Parents want the best for her. Let’s not have this become a Ray story too.

 

Sarah Ogeto: Parent at Ray. I thank the search committee for their efforts. I have participated to extent that I can, but I want to say I am with Ray, support Ray, and I am not sure I am convinced that the two candidates are good enough. With combined leadership less than 3 years. Bazer is pragmatic, where is her vision. We are at a critical moment in time. Also not convinced about the process being objective and transparent, representative of stakeholders. How were all parents engaged, parents who have language barriers, who don’t have internet access at home? I will support the decision that comes forth, but I encourage people to . . .

 

Cynthia Horth: I am a parent, and was on the PSC. I would just say two words about the rubric, it was based on standard things, but if you have any more questions I will explain it in person, come seeme. And the 18 members accepted this rubric. I will tell you some of the reasons why Lisa Dallacqua and Beth Bazer are outstanding candidates. Their goal about academic achievements and all child instruction. They collaborate and understand needs of children in all grades and special passion for middle school children. Both energetic and hardworking. We went to their schools and talked to their colleagues. If you want to choose between the two, Bazer is favored by teachers I know, but people her should make sure the worries they have about Dallacqua does not come from misunderstanding.

 

Sylvia E: I was on the PSC, and I want to thank the LSC for giving the parents and teachers the opportunity to chat. It was intense, they were here for more than 2 hours. It was really a parent interview. Gave us a chance to see who the candidates were. They were both clear favorites in the selection committee, including the people in the selection committee who were sitting in the current LSC. I want to say my personal favorite is Beth Bazer. When she speaks you not only know where her heart is, but that she does her homework about where her heart it. The more I hear her speak the more I like her. I also want to clear up a few misconception. Dr. Hill was considered, and I don’t want this to be a secret. I am happy to talk with anyone who wants to.

 

Don Willard: I do want to talk about the merits of Bazer and Dallacqua in executive session.

 

Tim May: I chaired the PSC, and I want to offer this to the parents in the room. This was an exhaustive process and was not taken lightly by the participants. Many spent 4 hours. There were a lot of positions, and a lot of conversations on all fronts. I would urge you to understand that when you look at it objectively, the end result is not always going to be what you want, but what the group wants. Sometimes that is hard to take, but in hindsight, whatever decision is made, we all have to row the oars. I know there were concerns about the lack of minority candidates. Given the candidates we interviewed, we picked the ones we thought were best based on our interviews. Moving forward we all need to remember that everyone has an oar and everyone has to use it.

 

Patrick Brutus: I want to address the race issue because I think it is an issue. I too am sorry that it has been raised, and it is unfortunate because it should not have been raised. We have had a flurry of emails, and thank you for that. But what we have heard is that experience matters, and I think in this case, the concerns from parents that do wonder why Dr. Hill is not a candidate are valid and necessary, and one that we should consider as we make our decision. What I have heard is that when you are looking at the will of the people who wanted change in the building, you should look at where Dr. Hill is. We should consider what we have in hand. If you are going to change the school what we have is the baseline. If what we have as the baseline is a principal with 10 years’ experience, a masters and doctorate, who has been her a year and a half, who has overcome the issues we have in terms of raising money, obtaining grants, then if we can find someone better I think… If parents are concerned that is valid, and I wanted to echo that and give balance to the opposing view.

 

Gordon Mayer: In the course of thinking about this, I do regret that Dr. Hill did not end up in the final set of folks for us to choose from, and I think that will be something we talked about in executive session. I think what it really comes down to is what you believe about education and how you believe, and what kinds of experiences you want your kids to have in school. I’ve been on this LSC longer than anybody else except Bill, and one of the things that really struck me is that we all talk about diversity at Ray and one of the things it means is that everybody always ends up not getting something they want at some point. So I just think that and would hope that as we make our decision, the decision we make is who is going to lead the school forward at this point.

 

Bill Schmidt: Seen a lot, etc. need to choose now. [Said more than this; did not write it down]

 

Kirsten: I hear a lot from the audience about not being involved, a lot of secrets. I want to be clear, there were no secrets. All these meetings were public, well-advertised, posted, on different days. I work full time, have two kids, and I want to say that if it is important to be there, you’ll be there, at the beginning, not at the end.

 

Gabriel Sheridan: I want to talk about my optimism. I am so optimistic about the future. I am glad the issue of race came up, but I truly believe that Dr. Hill was not evaluated based on race, nor were the candidates under consideration evaluated based on that. I also want to say that several of us were at a Charles Payne who spoke about trust. The achievement gap is more seen in buildings that have mistrust. I am confident that we have this amazing staff here who will not let this go, and will work to build the trust again.

 

 

Executive Session to Select Principal

 

Tim May moved and Kirsten Esterly seconded that we move into executive session. Vote was unanimous in favor.

 

Executive session commenced at 7:08 PM

 

The LSC emerged from Executive Session at 9:38

 

Public comment

 

Gordon Mayer announced that the LSC is deadlocked and has made no selection.

 

Sherry Turner: Asked for clarification of what had happened

 

Patrick Brutus: Explained that more than likely the network will retain Dr. Hill as interim principal, and that the next local school council will be seated and will have the power to hire the contract principal. He also noted that we have a technical option to send 3 candidate names to the network, but that we are also at an impasse as to which three names those would be.

 

Tim May: If the process happens again, all those people who have become interested can have their input. If we go through the process again, the Ray School community can have broad input.

 

Denise []: So just – so I can be clear, so there’s the deadlock, and you are not going to exercise the option for the network to pick from among 3 pe3opl. So if the ball goes to the next LSC, will Dallacqua and Bazer be candidates?

 

Patrick Brutus: What would happen is that we would have a vacancy, which would be the powerful position we would be leaving the next LSC with. So when the next LSC sits, July 1, we would still have a vacancy, and the job posting would have to be posted. You could not award the contract without re-posting.

 

Denise []: So I am trying to figure out – technically they would have to reapply. In that event isn’t the network.

 

Sylvia: I am quite honestly outraged. This is the worst thing you could have done. I don’t know why this is happening. You had two candidates in the top three, they were favored by you in the selection committee. I don’t know why you couldn’t send two names (correction has to be 3). If you think this process is divisive, you are putting the next LSC in a precarious position. I am tired of putting my energy into a process you guys could not finish. This is outrageous. This will happen again.  How is that better? How is that better?

 

Cynthia: Yes, you were there and you were for at least one of the two candidates and the teachers were for, so it was almost a done deal. People have been deceived this year, so what we want is going forward. People came and they said yes, whatever we decide we’ll be behind you and go together. We want all the parents and teachers to know this person. What about doing a process to find a principal in the summer? We had an interim principal and the values did not correspond to a big portion of the school. I think those two candidates were really good.

 

Alysia Tate: I with full disclosure am not one of the people who has put blood and sweat into this. What has become clear to me in this process is that there are way too many points of view. We are just not there yet. I know that is disappointing and disheartening for people who wanted this. I think this hard difficult stuff is going to make us a stronger school community. People are getting engaged in ways I haven’t seen in my time on this LSC. I hope you will be proud of what you have done to sort of advance these issues and to bring a level of honesty to these discussions.

 

There was a discussion of a potential motion that was not made.

 

Katy Gruer: I too am very disappointed. I can appreciate the realization of seeing the community getting involved from your perspective. But I think we if we don’t offer a job to Bazer or Dallacqua we will lose two outstanding candidates. The collaboration and instructional leadership and best practices they have offered is an opportunity that we are going to miss.

 

Karen []: The deadline for this is when? (June 26). Is there any way you all could convene back together? (4 LSC members can call special meeting). So say by July get the new LSC board. Why do I get the feeling that when school starts we will still have an interim principal? Kids are being affected. Parents are being affected.

 

Melinda []: I am really disappointed that you didn’t come to a decision. I saw how hard the Principal Selection Committee worked. I really think that it was just it’s just such a waste of all our hard work. Everything leads up to this. Everything we do it all leads up to this and we don’t have a decision. I really think – I agree with whoever said “what makes you think this is not going to happen again?” There was one good candidate that I really liked, and I don’t see why there are 6 people who are on the LSC who were on the PSC. Why when those 6 people helped to pick could we not come to a decision. Are we going to have a new interim, someone we don’t even know?

 

Sasha Austin Schmidt: There are two ways of thinking about what happened for us. If there were 3 candidates in contention, then that makes a lot of sense that you were deadlocked, but if there were only 2 candidates in contention it would have been nice if the person who had more votes had carried the person along. So if there were 5-2, those 2 go over for the sake of the community. You can’t always get what you want. That doesn’t make me as upset.

 

Sandy Jackson: I would like to say thank you to this local school council. I know you went through a lot of training and some very difficult processes to learn about this process and to see democracy at work. And a person who was part of drafting the LSC process, you achieved that objective. The process is working. Is it difficult, hard? We marched and screamed and hollered so it would be like this. We did not want a rubber stamp process. We wanted the process to be thoroughly exercised so that every voice, every interest, was heard. Thank you for the public service that you were not paid for. We appreciate that. Do we want a process where democracy works? It is not about what we agree, but what we respect. The candidates presented themselves, the process is not over, and that is what you are telling us. Those of us that are invested and have been here for years, will follow the process. And we will achieve an outcome.

 

Sharon: I just want to make sure I understand. So the network does not have the power to offer a contract. So did anyone ponder this thought: submitting Dr. Hill’s name, Beth Bazer’s name, and Lisa Dallacqua’s.

 

Patrick: we would need 6 votes to move that needle, and we don’t have 6 votes for that suggestion.

 

Kara: Like Sylvia I am distressed by the decision. Long term I love the idea of democracy, and I came in thinking we had a democratic system in the PSC, and I still do. I am really afraid for the incoming 8th grade. It is 1 year gone then, if we get another interim. Long term we’ll rebound, and we’ll be stronger. This summer I thought would have been critical.

 

Teeneka []: Who do we email to say can we keep Dr. Hill in place as the interim.

 

Gordon: We have contacted the network and determined that she could stay if she agrees to.

 

Terry Roback: I don’t understand what there really is to be proud of in this process, and what really concerns me is that the culture is going to seep out of this school in the body of our teachers, especially elementary teachers, who I have heard from other teachers that if there weren’t going to be another principal people have their resumes out there in large numbers to leave this school. I think that when you hear form a teacher body that they don’t want to retain the interim principal that we have, and that they don’t want to, to such an extent that they are willing to cut their losses and look elsewhere. We were at a crucial opportunity to retain and rebuild the culture of this school . I think we missed our chance.

 

Steve []: All I have to articulate is profound disappointment. I think a group such as yours for two eminently qualified people, that is your job to come up with a decision. There is no excuse. If you have lousy candidates [that’s different]. If it is not your favorite, you go along with a consensus candidate. That is your job. This has been two years. My son’s experience has been chaotic. People in the neighborhood are voting with their feet. You just made the problem worse.

 

Adjournment

 

At this point it was moved and seconded that the meeting adjourn. Vote was unanimous in favor with no abstentions.

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