Saturday, February 16, 2008

Granite Falls school superintendent search falters.

The school board decides to pass on three finalists

GRANITE FALLS -- The search for a new Granite Falls School District superintendent has hit a snag. The Granite Falls School Board couldn't find the right match among three finalist candidates Wednesday night.

"The board wants to be sure the right person is hired," said Siobhan Sullivan, the school board president. "We take our responsibility for hiring the superintendent position very seriously and after careful consideration, decided we need to continue our search.

"In a press release, school district officials said: "After thorough research and listening to all involved parties -- students, community, staff, administrators, union leadership -- the board did not feel the three final candidates met the board's expectations and goals.

"The board will meet with search consultant Wayne Robertson next week to figure out the next step. "The whole range of options are on the table," Robertson said. That would include continuing a search with different candidates or hiring an interim superintendent for next year while the board does another full-blown search.

Granite Falls received a dozen applications to replace Superintendent Joel Thaut, who is retiring in June. It whittled the list to three finalists, all with Snoho­mish County ties. They were Ken Limon (pictured above), an assistant superintendent with the Edmonds School District; Robert Manahan, executive director for teaching and learning in Lake Stevens; and Christine Burgess, a former Lake Stevens administrator and superintendent for the East Valley School District in Spokane.

Robertson said all three have solid credentials. "They want somebody who can do it all," he said. "These are good candidates. They are people who will get jobs. It's all about fit and chemistry.

"Kathy Grant, a school district spokeswoman, said the five-member board just wants to get the right match for Granite Falls, even if it means taking more time. Three board members have served more than 10 years and four have hired a superintendent before. "They are a cohesive board," she said. "They are going to want to sit down and talk about it."

Editorial: Finally, a school board that takes their job seriously. This article appeared in the Herald.

12 comments: said...

For the record, I am not saying Ken is, or is not qualified to be a superintendent. That is a matter to be decided by others.

This article is important because it shows that other school boards listen to their community and make decisions that are in the best interest of their unique school district.

Anonymous said...

We have lived and voted in the Edmonds School District for 35 years. We have always supported their levy requests. This year we intend to vote NO unless some real changes occur at their headquarters. That includes telling the truth. We feel like we are being treated like real saps right now.

Anonymous said...

It appears that even his good friend Wayne Robertson could not help him. I think that the Edmonds School District could take lessons from this small community. Granite Falls is smart enough to know that you do not bite the hand that feeds you. Granite Falls cares about the EDUCATION of the children in their community.

Anonymous said...

when someone is apart of a lie & do nothing about it. Watch & learn what happens to these people.
This will be better than any reality tv. Maybe, we all should watch this disappearing act.
Agian thank you

Anonymous said...

To the Union leaders & District leaders
This district has never lost a single greivance.
I think its time for change.
The employees of this district just want a better work environment & a safe place to work.

Anonymous said...

We may not have won a grievances but it was fun rattling the cage!

Anonymous said...

You can't fight to win grievances when you may bee hoping for a management job sometime. Just look at custodial services.

Anonymous said...

You seem to have a larger sense of self-worth than the rest of us have toward your performance. Did all this "cage rattling" of the administration have any effect on their salaries?

Anonymous said...

To rattling the cage: Yes I did do that. Why is the question. The answer, is I wanted to see how fair the district was. This place I work at is totally unfair. That, is the Edmonds School District way!

Thanks HR

Anonymous said...

From cage rattler: I always feel that even when a bargaining group looses a grievance they have brought it forward and the district can't say we didn't know. I have also found that sometimes its a win win situation because we can come up with solutions to a situation and it works for both the district and the employee. You don't always have to "win" to really win! It an opportunity to enlightn the district and I love rattling the cage it shows the district that we are watching and are not just sitting back and letting them walk all over our union members. Our members let that happen for too long but not any more!

Anonymous said...

"Solutions to a situation and it works for both the district and the employee"?

Puhleeze. I'm sorry; that doesn't hold water with my experience. The district holds all the cards and they play the union to make it look like the union has something to do.

That's why Limon came to MMS and precisely what he said after I was removed from my classroom and put on administrative leave. He announced that the district would do "What's best for everyone," was the exact line that he used. And Dan Wilson stood at his side.

Recall also that this meeting was annonunced Friday at 2:17 (generally a time of inattention by everybody in the building as the kids are thinking only of getting out of the building) over the PA system as "Dr. Limon and Dan Wilson will be in the drama room after school for a meeting." No tag line of "Sorry for the short notice but all staff should be there," or "The e-mail from Monday morning will be the topic," or "They are here to discuss faculty concerns over the events of Monday." My name needn't have been mentioned where students could hear it. It was designed to be a stealth meeting; no prior warning, no subject or reason for the meeting was given; just something where they could say, "well, we went to the school to meet with the faculty." Never mind that the short notice would limit the input from faculty.

As it was, very few people went to the meeting because they did't think it concerned them. Chris (my wife) was one of the few who had an idea of what it might be about and gave a heads-up to a couple of other faculty members. There was no mention of the treatment that I had endured or the bullying of students that I had witnessed that had prompted the e-mail. In fairness, Limon didn't know about that; I HAD mentioned it to Wilson in an e-mail prior to sending the e-mail to Bradshaw (I have that e-mail to Wilson).

Limon's message, "what's best for everybody," could be more appropriately called "doing what's best to cover our butts."

Eight months earlier, I had warned Limon in an e-mail (I still have THAT e-amil) that if the bullying treatment of me and others did not stop, I would hold him, as supervisor, responsible. I had communicated with Wilson for over two years (I have THOSE e-mails, too) that there was something wrong with the way Houser was running the building. I had complained about how Bradshaw mistreated people. I had used the term "bullying" with both Limon and Wilson to describe the behaviors of Houser and Bradshaw. I was the cage rattler; I was the threat. I had to be eliminated.

So the district, in the person of Mr. Limon, chose the course of "what's best for everybody." Stripped of it's public facade, I was fired, Bradshaw was fired, and Houser was put on a year's leave. These were publicly covered by a resignation for "personal and health reasons," moving on to another job, and a wonderful opportunity with a private sector education firm, respectively.

One year later, after we had heard through the grapevine that he would not be offered an administrative position at the end of his leave, Houser turned up as a finalist for the assistant superintendent in charge of teaching and learning. (Perhaps the District was playing Houser; who knows?) The guy who serially bullied three staff members, had targeted at least two more, and allowed the bullying of several others by Bradshaw, the guy who spent three years restricting us from giving students the rigorous curriculum that he publicly exhorted us to provide, National History Day, was being considered for the head of teaching and learning. Kafka lives in Edmonds.

The honest "solution" that WOULD have worked best for both the district and the employee would have been to 1) require the district to apologize to me for failing to take my warnings seriously and leaving me, as well as STUDENTS and other faculty, vulnerable to continued professional, personal, and psychological attacks and place a letter in my employment file to that effect; 2) I would apologize to Bradshaw for being put in the position where I felt that I had no other recourse but to send the e-mail to her requesting that she stop bullying me (BTW: I HAD tried to confront this issue professionally, in private, a year before but had been unkindly rebuffed by both Houser and Bradshaw); 3) pay those staff members who were bullied or harassed out of the building under Houser a years salary, making the correct contribution to their pension fund, too; 4) review district policies on bullying, harassment, retaliation, and reporting; 5) require the union to forward any bullying reports they receive to HR for follow-up (HR and union should institute policies to coordinate their efforts to eliminate bullying from Edmonds School District); 6) place letters of reprimand in Houser's and Bradshaw's employment files with the strict warning that if they renewed these bullying behaviors toward ANYONE during their continued employment by the district, they would be fired (I NEVER asked that anyone be fired over their actions, just be responsible for them); 7) place a letter of reprimand in Limon's file for failing to follow-up on the bullying charges I made to him in June '05; 8) file a report with WEA stating that Wilson and Dave Woods failed to protect a union member from bullying and harassment; and 9) find out who cancelled the scheduled meeting with HR in June '05 where I would have been reported the bullying and where, possibly, this whole mess could have been dealt with in a more professional manner and stopped sooner.

These are the recommendations that I think would honestly "work for both the district and the employee."

Are they too much to ask for?

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