Thursday, October 09, 2008

The ESC is just another high school.

Thank you for the report on the School Board Meeting. I completely understand your stance on personal attacks; in an ideal world everyone would rise above the tactic and stick to the issues at hand. However, the Edmonds leadership DOES take everything personally and will not admit to ever being wrong. The behavior is almost adolescent in nature. Working at the District offices is like being in High School all over again. Personal attacks are the only kind of language they understand.

Staff has very good reason not to be vocal. Any dissent from the party line will get you passed over for promotion or worse, constructively terminated. Mark Zandberg is not the first person at the District to be targeted for speaking out about mismanagement. The difference is that Mark stands steadfast while others left with their “head held high” and did not have the wherewithal to try to effect change.

Every day staff has to bear witness to this and much more. There is sheer incompetency breaching on stupidity, lack of dedication, favoritism and blatant time fraud. It’s more than frustrating to work with these individuals, it is demoralizing. Taking jabs at them is a way to let out the pressure that builds day after day. It’s a wonder no one has gone “postal.” To add insult to injury staff also have to endure the turf wars and pissing matches. One often wonders if we all work for the same employer.

The fact that there is a blog, no matter the content, should make Nick Brossoit take notice and care that something fundamentally is wrong in the organization he leads. Everyone remains anonymous because deep down we have no hope that he or any of his staff will act like responsible adults.



Rick Jorgensen said...

Excellent Article and unfortunately all to true. I'd like to ask a question.....

If the board were to create an independent panel of that could listen to these kinds of complaints and raise issues while protecting the people bringing the issues to the table, would you support it and contribute?

If such a commission were to exist, who would be "trustworthy candidates" for the position that the Board could accept as unbiased and would keep your confidence?

I'd like to propose such a solution to the board next week but need your input. We should propose 6-12 candidates and ask them to choose 3 from that list.

Anonymous said...

I nominate Mark Zandberg. Do I hear a second?

All Aye?

Rick Jorgensen said...

While I also would like to see Mark in that position, the truth is that he would not be seen by ALL parties as unbiased. That's the trick here. Enough names that are truly independent is what will work here.

Love the blog and the work Mark does but he would not really be the best choice.

Of course -- *I* don't get to pick - let's get a BUNCH of names up there!

Anonymous said...

In favor of. said...

That stings a little. Perhaps I should run for the school board then.

Maybe Pat's pet project will start paying rent by then - or be on their third new name to avoid the obligation.

Rick Jorgensen said...


Personally, I think you SHOULD run for the Board. You would be VERY effective.

BTW - I'm not implying that you are unbiased - just that there is the perception on the administration that you are not "their first choice". We still need lots of names to suggest.....

Anonymous said...

I made a suggestion to Nick that the District Labor Managment Group be used as a way to vent in an anonymous way. When the DLMG was started it was suppose to work on issues amoung the bargaining groups. It has lost its meaning over the years. When it was first started we could talk about how employees were being treated. That quickly was shut down because it was stated that was not the format for those kinds of complaint. Soon after it just became a group meeting turning into the safety committee and doing other little projects. Don't know if something like that would work then of course members would actual have to attend.

I like the idea of a group but I think it would be hard because those using the blog may be afraid that the conversations at those meetings would get out and put their jobs on the line. I mean many people are even afraid to use the tip line because it my not be anonymous after all. Scary!

Through the eyes of Linda H

Anonymous said...

Remember when the Grape Vine publication use to just appear. I remember how upset the district would get reading some of the articles about how the district was run. It has not changed all that much.

Anonymous said...

Are you looking for anyone who reads the Blog, i.e. ESD employees, ESD retiree's, general public, like parents and all taxpayers? I would contact Allan Weiss, retired Principal, Edmonds Woodway High Principal. I hope you can pull this one off!

Anonymous said...

Rick: There have been many departments who have hired “Management Consultants” come in and conduct workshops to try fix the system. The sessions were little more than “complaint” sessions (although a more colorful phrase would work better here). After all that was said and done, the leadership remains dismissive and unchanged in their behavior. I firmly believe there should be a thorough cleaning of the house: Marla should be fired and Nick’s contract not renewed.

Anonymous said...

I asked my husband, who retired two years ago from the Edmonds School District, if he had ever seen "retaliation" in regards to a whistleblower in a school. He said, "Are you kidding? Principals retaliate all the time--by writing a less then complimentary recommendation, by passing you over for promotion as a department head, by overloading your classes with difficult children, by not selecting you to travel to select conferences, by coming into your room to "observe" your teaching five minutes before the bell rings to go home on a Friday afternoon. Principals have been known to do "get even" a lot."

Anonymous said...

There are others whose actions should be evaluated, as well. An organization that is as infected by bullies (and their minions) as this one is will need serious work to get it back to a healthy, productive, competent and qualified state. Removing two people from the top will not be enough. Ask a qualified management consultant.

Anonymous said...

There could not be a truer statement. The Esc should be the sixth district high school. the folks in charge as Supt Staff, Directors and Supervisors, remind me of the kids who lead clicks in the schools. They are the ones who mistreat you if you are the wrong race, neighborhood, family or you wear clothes that are not stylish. Remember when these things kept you off of the sports teams and other activities, even if you were good or in some instances the best for the position. Injustice was the theme of the day, then and now. The Directors at the ESC promote an atmosphere of hate and those on the hate list can expect to be hated to the highest degree with the director of the dept. giving their full blessings. But let's not forget the schools also experience this type of treatment. There are some office managers who are mistreatd by their supervisors even when going through the grief of losing a child. Some office manager have been mistreated and let go, because an incoming Principal, was told things about the person and formed a judgement without getting to know the person for themselves. Nick your Staff is responsible for these folks in charge of the Schools, and I would like to know, who is holding the building Principals acccountable? There needs to be an evaluations of the Building Principals, done by the building teachers and support staff, WITHOUT RETALIATION. If this could be done, I think you would find that more than half of your Principals would not be in the schools. Nick the support staff in each department need an outlet to share their frustrations and anger. There is so much going on in the ESC from folks getting paid for overtime not deserved, folks leaving early when their supervisor leave, folks taking 1 to 3 hour lunches, folks playing games on the computers with their Supervisor's knowledge, and DIRECTORS allowing support staff to openly mistreat and disrespect other staff members. There is a lot of abuse and some folks are mistreated by staff members openly and it is condoned by their Supervisors. Some Supervisors at the ESC discuss support staff with other co-workers in the department. Directors allow this behavior and join with the group with high fives and posters of support.

Nick you have a golden opportunity to change the current climate. The Directors and Supervisors you have in charge need some stiff mandated direction from YOU. Not from Marla, Debby, Tony, Ellen, Sue and Ken, because they are part, if not most of the problem. YOU need to step up to the plate and hit a homerun out of the park. ARE READY FOR CHANGE? NOW IS YOUR CHANCE.

Anonymous said...

To the wife of the retired teacher: we saw all of those behaviors at MMS.

Is it too much to actually "model appropriate behavior" as suggested by state law? (Remember there are no teeth in the state bullying law)Imagine what it would be like to work in an Edmonds School District where people behaved respectfully toward each other. Do you think that you would have the best and brightest workers around knocking down your door to work there rather than running away to save their sanity?

Anonymous said...

Thank you to the writer of the article about mis-treatment of Office Managers by principals. I worked for 4 Principals throughout a 24 year time frame, then a new Principal was hired. He did not ask me to meet with him to go over his expectations of me, and how he wanted the office run. I had no idea of how to please this guy; I had no direction from him except when I did something he didn't "like", then he would write me a "warning" e-mail, there was never any one-on-one conversations. I eventually called in my union representative to arrange a meeting with the Principal, hoping that he would talk to me, let me know his expectations, and answer my questions. This meeting produced NO results; in fact this just seemed to "ire" him. I was given a less-than-perfect evaluation, then was placed on "probabtion", and eventually, was forced to leave the building after 25 years of service to the community and kids. I have heard about other District Office Managers who have been treated as "dust under one's feet". I have lost a child and know of several employees who are still working who have gone through personal tragic losses and have had to endure less-than- perfect work conditions, have not been shown the respect, and compassion, they deserve as they atemept to work at a peak performance while still mourning their losses. We are all human beings, we cannot predict life's happenings; we just do our best and pray for cooperation at work. This does not happen at some buildings in the Edmonds Schoool District. The
ESC is a different story if you know the "right person". A good Superintendent would get off his "Herman Miller chair" and get out into the community and visit schools on a regular basis, get to know the employees, listen to the issues and questions of said employees, and take action. We had this "modeling" with Superintendents Hal Reasby and Brian Benzel. What has happened to a once FINE School District?

Anonymous said...

We will be attending an International Teachers March in Washington, DC this Saturday. This is organized by EPIC (Educators for Progressive Instructional Change). Several thousand educators are expected to attend. Basic principles (CAPS indicate primary issue in Edmonds)of the organization are:
* Every teacher must be given greater power to influence policies that impact their ability to teach
* Every teacher must be compensated to reflect their worth to society
* Every teacher must have the best resources to teach on the highest level
* The teaching profession must be significantly elevated so that children can reach their fullest potential
* Every teacher deserves the highest respect for nurturing and guiding the children of the world

While this effort is directed at teachers, Chris and I understand that the same goals apply for ALL school district employees. No one deserves to be treated like dirt. Psychological issues that can be stirred up by this treatment can by formidable. Loss of financial capacity can also be devastating.

Someone commented recently on the blog that they were surprised that there had been no "road rage" incidents in the ESC. We are concerned; when we tried to make it known that victims of this behavior are 5 times more likely to harm themselves than the bully, Limon slapped us with the "no trespass" order. Truth hurts, I guess. Ken, silencing us doesn't change the depth of the behavior that we endured or that others are obviously still enduring. You are still creating psychological issues for your workers.

In all honesty, how do any of you sleep at night? (Don't get whacked out again and think that's a threat; it's just that I can't comprehend how anyone can behave toward others in this way and still be able to look at themselves in the mirror.)