Ms. Debbie Westmoreland
Amherst Pelham Regional Schools
I want to clarify the nature of my comments during the Amherst School Committee meeting of December 21. The minutes from the 12/21 meeting posted on the ARPS website characterize my comments with the following statement:
"Michael Aaronson, Amherst resident, requested that the School Committee carefully examine the contract between the current administration and UMass since someone who benefits from the contract made a statement at a School Committee meeting advocating that the current Superintendent be given the permanent position without a search."
I understand that I tend to speak quickly, so you may not have captured the intent of my comments. For that I apologize. However, the minutes as presented do not capture the tenor or complete facts of my comments.I began my comments citing verbatim from the minutes from the Regional Meeting of Sept. 22. Please note that I deliberately did not use Ms. Woodland's name in this citation.
I stated:(" ......., parent and UMass education professor, stated that she believes it is unwarranted and unwise to go forward with a Superintendent search and doing so would amount to a vote of no confidence in Ms. Geryk. She noted that she has worked with Superintendents across the state and Ms. Geryk has accomplished more in her seven months on the job than most new superintendents accomplish in three to five years. ")
I then read from the contract with Ms. Woodland that Ms. Geryk signed in July of 2010 - the first item from the "Specific activities to include" "coach the Superintendent in best practices related to leadership for curriculum instruction, and assessment (targeted reading list, online resources, one-on-one dialogue)"
I then questioned how Ms. Woodlands could possibly make her unqualified endorsement of Ms. Geryk when she was intimately aware of the nature of her personal contract signed just a few weeks prior to her comments (e.g. "coaching the superintendent," doing research for her on how to be a good superintendent,) On one hand she states she is as good as any superintendent in the state, on the other she is in need of a $96,000 contract that includes coaching in some of the basic functions of a Superintendent. I further question why the Interim Superintendent did not clarify that connection at the time of the meeting.
I then suggested that Woodland's remarks were disingenuous and that the whole incident including the contract suggested an ethical lapse that the Committee should consider when working with this administration.
I read the minutes of last night's meeting as selective at best. What they omit makes them inaccurate and misleading. While I am sure there are those who do not approve of declaring this unfortunate series of events, the fact is that I directly addressed my concerns and they are a part of the record.
That my comments are recorded in such a manner is unfortunate and should be corrected so that public comment is accurately reflected. If the synopsis provided happens to be a deliberate misrepresentation, then these minutes are as disingenuous as Ms. Woodland's proclamation of 22 September and make a mockery out of any public comments received during School Committee meetings.
Please let me know if it is necessary to return to the next Regional and Local meetings to rectify this misunderstanding of my comments. I would be happy to clarify my sentiments in more detail.
Kindly re-visit the minutes with the knowledge of what is provided here. Public records, in my judgement should be accurate.
Have a pleasant holiday break.
(Kindly note my name is spelled with one "A")
ARPS School Committee meeting minutes from 12/21/10
My original background report