Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Amherst School Super $earch: The drama continues...

UPDATE: Saturday 1:25 PM

The Springfield Republican reports


UPDATE 1/20/11 8:00 PM


So the venerable Amherst Bulletin went to bed late this week trying to keep up with this fast moving story, and at the very least they conjured up an adequate above-the-fold headline "...as controversy swirls around the search process." Indeed.

Center-of-the-storm Amherst School Committee member (and fellow blogger) Catherine Sanderson recently posted why these new developments make her "Disappointed in our community."

And I could not agree more. For almost 30 years I have watched the well organized "insiders" take advantage of voter apathy in our local elections and use fear and intimidation to squelch dissent.

Fortunately for us, Ms. Sanderson is not a wuss.

The Bulletin Reports

########################################
ORIGINAL POST 1/19/11 12:15 PM

From: Julia Rueschemeyer
To: Amherst Regional School Committee
Sent: Wed, Jan 19, 2011 11:44 am
Subject: Concerning campaign to undermine the search process

I am writing to inform the Committee of how disappointed I was to receive the following bulk email encouraging me to support Maria Geryk for superintendent. Please note that I received this email before the outside candidates have even had the chance to meet and speak to the community. This email calls into question the candidate’s willingness to relocate to Amherst. Certainly not something to be assessed simply from their resumes. It indicates to me that there is a well-orchestrated, deliberate campaign to subvert the selection process and keep Maria Geryk in control of the schools at all costs.

I am concerned that Jennifer Welborn, a District teacher, appears to be leading the charge to promote her current boss (who impacts her evaluations, work policy, promotion, etc.) This seems to be an extreme conflict of interest. Further, promoting her agenda to parents who might have students in her class, and might fear retaliation for a differing viewpoint, is also tremendously problematic. It would be one thing to write a letter expressing her personal opinion directly to the School Committee, but it is highly inappropriate to participate in an organized effort to recruit others to write on Maria’s behalf.

This campaign is being conducted by email blast, largely by, and directed at, affluent, white parents. Therefore the letters received by the school committee about candidates will be dominated by this socioeconomic group, disenfranchising other segments. It is also an effort to specifically thwart two outside candidates with significant expertise and experience with students of color, and is directly in conflict our critical District goal of social justice, our desire to have all segments of the community participate equally in the process.

The public opinion process had already been damaged by Maria’s releasing her name in the newspaper before the Search Committee announced the finalists, creating more press coverage for her than for any of the others. This campaign further corrupts the community responses.

If Maria were to be selected by the School Committee these actions will forever taint her appointment. People will always assume that she was hired not because she was the best candidate, but because she had the backing of the Amherst political machine.

I hope that the School Committee can rise above these political tactics, and make the right decision on the individual merits of each candidate, and what is best for the children in the school system.

Julia Rueschemeyer
##############################################

From diana@spurginfamily.com
Sent: Mon, January 17, 2:00 PM

Please read the letter below from Jennifer Welborn, a well-respected member of our teaching community, and contact our school committee members to (1) Delay the appointment decision (for at least a couple of days, instead of the currently planned couple of hours) after the last interview to allow for public input and thorough consideration of this extremely important appointment, and 2) indicate your preference for a candidate - and I am endorsing Maria Geryk for the same reasons as Jennifer - she has a proven track record in Amherst, she has roots here, and she has the support of our teachers. Please join Jennifer and me in urging our School Committee to come to the rational decision to not gamble on another potentially transient superintendent!

PS - As I was selecting you to receive this email I got the all-call from the school delaying tomorrow's start of the interviews due to the threatening weather forecast. That renders some of this message moot but it still is a good message to sent to the school committee to take their time, take the time to get public input, and make their time well spent by picking the best candidate. Many thanks for YOUR time!

Here's Ms. Welborn's message:

From: Jennifer Welborn Sent: Monday, January 17, 2011 5:30 Here is a copy of the letter I am sending to all members of the school committees. Feel free to copy/use as you wish and/or forward to other people.

I am writing to you with regards to the upcoming school committee vote for the next superintendent of the Amherst-Pelham Regional School system. I am: an Amherst resident; the mother of two children in the public schools and a teacher at the middle school. As a member of the aforementioned 3 different groups of people in town, I believe I have my finger on the pulse of both the community and at the very least, the teaching staff at the middle school.

Both my children are very active in the schools, in sports, and in the community so I am out and about every minute that I am not planning and grading! Everywhere I go, people--even people who do not have children in the public schools- talk about the need for STABILITY, CONTINUITY and COMMITMENT in addition to the skills and experience needed to cope with the challenging job of being a superintendent in our system.

Unfortunately, as you know, the superintendency has been somewhat of a revolving door the past few years. Of the three candidates, I believe that Maria Geryk is the one who shows the most promise of providing the long-term stability, in addition to the requisite skills and experience, (which she has ALREADY DEMONSTRATED) of leadership that we sorely need at this point.

I am sure, after reading the bios of the other two candidates, that they are fine men, with abilities and experience that may well be valuable and helpful to our system. I am not convinced, however, that either one of them, would/could commit to the position over the long haul.

I, and a plethora of other people (parents, community members, other teachers) believe we do not need to appoint someone from the outside, who will take at least 6 months to learn the ropes and get traction.

We need someone who already knows this community, has ALREADY demonstrated skill and expertise (Maria has successfully stepped up to the challenge two times now) and who is committed to staying for awhile and working with all stake holders to improve the schools. Thank you for taking the time to read this email.

Jennifer Welborn

173 comments:

Roach patrol said...

Who's been right about ~them~ all these years?


Who is the REAL hero in all this?


Can you say: "Gibber" aka "Roach Patrol"?


Yeah, I knew you could.


Now, stop them... cold.

Anonymous said...

Uh, this is what is known as democracy. People can let their wishes by made known to their SC representatives. They can also urge others who agree with them to also let their SC representatives know how they feel. If Ms. Rueschmeyer supports either Dr. Kohn or Dr. Bayless, she can make this known to the SC and she can also urge others to do the same.

This is not subverting the process. It is the democratic process. In the end, many on the SC will vote for whomever they want and not listen one whit to their constituents. In my mind, that is a subversion of the democratic process more worrisome than politicking for the finalist you like.

For myself, I have decided not to make a decision until I have heard the candidates presentations. At that point, I will support someone and let the SC know who that someone is. I will also urge others to support that person.

One last point. I am disappointed that Ms. Rueschmeyer is trying to make this a black/white, rich/poor issue. It is a false dichotomy to suggest that if you support Maria Geryk you do not support trying to solve the achievement gap. That if you are for Maria you are rich and white or do not support and/or acknowledge the needs of minorities or poor and if you are for one of the other two finalists you are black or poor or support the needs of minorities or poor. She has the right to her opinion but in my opinion, those comments are more than a bit over the top.

LarryK4 said...

At least she signed her name to those comments.

Ed said...

I posted the link and quotes from the state ethics commission, but they appear to have vanished.

http://www.state.ma.us/ethics

This is a slam-dunk ethics violation.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, not sure why a Comment or two vaporizes (previously it was because they were too long) Could have been a HTML thing.
#######################

Ed has left a new comment on your post "Amherst School Super Search: The drama continues....":

I am writing [in the capacity of] ... a teacher at the middle school.

This is a clear violation of the state ethics law -- she doesn't just imply, she clearly states that she is writing in the capacity of a public employee.

You may not ever disclose confidential information, data or material which you gained or learned as a public employee. The email addresses of parents is confidential information which she obtained as a public employee (Larry doesn't have them) - and using the data yourself is considered to be the same thing.

...you may not take any action that could create an appearance of impropriety... Enough said?

You may not use your official position to obtain unwarranted privileges, or any type of special treatment, for yourself or anyone else. She is using her official position to obtain privileges for Maria G.

(888) 485-4766 -- and you can file anonymous complaints and if you use a payphone, they definitely will have no idea who you are -- particularly if it is, say, one down to the Holyoke Mall.

Larry, are you going to file the complaint?

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:31 here

And when I write to the SC I will sign my name, just as Julie did in writing to the SC.

Anonymous said...

The teachers should keep their mouths shut and do their jobs. This process, frankly, has nothing to do with them.

LarryK4 said...

Anon: 1:31 and 2:00 PM:

Very brave of you.

I will be sure to request of the SC all such communications (from this time/date stamped moment forward) under Public Documents Law, and publish them here.

Maybe I'll even have your name appear in BOLD. Since obviously you are not.

Anonymous said...

Larry, would you mind telling us how you got this letter from Julie Rauschemeyer to the S.C.? Surely you didn't have time to obtain it through Public Documents Law...

LarryK4 said...

Sure.

I have ultra-reliable sources (pleural) who know damn well that if they forward something to me for publication (because it is INDEED a public document) North Koreans could hold flamethrowers to my head and I would not rat them out.

Anonymous said...

OK, so obviously it is an S.C. member.

I'm sure glad Catherine Sanderson has decided not to post anything negative... on HER blog.

LarryK4 said...

Or possibly one of the trusted persons any one of 11 SC members could have forwarded it to, or the trusted person THAT person forwarded it to or...

My theory is if you send an email to two or more public officials (thus making it a Public Document) expect it to become public.

And with the 'Power of the Blog,' expect it to become available VERY QUICKLY.

Anonymous said...

ri-i-i-ght. could've been anyone.

you see, anon 2:39, if you "forward it to larry" you're a courageous, "ultra-reliable source", not a "cowardly, anon nitwit" like you and me.

Anonymous said...

startin' to see how this works?

LarryK4 said...

Spoken like true Cowardly Anon Nitwits.

Anonymous said...

let's see, of the 11 s.c. members, who is online all the time doing this b.s. and would "forward something to larry for publication"?

hmmm... maybe kristen luschen? no... got it -- irv! hmmm, no... i know, it was rob spence. well, no, probably not, i mean he's hardly present at the s.c. meetings, never mind take the time to "forward it to larry for publication." let's see... kip fonsch? doubt it...

i don't know, i don't seem to be getting anywhere with this. i guess we'll never know. gee.

i'm just happy that that "other" blog isn't posting anything, negative OR positive, about any of the candidates.

LarryK4 said...

Actually they did not forward it to me with a "request" for publication (But they probably new I would instantly recognize the News value and have the balls to publish.)

And YOU seem to spend a lot of time online.

Anonymous said...

Just curious. Is anyone else concerned that Gerald Kohn has been "let go", before completion of his contracts, from the last 2 districts that he worked for? Or that he then went on to sue said districts for compensation/reinstatement (one as recently as the last 60 days)? I googled both outside candidates. The info that came up quickly about Bayless was all rather positive and encouraging. The info that came up for Kohn causes me concern. We have certainly had enough drama here and paid out too much $$ to the wrong person (Arod) already. At this point, I only have an open mind toward 2 candidates and one of them is not Kohn.

Anonymous said...

Larry, Good post. I agree that we have a problem in town when a bureaucracy's employees are the most vocal advocates for their boss' promotion.

This is especially true when you have a boss who is prone to writing big checks to friends - either as consultants to teach her how to do her $140K job, or as administrative buddies she hired just to be nice and now earn $100K++ salaries for doing very little.

Geryk's most active behind the scenes boosters have a lot to lose if she leaves the job and competence rather than loyalty becomes the operative principal in the district.

Kudos to Reuschemeyer - and thanks.

We need to move to a meritocracy in this community if we are ever going to clean up our schools.

Anonymous said...

The (Leverett) Select Board also asked that the search be terminated and the members of the school committee "who implemented this flawed search resign."

Now that's funny.

Anonymous said...

put down your torches and pitchforks people!Since when did teachers, who are also taxpayers in our town, surrender their rights to participate in democracy and express their feelings to their friends in an email?

The fact that someone else took this letter, forwarded it, and then someone else who received it forwarded it to the SC/this blog is the ultimate electronic game of telphone. However, it does nothing to undermine the right to free speech by any teacher (or police officer, or librarian, or firefighter, or town hall secretary).

I love it when Amherst's failure to really understand, accept and embrace human rights is exposed. Charges of ethics violations, in this case, seem inappropriate, mean-spirited and wrong.

~ A.N.W.

LarryK4 said...

Funny indeed, Anon 4:31 PM

Yeah, maybe somebody should go to the next Amherst Select Board meeting and ask during Public Comment/Question Period if the venerable Amherst SB could respond to the Leverett SB--a Hilltown that represents roughly 5% of the Region's total $28 million budget (of which Amherst pays about 75%).

Talk about the tail wagging the dog (or more like a flea on the tail.)

Anonymous said...

This is an example, on all sides (including Larry's and whoever it is he relies on for this kind of inflammatory source material), of not letting the process work. We're so busy flame throwing... at teachers (who very much have a stake in this decision); an administrator who stepped in twice amidst incredible divisiveness to steer a rudderless ship; school committee members who invest a tremendous amount of time and energy on behalf of the community; the candidates for leadership in the district, who haven't even been given a chance to be heard before opinions are being generated about them; and on and on.... What's wrong with us? Really. Why do we need to be so fractious? What's to be gained from it? Can't we all just calm down, resist the temptation to agitate the situation, avail ourselves of appropriate channels for communicating our opinions and begin readying ourselves to support whatever decision gets made? Because there's a school system to be led and kids to be educated and regardless of who gets hired that's what most needs focusing on right now, not our own long lists of petty preferences and personal resentments.

Joel said...

As often happens, people are focusing on tone, process, and, if you can believe it, free speech rights, rather than the content of Julia Rueschemeyer's letter about the way a teacher has inserted herself into this process.

That teacher has an absolute right to say what she pleases about this search. No one doubts that. But, she's a teacher (from what I hear a popular one) in a small town. The point is that she isn't showing very good judgement by inserting herself in this. Yes, she's a parent and a taxpayer, but she has an obligation to keep her mouth shut about an essentially political matter involving the hiring of her boss.

During the last SC election, a Middle School teacher put up an anti-Rob Spence Facebook page. Maria Geryk refused to do anything about it because of that teacher's rights. Again, she does have the right to do that, but she showed horrible judgement and frankly proved herself to be someone who shouldn't be teaching children.

Teachers are employees of the system and subordinates of the superintendent. Most of us don't have a direct voice in picking our bosses. They're allowed to politic however they please, but they really shouldn't. As teachers they should know it's important to show better judgement and keep their opinions on this matter to themselves.

I, for one, am very uncomfortable with the public campaign for Geryk. She is profoundly unqualified, so I can only assume the teachers want her because she'll never ask them to do anything they don't want to do.

Anonymous said...

"She is profoundly unqualified, so I can only assume the teachers want her because she'll never ask them to do anything they don't want to do."

Perhaps it is globally insulting comments like that that make teachers in this community feel the need to speak their mind in the way Ms. Wellborn has. And she isn't just a popular teacher, Joel, she is a tremendously accomplished one with VERY high standards for both her own work and the work of her students. But blowhards like you, with their advanced degrees and single minded attitudes about who is and who is not qualified for what wouldn't be able to notice or value that, because it might just counter your myopic view that teachers' only stake in the hiring of the educational leader of their district is to insure that as little as possible will be asked of them. Perhaps that's how it works in the professorial realm with you higher educated folks, but in my experience with real teachers in the trenches with real kids engaged in real learning it is just not the case.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:46

Clearly you don't like Joel's point of view. But the reality is that when you compare the ACCOMPLISHMENTS, EDUCATION, and EXPERIENCE of the three finalists, Ms. Geryk is the outlier. (You do the math and figure out what I mean by "outlier.")

Joel makes some good points - not the least of which is that while teachers and administrators have every right to speak their views, it is inappropriate for them to be part of a campaign to hire their boss.

Imagine what would happen should one of Ms. Wellborn's colleagues publicly advocate for an alternative to Geryk.

There is NO DOUBT that some of the staff in Amherst find Geryk as deficient as some of her more public detractors.

Yet you, ANON 7:46, don't see them speaking out. Why ? Real fear of retribution from the pro-Geryk faction.

It is an open secret that Geryk's supporters in the system are well taken care of. Just look at the ranks of SPED department adminstrators, administrative staff she has hired and again - do the math.

The reason Joel and I object to Ms. Wellborn's efforts to coordinate support for Geryk is among other things the insidious impact it has on staff. If staff want to make their views known they should call their SC members - rather than set up nasty facebook pages or try to synthesize a groundswell of emails from other staff.

Anonymous said...

@ anon jan 19th 3:45pm:

yes, thank you, that does concern me! hopefully, now that the weather and some s.c. members' travel needs have slowed things down a bit, more will come out about his previous firings.

btw, i have heard from some ultra-reliable sources that he has been let go from his previous THREE superintendent positions.

Anonymous said...

who was it that said the other day something about leverett "calling the process into question", and if M.G. doesn't get the position to "expect the howling to begin"?

well, expect the howling to begin if she DOES get the position.

Joel said...

Hmm. Yes, you know I have advanced degrees because I use my name when I post. In which school do you teach?

Maria Geryk has never been a school principal. She has almost none of the qualifications of any of the past Amherst superintendents. She wouldn't make the shortlist for any other job. (DIdn't manage to in Granby - Granby!) And, no, we aren't so unique that we can only have someone who has lived here in charge of our schools.

Apart from flaming people, can you defend teachers trying to hire their boss? Can you defend Geryk's very thin cv? Can you defend the Leverett SB trying to scuttle the search because a Leverett resident wasn't in lock step with them? Can you defend Geryk leaking to the press she was a finalist when that information was embargoed? Can you defend the way she was appointed for 16 months when the appointment wasn't even on the SC agenda for that night? Can you defend her handing out huge consulting contracts to UMass faculty and then having those UMass faculty award teaching positions to Amherst Schools administrators?

The Amherst schools have real problems and flaming Julia or me or anyone else who raises those problems and making out every teacher to be Mother Teresa no matter how inappropriately they behave doesn't help improve a school system with buildings not meeting AYP and a population increasingly opting for charter and private schools.

There's cheerleading and there's leadership. We have way too much of the former and way too little of the latter in this town.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:45

Why don't you tell us which districts they were and why he was dismissed ?

Maybe he was hired to clean up a bloated and corrupt system like that we have here. Maybe the School Committees in those towns got co-opted by teacher's unions that didn't like reform... then decided to remove the engines of change to preserve their privilege.

Why don't you have the guts to go to the meeting tomorrow at 8 am and ask him about his past ?

Or do you just want to slam him cowardly and anonymously on this blog.

You want to know why some of us dislike the status quo ?

Look in the mirror.

Anonymous said...

joel, see a counselor, will ya?

Ed said...

From the email:

From: Jennifer Welborn Sent: Monday, January 17, 2011 5:30 Here is a copy of the letter I am sending to all members of the school committees. Feel free to copy/use as you wish and/or forward to other people.

It would seem to me that Ms. Welborn blindcopied in all the parents in her email -- which is a very big difference between simply exercising her right to write to the committee (legal) and using a list of email addresses she obtained as a public employee/teacher (illegal).

And then who knows whom Ms. Rueschemeyer might have blindcopied, and/or which addresses she might have typed wrong. Lots of email goes to the wrong addressee....

(At one point, anyone at UMass who used a comma instead of a period in any UM address (ie joecollege@student,umass,edu -- a copy went to me -- and you would be amazed at what I got...)

I know we want to hate people but folks, as someone who has had more stuff leaked to me over the years than any of you can imagine, it almost inevitably is NOT the person everyone thinks it was. The leak of the BBall players' grades to the Globe is a classic example...

Anonymous said...

If Maria Geryk is hired for the permanent position, there will be no "howling". Catherine Sanderson has promised she will embrace Maria if she is chosen, and her miniscule group of rich white friends will do whatever she says.

Anonymous said...

Joel, thanks for being right. And thanks to Julia for bringing truth to this community.

Anon 9:01
Generally it's a good idea to read comments before you mouth off about them.

Anonymous said...

Ed, that is hilarious. Catherine helped Julie pen the letter, and it was sent to her blog boyfriend Larry almost immediately. Why are you trying to clear that up for us anyway?

I must be "over the target".

Ed said...

Can you defend her handing out huge consulting contracts to UMass faculty and then having those UMass faculty award teaching positions to Amherst Schools administrators?

WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

If anyone has anything resembling proof of this (h**l, even the names because I can research it from there internally via my many sources on campus) -- I want to know! Larry knows how to reach me -- this is very significant if true, we aren't talking Boston Globe but Chronicle of Higher Education and a *national* scandal.

You simply can't do this. And the last time UM did it, it cost Amherst the Mark's Meadow School (and the Dean his Deanship....).

Anonymous said...

Julie (Catherine) objects to the fact that the emails were sent in support of M.G., obviously she would have had no problem if she got an email from a teacher asking her to support Kohn.

Go ahead and deny it, you know it's true.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:09

What is wrong with being rich and white ? I am not sure.

What I do know is that if you really want to close the achievement gap between those who you descry and those of a different origin or economic class, you ought to hope we get someone other than Geryk.

It is not because I believe Geryk is racist - I don't. I just think she is incompetent and her incompetence will weaken the District to the point of not being able to address the fundamental issues behind this achievement gap.

For me - if Geryk damages the system, I'll simply pull my kids out of the schools and find alternatives. My preference is that the SC hire someone capable, creative, and oriented toward solving all of the problems we have.

Your racist slant goes nowhere with anyone who bothers to breathe and think!

Anonymous said...

Anon. 9:01 and 9:09
Maria, stop criticizing Joel and Catherine!

BTW, how white does my skin need to be and how rich do I have to be to join Catherine's miniscule group of rich white friends? Is it okay if one of my grandparents is a Pacific Islander?

Ed said...

Catherine Sanderson has promised she will embrace Maria if she is chosen,

Perhaps she has something others lack, something called "character"?

and her miniscule group of rich white friends will do whatever she says.

And her not-so-rich friends will do whatever we damn well please.

You know what the irony of all of this is -- the people we usually expect to be worried about their rich friends (Amherst College) are worried about minorities and low income and struggling students while the UMass folk want to live in their all-white hilltowns and keep those nasty people away from "their" children....

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:16

The point is that she would NEVER have received a blasted email from a teacher supporting Kohn. That would be suicidal for an employee in this District.

Don't you get that ?

Anonymous said...

She would never receive a blasted email from a teacher supporting Kohn because... no one supports Kohn.

Don't you get THAT?

Anonymous said...

Me thinks Joel must be Ed's advisor at UMASS. One can hardly tell their angry, self important, stream of consciousness ranting apart.

Ed said...

Catherine helped Julie pen the letter

Assume for the sake of argument that this is true. SO WHAT?????

I help International students write letters all the time -- you are helping someone do something, it doesn't negate the fact that the individual wants to express himself/herself/itself -- you just are helping the individual do so without being embarrassed by poor grammar or awkward usage.

THIS DOESN'T NEGATE THE FACT THAT THE TEACHER SENT HER EMAIL TO ALL THE PARENTS -- unless she didn't and Team Maria isn't alleging that.

Why are you trying to clear that up for us anyway

Because, damn it, facts matter...

The teacher sent a "bulk email" using (apparently) addresses she had access to as a teacher, she qua teacher provided Maria G with a material benefit, and she violated the ethics law. Who cares who (if anyone) helped Julie (whomever she may be) write the cover letter -- would any of my points be negated if the Jolly Green Giant had helped her?

Facts matter folk. They really do.

Ed said...

She would never receive a blasted email from a teacher supporting Kohn because... no one supports Kohn.

Not publicly. The same way that no one will ever oppose the MTA/NEA -- although many do privately.

Go look up the 1991 SARIS survey at UMass regarding undergrad opinions on the First Gulf War. Over 90% of those surveyed supported the war -- the guy doing it thought he must have made some mistake so he did it again -- and got the same result.

A small vocal majority of bullies can silence the majority, and often does. I bet that there are folk who do support Kahn, they just don't dare say so...

Anonymous said...

"You know what the irony of all of this is -- the people we usually expect to be worried about their rich friends (Amherst College) are worried about minorities and low income and struggling students while the UMass folk want to live in their all-white hilltowns and keep those nasty people away from "their" children...."


Ed you friggan nailed it.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, Joel, I'm sure "doing something about" a teacher making facebook pages is way up there on the to-do list of a superintendent.

Ed said...

Oh yeah, Joel, I'm sure "doing something about" a teacher making facebook pages is way up there on the to-do list of a superintendent.

A friend of mine teaches in Florida -- in his district (and quite a few others down there) teachers simply are not allowed to have Facebook pages anymore. Seems that the Superintendents have had way too many problems with Facebook and simply banned it -- as in "you will be fired if you have a Facebook page."

A competent administrator knows that little things left untended can very quickly become very big things -- much like a match left burning in dry brush can quickly become a forest fire...

One of the reasons why superintendents traditionally have an EdD in Ed Admin is because they have studied how other superintendents have screwed up in the past and thus understand both (a) the importance of not ignoring something like Joel's complaint and (b) understanding the issues that may be involved.

I know a former high administrator of a state agency who once told me that "no one had ever looked into [her] filing cabinets" and thus wasn't worried about her files being in order. One day the state auditor did -- and she is now a former administrator....

Joel liking what Maria did with his complaint -- that is one thing. But her simply ignoring what could potentially be a violation of the Federal Hatch Act -- assuming she did -- that is freaking stupid.

Anonymous said...

Interesting how in this whole brouhaha no one has brought forth any evidence that she's not doing an excellent job in a tough situation. You nabobs of negativity will just end up driving out the one superintendent that we've had in a long time that's actually done a good job. Brilliant.

LarryK4 said...

Has Maria told you she will quit if not appointed permanent Superintendent?

Anonymous said...

Larry:

What position will she have if she is not superintendent? Of course she will leave.

Anonymous said...

You all seem to forget that there is actually a 3rd candidate for this position who is very well-qualified, has never been fired from his super jobs( unlike Kohn)- in fact when faced with losing him- his last employer gave him a raise, has not had a fractious relationship with his school boards (unlike Kohn),is committed to moving to the district if hired (unlike Kohn), has not been the 2nd highest paid super in his state while presiding over a district in the bottom three of acheivement (unlike Kohn), has never been accused in the press of being aloof and unresponsive to parent concerns (unlike Kohn) and has not run his district into a deficit (unlike Kohn). There are just too many red flags with Dr. Kohn.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:58

You suggest that she is doing a good job. Evidence?

Reality is she is controversial. Many in the community find her spending profligate, staffing decisions questionable, and track record in sped a disaster. If you are a teacher or administrator looking for a free spender - or susceptible to her politicking she looks good. If you are the parent of a third grader doing second grade math with a teacher that can't add - it is a different story.

The reason, perhaps, she looks good to you is that Churchill and Brighty did such a lousy job at hiring the last Super. While Rodriguez was not terrible - he was culturally a bad fit - anyone could have predicted that a South Florida conservative would not fit in in Amherst. The logical choice - and choice preferred by the SC member you love to hate - was the candidate from W. Hartford (who incidentally would not have incurred travel expenses, and terrible re-location expenses, had a great SPED record....).

Bottom line - Geryk is the most controversial and least qualified of the pack. It will not be a loss for the District to lose her.

Joel said...

Larry,

What percentage of the anonymous posters on this thread do you think are teachers? It feels like at least 75%. Too low?

So, let me just say this to all the anonymous posters, especially the teachers on this blog:

You teach the life you lead.

Slam me, slam Larry, slam Catherine Sanderson, slam Ed, slam the other candidates, slam anyone who disagrees with you. Don't provide a reasoned argument. Call people names. Yes, that's very mature and intelligent. Don't stand behind your comments by providing your name and basic information about yourself.

It's quite an example you're setting.

Larry derides anonymous posters in a funny way, but it's truly sad that so many educators choose to practice character assassination and insist on doing so anonymously.

My original post was about the idea that while teachers certainly have an absolute right to express their opinions, they should exercise better judgement and recognize that their place in our town gives them an authority they really have to be careful about abusing in political matters.

At the end of the day, I'm talking about character. I see so little of it from Geryk and her supporters. That alone disqualifies her in my eyes.

fine.metal.art said...

you're all a bunch of namecalling numbskulls

larrycurlymoe, you must be jizing at all this attention...a whole lotta who gives a fuck going on here

'bach

Anonymous said...

My question is:

What happens to Julia Rueschemeyer if Geryk doesn't ge the position?

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:27

What an outrageous question. Larry, you should remove that from the blog.

It is personally threatening.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:27 - I am not sure what you are asking in your question? Can you elaborate what you are thinking?

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, that question has me confused as well.

Anonymous said...

I gotta say, I heard Dr. Bayless last night and I REALLY liked him. His calm demeaner, exceptionl values and good humor may be just what Amherst needs right now.

Anonymous said...

Bayless was very very good.

Kohn was even better this morning.

I'd be satisfied with either.

Both are far superior to Geryk.

Can't think of even one reason Rick Hood could possibly justify voting for Geryk.

By the way, be sure to call or email Rick with your preference. He is the swing vote.

Anonymous said...

The most important question now is: exactly who are these district/administrative insiders driving the Geryk machine?


That must become known.

Once we have that information, we politely do not renew their contracts.


Our schools will improve overnight...

Anonymous said...

From Gazette Talkback posting:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 5:00am - Dr. Kohn

I worked for four years for the Harrisburg School District as the Director of Communications and the Executive Director of the district's Public School Foundation, from 2006 through 2010. Gerald Kohn recruited me for the position, and I left my post as editor-in-chief of Harrisburg Magazine and Lehigh Valley Magazine to join his team because I was so impressed with what they had done so far for the very needy children of Harrisburg, where I have lived for 27 years and raised my family. Prior to being an editor, I was an English and German teacher at a private high school and an adjunct professor at Franklin and Marshall College, and I leapt at the chance to help these leaders make a difference for so many at-risk childen and teens.

The administrative team Dr. Kohn put together in Harrisburg was fantastic. They implemented the very best educational practices and, together with teachers who were finally receiving the professional development and supports they deserve, were making incredible strides in a district no one in Harrisburg thought would ever function properly, never mind produce college-bound graduates.

I was there the night the new Mayor's Board of Control dismissed Dr. Kohn from his post. Parents, teachers, students, and district alums had come out to support him, bearing signs and presenting heartfelt testimonials, but the board ignored them.

What the new mayor's board did in removing Dr. Kohn was not only illegal, but also, in my view, immoral. Dr. Kohn and his team's visionary reform had completely transformed the district between 2001 and 2009. Pass rates on state tests doubled. The magnet school students were outperforming their suburban peers on state tests and in academic competitions. The drop out rate was cut in half. Raising test scores while cutting drop outs is unheard of in urban American schools, but against all odds, Dr. Kohn did it in Harrisburg. I have learned to credit his years of experience and training, as well as his natural leadership ability. His departure has been a great loss to the children of Harrisburg, whose interests he always put first.

[...]

Parents in any district fortunate enough to hire Gerald Kohn will know in a nanosecond the extraordinary gift they have received. He worked wonders in an underfunded urban district with the poorest student body in Pennsylvania. He proved that it's possible, with the right leadership, to achieve in public schools what so many believe is only achievable in private and charter schools. He's the most dedicated, experienced, and ethical educational leader I've ever had the privilege to meet. I was fortunate to have worked with him and to have learned so much from him and his team.
lisapaige111

Anonymous said...

As a prosecutor, I had strong opinions this past year about who should be the next District Attorney in both the Northampton and Springfield offices. But, in a moment of rare self-restraint, I kept my opinions to myself, because I wanted to continue to work in the capacity as prosecutor and because it wasn't my place to do so about possible future employers. Fortunately, things worked out for the best in both offices, in my opinion.

I come from a family that adores Jennifer Welborn as a teacher, as a professional who gives her all to her job. I suspect that she has tremendous clout with people by virtue of her great work over the years. But I see this latest letter from her and the distribution of it as a mistake, as lacking in common sense about what the political boundaries are for a public employee.

Rich Morse

Anonymous said...

"as lacking in common sense about what the political boundaries are for a public employee."



And she obviously feels the same about Maria G..


So?

LarryK4 said...

Welcome back Mr. Morse, the blogosphere has not been the same these past many months.

Like you, Jennifer is a former AAC member of mine (as was Maria); and also like you (and Maria) I honestly like her--but yeah, she crossed a line.

Could not agree with you more on both DA races turning out for the very best.

Anonymous said...

Anon January 20, 2011 2:16 PM here:


My apologies Rich, I misread your statement. I thought you were talking about someone else. I completely agree with what you've expressed.

Please disregard the earlier post...

Anonymous said...

"What happens to Julia Rueschemeyer if Geryk doesn't ge the position?"

OR if she does?

This is why there almost inevitably is an requirement that the interim not be a candidate for the full-time job. This is why the US Military has a rule that when you are promoted, you are also transferred somewhere else. And it is why we really don't want Maria G.....

Anonymous said...

I echo Jennifer Welborn's appeal for stability and continuity and I frankly don't care if she used privileged information or top secret microfilmed wikileaks documents to formulate her message. At this point I and many others would be content to have Geryk or anyone set up a benign little long-term empire. We will benefit by avoiding the absurd kabuki theatre that we go through every three years looking for a new superintendent.

I want the chosen candidate to sit down and be quiet and do the job for the next twenty years without so much as a single line in the news about it. Enough with the drama.

Of course for some people it's all about the process. Over and over and over.

Anonymous said...

"My original post was about the idea that while teachers certainly have an absolute right to express their opinions, they should exercise better judgement and recognize that their place in our town gives them an authority they really have to be careful about abusing in political matters."

If you said it that way Joel, without the inflammatory assumptions about teachers only having and opinion about Geryk because "she'll never ask them to do anything they don't want to do.", maybe folks wouldn't be so quick to jump all over you. And people are anonymous for a lot of reasons, including having children who are playmates, on sports teams and in school with certain SC members and vocal people like yourself whose tone and tenor related to teachers and our schools make them cringe. We all want good schools Joel. But we differ in what we think they should look like and how we should go about getting them. I, personally, have no particular preference for who gets hired for superintendent. I'm sure there are good things each of them could bring to the district and, frankly, am grateful to anyone willing to sign on given the climate. There's a process underway that I'm willing to put my trust in, regardless of the result. My hope is that others can do the same.

Anonymous said...

Words of wisdom from Harrisburg, PA after Dr Kohn's departure and threats of lawsuit:
...However, in school it is still the teachers who get the job done, true and guide children and observe their academic performance. The superintendent is only as effective as his or teachers. It is the teachers and the school's ability to effectively maximize their talent and abilities to motivate the students to achieve and participate in their education and academic success.

Advanced Degrees and Doctorate titles mean nothing and are mostly a waste of money and investment. Harrisburg should steer clear of hiring these individuals for superintendent and school management positions. The Superintendent is either talented at this process or is not. Do not pay more for the degrees and titles, they will not get a you a better class of superintendent.

...Stop paying big money for talking heads and awarding lucrative multi-year contracts. If the new hires for superintendent demand those terms, you don't want them in charge of your school district.

No one, no superintendent who actually cares about these kids future would sue a school district for early termination of a contract. What kind of an educator would steal from these kids' future and a financially distress school district for early termination of a contract if there are no false charges for the dismissal. Everyone knows inner city school districts are difficult, it should not be a surprise to anyone when superintendents are dismissed by polics are necessity in these types of school districts. There is a breed of superintendents who are milking the school districts in this situation. There is no doubt about it.

Harrisburg keeps hiring the wrong kind of people for the job and keeps granting these lucrative contracts that ultimately hurt the school district. And, for what?

from comment section:
http://www.pennlive.com/editorials/index.ssf/2010/07/kohn_didnt_do_enough_for_stude.html

Joel said...

I guess I have three responses to Anon 6:51

First, it is simply a fact that Geryk is much less qualified than any other candidate and would be the least qualified super in the Commonwealth (I've been told this by people involved in multiple searches) if hired. She hasn't initiated any programs or done much of anything that the previous super or the SC didn't initiate.

So, why are the teachers in such lockstep for her?

Moreover, why were they so in favor of her before we even knew the identities of the other finalists? How can you declare someone the best if you have no idea who the other choices are?

Please let me know what other motive beyond her acting more like their chief cheerleader and less like their boss there could be for such vocal support so early on. Remember, many teachers publicly supported scuttling the search. Why on earth would they do that if they had no idea who the alternatives might be?

Second, I love the excuse that you couldn't even remember what I had written because you were so put off by my critique of the teachers. If I had only left off that part. Oh, you were so mad you couldn't even remember the other stuff about the inappropriateness of the teachers' politicking.

Yes, that makes sense.

My final response involves your defense of anonymity. It really is no defense at all.

You want to gossip publicly about people, call them out, denigrate their personalities, tone, temperament, and so on, but in no way jeopardize your personal relationships with those people? Wow.

I honestly don't know what the right word is to describe that sort of behavior. Phony? Hypocritical? Profoundly dishonest? There's got to be a word for it. I'm serious, I don't know the word.

If you aren't willing to say something publicly with your name attached to it, it's probably because you know it isn't defensible. If you can defend it, say it. If you're worried how people will treat you after you treat them so rudely, don't treat them rudely. This stuff seems pretty basic.

Lisa said...

I find Joel's tone abrasive and hostile. And defensive. I don't know why. I understand that people keep saying that Geryk is significantly not qualified or experienced for the job. And, yet, she's been performing that role and overseeing changes for the district. The claim that she is not qualified or experienced seems to ignore her interim experience. Is the claim really that she doesn't have the PhD? Is there something else?

I am very interested in what people think about this: How do we incorporate an understanding of Geryk's interim performance into our assessment of her skills for a permanent position? In some ways it really doesn't matter since I have no vote.

Joel said...

Lisa, I'm sorry that my honest expression of my opinion offends you.

Let me explain why I consider her unqualified. I think I could do the job she's done so far and I think I'm profoundly unqualified for the position.

I've watched her at SC meetings. She doesn't answer questions, she asks others in the system to do so. A question came up about the accelerating rate of the decline in enrollment in our schools -- something many think is related to parental unhappiness. She didn't even try to discuss it. She passed it off to the head of HR, who claimed it had to do with declining birthrates. She doesn't discuss policy or education reform or much of anything of substance.

Yes, the trains run on time, but is that because of Maria Geryk? How will she perform if a train goes off the track? She hasn't ever managed a crisis. She doesn't have the experience.

She hasn't made a budget, she hasn't ever run a building, she hasn't dealt with any really complicated issues.

Yes, she has occupied the office and signed the right papers, but she's been on autopilot. She has many, many supporters and she's gone on cable access TV and yet no one can name an initiative or program or important review she's undertaken.

I fear when we need expertise in a crisis or during contract negotiations, we'll find out what it means to have so little experience.

Look, most of what my doctor, who is terrific, does for me at the average visit seems like something an RN or Physicians Assistant could handle. That isn't denigrating those folks. But, I like that I see my MD because she sees stuff in my chart and my history and our conversations on a deeper level precisely because she is an MD with a specialty in Family Medicine. It isn't apparent 95% of the time, but I love that fact that she's there with all that expertise for the potentially problematic 5% of the time.

That why expertise and experience in difficult situations and crises matter.

Anonymous said...

"I understand that people keep saying that Geryk is significantly not qualified or experienced for the job. And, yet, she's been performing that role and overseeing changes for the district."

Maria gets paid $139,000--the highest paid employee in the District. What has she done as an academic leader? Math review has stalled (and the consultant remains unpaid). Her hire of Beth Graham as curriculum director was a weak choice. Beth Graham knows practically nothing about math curricula and yet she was chosen to align our k-12 math program. Maria's never followed up on Beers' report on ARMS. She seems uninterested in finding out whether IMP is effective at the high school using data. The list goes on and on ....what does she actually do as a leader?

Anonymous said...

Lisa,

Ms. Geryk's performance is quintessentially political. She has a very powerful, vocal constituency in the teachers and administrators in the District which she uses to great effect. This covers for her immaterial experience and paucity of qualifications.

It is a credit to her political prowess that someone with so little training, so limited a track record, and so many skeletons in her closet (recent conflict of interest issues, no-bid contract issues, widely perceived failure with the SPED programs) can be considered along side the other finalists.

She counts among her supporters the architects of the Rodrigues fiasco (Brighty and Churchill). That alone should inform us that she is more political than competent.

Bottom line is that the Superintendent does make a difference. We deserve the best to move forward into the 21st century - someone who recognizes the importance of education (attaining degrees, experience, and accomplishment) as a means to improve one's lot in life.

The message we would give our kids by hiring an insider politician rather than an accomplished professional is inexcusable.

Let Ms. Geryk get her experience elsewhere. We need the best for our kids.

Anonymous said...

I emailed Dr. Rodriguez recently. He's open to talking about his experiences in Amherst. All one has to do is call him.


From our emails:

"One thing I thought maybe you could do is answer a question for me. In your letter "Setting the record straight…" you mention this under "Conditions of the districts upon my arrival:"

"A pervasive sense of complacency fueled by a culture of nepotism and cronyism."


Can you expand on what you meant by that? Can you provide examples? Or perhaps simply offer some additional thoughts on the subject?


His response:

"Mr. WXXXXX: thank you so much for your kind words. Every human being looks back on his/her own life and would like to know if over the course of a career, if not a lifetime, that he/she made a difference. I have no regrets about anything I said or did during my tenure in Amherst because everything I did was for and about the kids, not the adults. At the end of our days, I firmly believe we will face our Creator and have to fully explain our actions and deeds. Though I am very far from being perfect, if He asks about Amherst before being let in past the pearly gates, I can fully explain everything with a clean conscience.

My number here at Coral Shores High School where I am currently the Principal is (305) 853 3222 Extension 56301.

Feel free to call me.

Thanks,



Alberto Rodriguez"


I suggest as many people as possible take advantage of his generosity and call him. Tell him you're from Amherst. Thank him for the great work that he did while he was here. Offer an apology for what happened, if you'd like.

Then see, what he would like to add about what happened. Maybe ask him what he thinks about the situation, now. About the current regime and how it operates...

We should face, with the greatest clarity, the reality of things as they are.


Here's an opportunity to do that.

Anonymous said...

my favorite part of tonight:

what would you do to maintain the arts curriculum, especially during this tough economy?

in cambridge they built a big arts complex building. matt damon and ben affleck are from cambridge. my cousin was a concert pianist!

Ed said...

"...expertise for the potentially problematic 5% of the time.

Someone once described life as a police officer as 95% utter boredom and 5% sheer terror. And I think it is true for most of the professions (including teaching) -- 95% of the time you aren't using any of your education or experience, it just is that you have the judgment to know when you need to use the it and have it there when you inevitably do.

When I was a classroom teacher (something Maria G never was), there was a foreman at the now-closed paper mill who thought he could do a better job at classroom management than I -- and maybe he could have, until the first day he hauled off and punched a student...

You don't need to know all the stuff that the CDL requires you to learn (what idiot parallel parks a truck or bus?) in order to drive on dry pavement, but go somewhere in weather like last Tuesday and you will be using that 5% of your expertise. I drove a field trip bus back in such weather once, and all the kids who always had thought they could drive better than I were very, very quiet...

The Supt's secretary can run the office and likely does -- the Supt's job is to watch for the stuff that could be the 5% and to deal with it.

Anonymous said...

anon 1-21 9:05pm

I literally laughed out loud at that one too:

Ben Affleck... Matt Damon... my cousin was a concert pianist!

HA HA HA!

Ed said...

"I understand that people keep saying that Geryk is significantly not qualified or experienced for the job."

Lisa, I will say again what I have been saying -- I do not see documentation of her qualifications, nor do I see documentation of her (personal) accomplishments.

Not that she isn't qualified but that I don't see her qualifications.

My doctor has a degree from Harvard Medical School. He did his residency in the hospital where my mother was working, and she (and the rest of the nurses) immediately grabbed him the minute he opened his practice.

I don't worship the word "Harvard" but for a working class kid to graduate from there tells me that he kinda knows something. More telling was not that the nurses wanted to work for him (they didn't -- they knew they would be working the long hours he does) but that they wanted him to be their doctor.

The most telling referendum on Maria G would be if all the teachers had pulled their kids out of private school last year and instead put them into the ARSD. If they had all sold their homes elsewhere to rent something in Amherst. If they were telling us not how much they like her but how much better their children were doing in school this year than last year -- how much her leadership had improved kid's lives, not their own.

We will see this now because I have brought it to the attention of Team Maria, but we didn't see it before. And the nurses (who like teachers have a professional knowledge) very clearly spoke with their feet, which didn't happen here.

When the high school principal doesn't trust the district to educate his own children, that tells me something....

And, yet, she's been performing that role and overseeing changes for the district.

Which goes to my second question, exactly what has she done? I once was involved in a UMass construction project that was completed a year ahead of schedule -- that is a specific thing. What specific THINGS has she accomplished?

"The claim that she is not qualified or experienced seems to ignore her interim experience. " Again, has she smiled and collected a paycheck, or has she actually done something -- and if so, what? Not just sat there and smiled, but done something....

"Is the claim really that she doesn't have the PhD?"

First, it is an EdD and not PhD -- and second, it should be in Educational Administration and not the social justice and psychology stuff that her MEd and CAGS (which is only a certificate) are in.

It is like my doctor -- he could be just as good a doctor if he had gone to medical school in Grenada, but I would need to see something other than the fact that he has a third world medical degree.

And if he had been repeatedly published in the appropriate journals, and if I pulled up a few of these articles and they sorta sounded like he kinda knew what he was talking about, then I wouldn't mind him having an offshore medical degree.

But otherwise.....

Lisa, what would YOU do? With whom would you trust your family -- the guy who has the degree or the one who doesn't but somehow got licensed anyway?

Ed said...

One other thing -- I can't speak to the members of this search but I was once on one myself and I read the academic papers of all the candidates that we were seriously interested in. It wasn't easy, some of the fields like Womens' Studies have their own lingo, and the British Colonial dialect of English is not quite the same language as "American."

But they all had things that they had published in their fields and I read them and in several cases my support for certain candidates vaporized in an visceral "oh, my good Lord" in response to reading things relating to the candidate's philosophy of education.

Maria G never wrote a thesis -- I went up to the UM archives and checked under both her maiden and married names. A thesis is not required at UMass for the MEd, the CAGS is just "have you taken 11 classes more?", and without the EdD there is no dissertation.

OK, fine. What has she published? What is the woman's philosophy of education? Does she HAVE a philosophy of education?

I really appreciate ACTV putting these interviews on the web because I personally get more out of it watching it that way, but the two questions I really hope someone asks Maria G are (a) what is your philosophy of education and (b) have you been published and can we see copies of your articles?

Note to Team Maria: If the third page of her CV is a list of her publications, post that here!

Anonymous said...

For all the hand wringing about people campaigning FOR Ms. Geryk, the anti-Maria folks couldn't be more out there in full, disparaging force. What are you afraid of, exactly? If she's so under qualified, compared to the other candidates, isn't it obvious that she will be passed over? Why the incessant drum (or is it chest) beating? Are there a slew of biased (and it goes without saying, lazy) teachers on the hiring committee? Principals and other upper administrators? Leverett Select Board members perhaps? Or is it, rather, a collection of our own citizen elected representatives of the various communities served in the district, volunteering countless hours on behalf of our children and schools? Why can't we just trust them to do the jobs we elected them to do?

Anonymous said...

What a mean and nasty town. Joel, you are a disgrace to education. Shame on you.

Kelley, you must be happy now that everyone here appears as bitter, frustrated and slighted as you do every day.

Congratulations.

LarryK4 said...

And I'm sure you stop by every day--perhaps two or three times--just to check on my bitter, frustrated and slighted posts.

Anonymous said...

So, did anyone here see the two outside Super candidate interviews? What are folks thinking at this point?

I'll give you my honest opinion - I liked Bayless alot. He was real. He was down to earth. He was VERY student centered. He actually answered the questions that were posed to him. He spoke to both the SC and the audience and faced them both. And his values were right on. I would consider hiring Bayless.

I did not like Kohn at all. He was VERY Kohn centered. He thought we should shun the middle level achiever and heap praise and glory on the high achiever. He did not have one new idea on how to tackle the achievement gap. He dropped names left and right. He turned his back on the audience and only faced the SC. Did he not realize that the audience was also evaluating him? He was arrogant and full of himself. I would never consider hiring Kohn.

If the choice were between Bayless and Kohn its a no-brainer. Bayless was the hands down better of the two.

Anyone else want to chime in? You know it really is possible to talk about someone other than Maria!

Anonymous said...

I liked Bayless a lot too, and thought he had many innovative ideas for getting more feedback from the community, teachers, staff, and students. The idea that a superintendent would meet with and get feedback from students regularly is such a simple concept, but seems so forward thinking.

I would love for the the SC to support Bayless for the superintendent post, and would hope that Bayless is not completely put off by the acrimonious and very political and polarizing nature of some of our community's discussions about our schools. I am glad he didn't seem to be.

Anonymous said...

Bayless, if you're comparing only with Kohn, is CLEARLY a better fit for our community. Frankly, it was not only Kohn's attitude and personality, but also his inability to actually ANSWER many of the questions that put me off. I have a little (a LITTLE) knowledge about some of the stuff he was asked to answer, and often he brought stuff up that simply didn't seem to have much to do with the subject. And yes, previous anon, that answer about what he'd do to maintain the arts curriculum in a tough economy was simply bizarre. Also... using the interview as an opportunity to bash the mayor of Harrisburg? I cringed. He was quite negative about other people and institutions as well (maybe he IS a good fit for our community!) A lot of uncomfortable pauses and silence as he tried to come up with some kind of an answer. He doesn't seem to "get" our town(s) at ALL. I was expecting to be blown away what with all the talk of his degrees and experience, and I just didn't see it at ALL. He often seemed... baffled. Bayless over Kohn EASY.

Looking forward to Ms. Geryk's interview. Does anyone know when it is?

Ed said...

"the anti-Maria folks couldn't be more out there in full, disparaging force."

If this references me, let me be clear, I am not even at the point of being able to even be "anti-Maria" -- I am at the far lower level of who the h*ll IS Maria???

What does this woman stand for? What is her philosophy of education? What has she published (if anything) and what are the cites? Yes, she has a nice smile, a popular husband and two lovely children; but as an educational professional, who is she????

She has been campaigning for this job for a couple of months now and when I can't at least vaguely answer any of the above questions, well.....

What are you afraid of, exactly? If she's so under qualified, compared to the other candidates, isn't it obvious that she will be passed over?

NO, it isn't -- no more than when I see a fire or a wreck, it is obvious that someone else has already reported this to the authorities -- and I make my own 911 call along the lines of "are you aware of ___?"

About a third of the time they are, a third of the time they are glad for a confirmation and/or additional details, but a third of the time this is the first time they have heard of the situation.

What I am afraid of, frankly, is that she is so pretty and so charming and so socially connected with the town that were she unqualified, no one would ever find out until it was too late. It is like the quiet scandals of academia where they hire a professor who doesn't have the degrees he claims he has, and no one checked (everyone thinking someone else did) and then they are stuck with someone whom they would never have hired in the first place.

Why can't we just trust them to do the jobs we elected them to do?

Because public input is part of the vetting process. Because not just those on the ARSD payroll are permitted to comment on such matters....

Anonymous said...

"If this references me, let me be clear,"

No, Ed, it does not reference you. Let me be clear...it ain't all about you.

Anonymous said...

Let's talk about the Kohn interview... anyone?

Anonymous said...

The Kohn interview was abolutely awful, in a nutshell! See some of the comments above.

Anonymous said...

when Kohn was asked about special education, he brought up a bunch of programs and initiatives and concepts that are not special ed, but regular ed. how could you have been a sped director, and a superintendent for so long, and have a PhD in education, and not know the difference between what is special ed and regular ed?!?!

Anonymous said...

This guy Kohn is one of the three we were able to come with after a national search? I think sometimes people like him who come into town don't get what a unique place this is, in terms of there being a LOT of people around here who are very intelligent and know lots of stuff about lots of things, and it's really hard to pull the wool over our eyes. That's what happened with Rodriguez; he was incompetent, he underestimated the class of teachers and administrators we have, as well as the knowledge and interest of the general public, and everyone saw through it.

Whether we agree or disagree with each other, we should celebrate the fact that we are unique in that way -- you can't come into town and bullshit us and think we aren't going to point it out and send you packing.

Anonymous said...

Can I get an AMEN on that, please? That at least in that way we are unified?

Anonymous said...

Yeah Ed, expressing your views on the superintendent hire really does compare to making a 911 call when passing a wreck on the highway. It's precisely this kind of elevated rhetoric that has gotten us to where we are in terms of discourse. Our schools need improvement, like all schools do. But they're far from a wreck. And continuing to paint them and the people who run them as such does a disservice to everyone, including those trying to push meaningful change. Can't we all just take it down a few notches?

Anonymous said...

My question should have read:

"What happens to JENNIFER WELBORN if Geryk doesn't get the job?"

Did she think about how awkward it may be to have campaigned so publicly against your boss' opponent?

LarryK4 said...

Good point.

Anonymous said...

... FOR your boss' opponent.

Also, my direct supervisor took a medical leave. I picked up the slack in his absence for over a year. Does that make me qualified to do his job, or just qualified enough to keep the ship sailing?

B said...

1:58pm
sounds like you're qualified to do his job,assuming you were doing it in his absence. And that's the point. What qualifications does someone need beyond the fact that they have been successfully doing the work?

Anonymous said...

If Kohn's interview were a test on some of the SIMPLEST questions a superintendent should be able to answer in at least the most GENERAL way, he would receive an F.

Anonymous said...

If a quarterback (superintendent) on a football team gets hurt and you bring in his back-up (assistant superintendent) does that qualify him to be the team's quarterback?

Anonymous said...

I thoughy Kohn was a name dropper - whether it was celebrities who attended schools where he worked (even if his employment pre-dated the celebrity's enrollment) or educators..it was uncomfortable and unprofessional. He may come with the most paper experience, but his interview was very unimpressive.

Anonymous said...

4:14 maybe. Maybe it gives you an opportunity to see the skills and ability of the back-up (under pressure, etc.) in a way that you would not otherwise been able to see. Just because someone is not the quarterback, doesn't mean they can't be.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's right. Imagine if Henry Ford (who did not complete high school) was required to display a business degree before he was allowed to build Ford Motors...

I suggest folks make sure they watch M.G.'s interview before the S.C., then watch all three back to back. Or if some of you will be distracted by her smile, simply read the transcripts, and make believe it's a man talking.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where I can watch the video of Kohn's interview?

Anonymous said...

"I am at the far lower level of who the h*ll IS Maria???"

She's the acting superintendent, meaning shes someone who you actually have proof can do the job, not just another snowjob that we usually get.

Anonymous said...

"Whether we agree or disagree with each other, we should celebrate the fact that we are unique in that way -- you can't come into town and bullshit us and think we aren't going to point it out and send you packing."


What egocentric nonsense.

Shush. Please.

Anonymous said...

The "Ethics Law" that was "imposed on town employee's of Amherst, was an abuse of the original means of the law. It is being used to silence the whistle blowers for fear of losing their jobs. So much for democracy here in the republic of Amherst.

Anonymous said...

I thought Mr. Kohn didn't answer practically any question he was asked. This should be a warning to us.

Anonymous said...

"That's what happened with Rodriguez; he was incompetent, he underestimated the class of teachers and administrators we have, as well as the knowledge and interest of the general public, and everyone saw through it."

Lies lies lies lies.

Spin spin spin spin.


Nice try tho...

Anonymous said...

Kohn -

Experienced.

Smart.

Capable.

Committed to kids.

This should be our choice - hands down.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:58:
Are you kidding me? Did you attend or watch his interview last night?

Anonymous said...

so, folks... WHERE CAN I SEE THE KOHN INTERVIEW??

Anonymous said...

I'm curious what joel thought of kohn's interview. i assume he thought he was brilliant, i mean the guys got the degrees to prove he is.

come on joel, vent! vent!

Anonymous said...

ACTV taped both interviews. I would check their website to see when they will be on. Hopefully they will be able to be seen On Demand on the website and at certain times on ch 15 on tv.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if Maria is right for us for Super. What I do know, without a shadow of a doubt is that Kohn is NOT right for us. No way no how.

Anonymous said...

The only endorsement for Kohn so far comes from Roach Patrol posting as an anon. Anyone else wanna weigh in on Kohn's candidacy in light of his interview last night?

Roach patrol said...

"The only endorsement for Kohn so far comes from Roach Patrol posting as an anon."



We're not in the endorsement business.

Anonymous said...

I'm a NO vote for KOHN. He didn't bring anything but experience (not only as a superintendent in large poor urban area, but also as a successful litigant), lots of walks down memory lane. If that's what "experience" brings, I'd rather not have it. Also, I thought he said that the way to inspire the "middle student" was to give lots of praise to the "top students" and that this would somehow inspire the "middle ones" to "follow" and strive to achieve? Are we even considering this approach? Did I misunderstand? Finally, I didn't hear or see any commitment on his part to the kids. In fact he barely mentioned them.
I agree with 6:45

Anonymous said...

As to the quarterback getting injured and the back up taking his place...isn't that how we got Tom Brady? Not too shabby.

Ed said...

She's the acting superintendent, meaning shes someone who you actually have proof can do the job, not just another snowjob that we usually get

Yes, and sitting in the co-pilot's seat of a small airplane, I once held the wheel while the pilot cleaned his glasses, but that most definitely doesn't mean I know how to fly the airplane....

There is a very big difference between "hold this exactly where it is and don't touch anything else" and flying the airplane. A very big difference between being a do-nothing interim and being superintendent.

And thus, I say again, what the h*ll has Maria G actually DONE?

Team Maria -- this is about the last time I am going to ask this before I start presuming "nothing" and further "because she isn't qualified." So speak now or forever hold your peace...

Anonymous said...

"What happens to JENNIFER WELBORN if Geryk doesn't get the job?"

Nothing - she has tenure. Short of winding up pregnant by way of one of her students (and even then she likely would have to both admit it and agree to the blood test), there is absolutely no way she can be fired. For anything, and this is part of the problem.

Did she think about how awkward it may be to have campaigned so publicly -- why should it be "awkward" to someone who can't be fired? Who says she won't try to sabotage him so that perhaps Maria G would have a third try at the office for which she is not qualified....

Anonymous said...

Ed:

Did you watch the Bayless and Kohn interviews? What did you think? If not, why not? You have so done so much spouting off of Maria, how about telling us what you think of the alternatives? Or weren't you interested?

Anonymous said...

ed, who do you think you're talking to?

do you really think you've stymied the m.g. supporters, ed?

there's like a handful of people commenting here, ed.

the army of m.g. supporters aren't here, my friend, they've got richer, healthier lives than you and i. you're talking to a wall.

Anonymous said...

Um, Ed, how many kids do you have in the Amherst school system?

Michael Jacques said...

So I watched both Bayless and Kohn at the morning and afternoon sessions. I actually like them both. There was little doubt that you could see the day wear on them. Having experienced a 10 hour oral presentation myself, in a corporate setting, I feel for both of them. To be interviewing for what was a 12 to 13 hour stretch would not be easy for any person. I am sure neither candidate was at his best at the end of the day when the majority of the Region was watching. I will say that both candidates were stellar in the Morning. They both have amazing experience, proven performance, and ideas on how to run and improve any district. We would be lucky to have either candidate.

They have been very creative in raising achievement for troubled students. Bayless brought resources to a housing area with a high concentration of low income / minority students. Kohn started a school for the most troubled and made significant improvements for all of them. They have worked with very tight budgets and still found ways to make improvements in their districts. Kohn has worked in MA as a superintendent, worked with a region system, a union system, and dealt with prop. 2 ½. While he may not have done as well on his evening interview (which I don’t know to be true), he has amazing experience in many districts. He certainly can make a significant and positive difference in Amherst.

Lucky for both candidates one interview does not a decision make. There were several Regional SC members at both of the sessions I went to. They will get to balance all of what they saw during the day.

Anonymous said...

Here is an example of previous principals (Russ Vernon-Jones) and previous superintendents (Jere Hockman) from this weeks Amherst Bulletin Police Reports:

* Lennox C. Williams, 18, of Rolling Green Drive, was arrested Jan. 15 at 11:35 p.m. on North Prospect Street on an outstanding warrant, police said.

Russ - aren't you proud of yourself?

Anonymous said...

My rhetorical question to the forces who are vigorously supporting Maria Geryk (who appear to be the same folks in the Appy for SC campaign):

Do you expect there to be NO OVERRIDE votes in the next decade?

These override votes are, first and foremost, votes of confidence/no confidence in our school system. A school administration, and its supporters, that appears to be fighting the forces of progress, reform, and change cannot credibly go the voters and ask for more money. And they probably cannot get the community to tolerate the changes in the town's landscape that constitute "sustainable development" either.

There's a lot at stake here.

Anonymous said...

News flash to Anon 9:48:

Not all Katherine Appy supporters support Maria Geryk. I am a KA supporter and I support John Bayless.

And it's not as black and white as you make it appear in terms of supporting improvement in our schools. That is a false dichotomy and if you actually listened to Katherine Appy speak you would know that. Once the Superintendent search process is over I imagine the SC election season will kick into high gear and there will be many many opportunities for you to hear Katherine Appy. You might want to consider keeping an open mind until you have actually spoken to her or heard her speak in a public arena.

Anonymous said...

Well, the opening salvo from Dr. Appy was in the Gazette and I saw nothing about policy in it. If that was your best foot forward, it seemed woefully inadequate.

So what's the policy platform? I'm keeping an open mind but all I see is about governing styles and being nice. You've got to do better than that.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:11:

I urge you and others to visit Katherine Appy's website at katherineappy.com to learn more about her. There you will also find a way to contact her and I urge you to indeed contact Katherine and set up a time to talk to her.

Anonymous said...

Don't duck the question:

Why should we throw the incumbent out?

And, with Dr. Appy, where's the beef?

Anonymous said...

I was not ducking the question. I gave you the option of reading KA's words for yourself and actually speaking to her. What better way to get to know her?

In a nutshell, Katherine Appy is for a collaborative approach to school reform and continuous school improvement that brings all the constituent groups in working toward a common goal of having the best schools and providing the best education for all students instead of a top-down combative approach. Many many studies have shown that its the collaborative approach that leads to lasting change. Again, you can read much more on her website and learn much more if you talk to her. You can ask her as many specific questions as you want and she will respond to all. I would encourage you to also ask the same questions of Catherine Sanderson, though she has not yet announced whether she is running for re-election. Then, you can judge for yourself who to support.

Anonymous said...

The Appy campaign exists because:

1) Certain residents are still pissed off about Mark's Meadow closing.

2) Certain residents are pissed off about the redistricting.

3) Certain residents are pissed off because several School Committee members, including Catherine Sanderson, did not jump on the override bandwagon last time.

4) Certain residents think that our schools are being denigrated in the public mind by the efforts of School Committee members to improve them.

Talk all you want about "collaborative approaches", but this is a campaign motivated by personal animus directed at the incumbent. And that's why it's so damned vague about policy outcomes, about where Dr. Appy wants to take the schools, if anywhere, at the outset. But go ahead, let's see you get past the psychobabble; let's see you get specific, and, say, run against the implementation of a Spanish language program in the elementary schools and see how you do with the whole electorate.

There is no one who gets beat up more thoroughly in Amherst politics than the person who tries to be a change agent. It's a tradition in Amherst, an intransigently conservative town that talks a good progressive game.

It's a campaign with no beef on policy, because it's all about "the beef" with Dr. Sanderson (notice how they never call her "Doctor"?). Admittedly, such a hollow exercise has worked before: for example, Anne Awad beating Hill Boss for Select Board in 2000. We'll see.

LarryK4 said...

And look how well THAT turned out.

Almost made me want to move to South Hadley.

Anonymous said...

"In 2009, Kohn was named National Superintendent of the Year by the National Superintendents Roundtable."



EOM.

Anonymous said...

Slogan for the Appy campaign:

"You're a Bitch and I'm Not"

Anonymous said...

Anybody notice that AmherstMedia.org (aka The Maria Channel) just can't seem to get off its keister and post the interviews of the other two superintendent candidates?

With its wall-to-wall coverage of Maria and its other programming ridiculing certain School Committee members, AmherstMedia has become our very own version of "fair and balanced".

Anonymous said...

So, anon. 4:38, What motivated the Catherine Sanderson campaign? I'm assuming it was a desire to effect certain kinds of changes. Was she the last possible noble candidate for office in our town? Can no one else step up with ideas that might appeal to the electorate? Should anyone with differing opinions or style to Sanderson's be automatically dismissed? Don't we still live in a democracy in this town, where debate and variety of opinion is valued? Where the established cycle of elections can serve the purpose of offering potential alternatives; thereby invigorating that debate? Or is she just in an untouchable class by herself, that no one should ever challenge?

Anonymous said...

We're all waiting for the Appy ideas, so we can debate them.

Anonymous said...

I want to know how Appy dodges the highly unethical aspect of having her psych clients being her biggest supporters. It is illegal and unethical for a therapist to sleep with his clients, yet she can have hers out there supporting her candidacy? And this is different, because????

Anonymous said...

A campaign that is devoid of ideas and policy content ultimately becomes about personalities. Appy seems to be banking on the belief that Amherst has grown tired of Catherine Sanderson, so she has therefore given us very little to think about. It's not often that we find the challenger starting out coasting.

Anonymous said...

And we know who Dr. Appy's psych clients are how?????

This blog gets more and more bizarre.

Dr Benway said...

That's interesting anon 9:21, I just went to amherstmedia.org, which I wouldn't have known even existed if I hadn't read your post. I didn't see one word about Maria anywhere on their home page or any other page except the video links which was an old Voices From the Schools from October, along with many other links to local produced shows.
I did find only two links to the other finalists, one which linked directly to Cathrine's blog with some totally unrelated article from November. The other linked to an article from the Bulletin which discussed the three candidates very evenhandedly.
Yeah, wall to wall coverage, my ass!

Anonymous said...

"The Appy campaign exists because:
1) Certain residents are still pissed off about Mark's Meadow closing.


And their children having to mix with "them" (the minority children of single mothers).

"2) Certain residents are pissed off about the redistricting."

And their children having to mix with "them" (the minority children of single mothers).

"3) Certain residents are pissed off because several School Committee members, including Catherine Sanderson, did not jump on the override bandwagon last time."

The higher the taxes go, the less likely "them" (the single mothers of color) will be able to afford to rent the house next door -- the only folks able to do so will be rich white college girls from New Jersey.

"4) Certain residents think that our schools are being denigrated in the public mind by the efforts of School Committee members to improve them."

Heaven forbid that anyone state that Amherst isn't a lilly-white town where everyone does well in school.

Could Katherine Appy be Amherst's George Wallace, standing by the schoolhouse door, saying her version of "segregation now, segregation forever"?

Anonymous said...

how can smart people be so stupid? (and yes, 10:28am I'm talking to you)or maybe I'm giving too much benefit of the doubt.

Anonymous said...

"And I could not agree more. For almost 30 years I have watched the well organized "insiders" take advantage of voter apathy in our local elections and use fear and intimidation to squelch dissent."


Larry why are voters in Amherst so apathetic? Do you feel as though it's Amherst's working class who feel
so intimidated? How much is class playing a role in all this? Education? Dirty politics?

Really looking forward to your views Larry...

LarryK4 said...

The average turnout for local elections--which I find far more important to our day to day existence--over the last 30 years is probably around 15% (exception being Override votes or Charter change votes), while Amherst routinely turns out somewhere in the neighborhood of 75% for the Presidential election every four years.

So of the 15% who seem to care about 'inside politics' it only requires half of them plus one to rule the town.

And THEY (the ruling establishment) are extremely well organized.

Anonymous said...

Larry, why so much apathy? Point blank.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Michael Jacques' assessment of Kohn. Sometimes old people get very tired by the time 6pm rolls around, and so he probably wasn't at this peak for the other night's interview.

I just hope, if he's chosen, that he'll be able to hang in there during those many weeks where there's two or three meetings until 10pm or 11pm after a very long day's work.

But Michael, tired or not, how did you feel about Kohn's response to the specific question about how he would maintain an arts curriculum during a tough economic time? I mean, he didn't even come up with a semblance of an answer to the question. And that's just ONE example of his not answering the question asked of him AT ALL.

Anonymous said...

So am I the only person who thinks that it is completely inappropriate for members of the search committee to be commenting in the newspapers on the candidates before the process is complete?

Anonymous said...

onanibaku has been bad-mouthing maria geryk for years. that's the kind of thanks you get in this town for busting your ass at a difficult job. angry people look for a scapegoat, and they always choose the easy target.

Anonymous said...

Ononibaku has no credibility. She's an angry woman who go to any lenghts to badmouth Maria Geryk. Who cares what she thinks?

Anonymous said...

I care what Pat thinks. SPED, Maria's program, has 40% parent dissatisfaction. Many fear retribution if they comment publicly. Luckily Pat is brave enough to do that.

Anonymous said...

the SPED program has ALWAYS had parent dissatisfaction...for many many decades. It's the nature of the beast. In a world where there was unlimited funds for schools there would be 100% satisfaction with the SPED program.

Anonymous said...

My point is that she shouldn't be talking about/giving her opinions about the various candidates in the press- period. It's not appropriate and is just as much a subversion of the process as Ms. Wellborn's letter.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, Anon 7pm

Anonymous said...

Pat is stating her opinion based on her experience with the internal and based on seeing both external candidates. Ms. Welborn was trying to send e-mails to parents BEFORE any candidates had even come here. The internal candidate is her boss. Parents may have children in her classes. The power dynamics are completely different.

Anonymous said...

Power dynamic? What a crock of horses***. As a member of the search committee she should not be commenting on the candidates while the process is sttill happening.

LarryK4 said...

Two wrongs don't make a right.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Kohn won a national award from the Superintendents’ Roundable – a national organization of Superintendents. I requested clarification on the meaning of this award since it is on Dr. Kohn’s resume.


From the Executive Director of National Superintendent’s Roundtable.

Dear Mr. Aronson:

Thank you for your note. Amherst-Pelham RSD is very fortunate to have a candidate of Gerald Kohn’s experience, skill,and national stature under consideration. Jerry is an outstanding educator who is deeply committed to the success of every student. He draws on deep reserves of pedagogical knowledge, leadership skill, and experience as superintendent in several very different communities in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

In 2007, the Roundtable’s steering committee authorized the periodic recognition of superintendents and other educators for “outstanding contributions to American education.” After hearing a presentation about the remarkable achievements at Harrisburg’s SciTech High under Kohn’s leadership (unprecedented graduation and college acceptance rates for a severely distressed inner-city community), the Roundtable steering committee unanimously agreed to make the first award to Gerald Kohn. My assistant Brent Johnson joined me and several steering committee members in making the presentation in Harrisburg in December 2009.

I am in the midwest en route back to my office today (Sunday), but will be happy to forward additional information about the award as soon as I get to the office tomorrow.

I hope this is helpful.

James Harvey
Executive Director
National Superintendents Roundtable

On Jan 22, 2011, at 9:04 AM, Consumer Exports Group wrote:

Dear Mr. Harvey,

I am quite interested in your award for Superintendent of the Year.

One of your members won that award in 2009 – Dr. Gerald Kohn of Harrisburg, PA. He is now applying to the Amherst Pelham Regional School District for a Superintendent’s post.
Do you have a statement about the meaning of the Roundtable award that I can share with other parents?
Is this achievement based on an assessment of his peers?
Roundtable members?
Any other public information I can share with those in my community ?

Kindly share this information.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Michael Aronson

Amherst, Massachusetts

Anonymous said...

maria geryk has spent the last 25 years paying attention to and trying to help children with disabilities and special needs. when did ms. onanibaku become interested in these kid's welfare? when it concerned her specifically. again, the person who puts themself in the middle of the problem becomes an easy target and a convenient scapegoat. Maria has been helping chidren with special needs since she started VOLUNTEERING to do so in her TEENS; this led to her choosing special education as her concentration in undergraduate college. You don't get into the field because there's some big reward there. What did you do to help children with special needs when you were a teenager, pat? Unfortunately, there is no perfect solution to the problem of how we provide all the needed services to every child. But to say, as pat onanibaku has, that maria geryk witholds services from children to save money...

onanibaku, aim you're angry, bitter rhetoric, elsewhere, maybe at someone who hasn't even tried to be a part of the solution.

Anonymous said...

furthermore... that pat onanibaku has been bad-mouthing maria geryk for many years is no secret. and it's with that knowledge that catherine sanderson appointed pat to the 10-member superintendent search committee. while her attempts to keep geryk out of the final three failed, the fact that sanderson intentionally sought to create a panel with strong biases against geryk is morally reprehensible. any benefit of the doubt i may have given sanderson has vanished.

Anonymous said...

Enough of the defense of M. Geryk.

Her track record at SPED is terrible. See the outside review of the department she created and filled with cronies from earlier this year.

Perhaps Ms. Ononibaku like
many others, has been subject to retribution for advocating replacing the interim. Many believe that Ms. Geryk's tenure, in addition to being marked by fiscal mismanagement, insider politics and untoward encouragement of employees to campaign for her appointment is rife with ethical lapses (conflicts of interest etc..) and retributive acts against those publicly opposing her.

I, for one would like to see her gone, not only from the interim job, but from the District as a whole. Let her earn her stripes somewhere else based on merit rather than politics.

Anonymous said...

it was less of a defense of maria geryk than it was an indictment of a community member who personifies one of this town's main problems: angry, bitter individuals who do nothing to be part of the solution, who just sit around, making all the people in this town who roll up their sleeves and bust their asses to TRY to make things better, into scapegoats.

educators are an easy target.

"cronies": other individuals who have devoted the better part of their lives to educating themselves about, and trying to help, children with special needs.

what have YOU done to help?

Anonymous said...

wow, i hadn't heard about "the retributive acts against those publicly opposing her."

please detail them for us! i assume you can back that up? otherwise i would have to classify that statement as malicious, false, and defamatory.

Anonymous said...

What have I done ?

Elucidate the truth.

Call out Ms. Geryk on profligate spending, lack of transparency, and reiterate public accounts of her conflicts of interest that have been published on this blog and the Gazette.

That, my friend, is a public service for taxpayers and especially students.

Purely and simply she and her management style is bad for this town.

Anonymous said...

you can't back up any of that! the gazette has reported on her "conflicts of interest"? hmm, must have missed those articles. please put a link here to those. and nothing gets "published" on this blog... please. where's the lack of transparency? that is becoming a tired slogan. examples please. profligate spending? again, cite facts and data please.

more importantly... examples of "retributive acts against those who publicly oppose her" please.

oh please, elucidator of truth, give us the examples to back up your statements.

Pat, ranting anonymously on THIS blog, of all blogs, is hardly a public service! i am presently unable to contain my laughter, so post i will...

Q: "what have you done to help solve some of our problems?"

A: "i am an elucidator of truth. i anonymously reiterate things i've read on this blog."

oh my gosh.

Anonymous said...

"maria geryk has spent the last 25 years paying attention to and trying to help children with disabilities and special needs"

As a person with disabilities and special needs, let me state for the record that the VAST MAJORITY of those allegedly willing to "help" me were only willing to help me as long as I was willing to help them advance their own careers.

There are the random few who are true educators, but the vast majority are bullies who seek to have power and have it over vulnerable people who can't fight back. SPED is like the porrige in Oliver Twist -- it isn't the lack of money as much as the power over people.

I don't know Ms Geryk and am not commenting on her. All I am suggesting is that if we hear allegations that a police officer beat someone up, we need to check it out -- and if we hear allegations that she is playing favorites with SPED resources, we likewise need to check it out....

This doesn't mean that we disrespect her any more than IA disrespects the officer -- we check it out...

Anonymous said...

If we want to talk about bulliess and bullying....the majority of the members of the current Amherst School Committee are the worst bullies in Amherst today. They are an embarrasment to the community at best and the poorest of role models to the children in our town at worst.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:22
I think you need to back up your claims. In what way do you believe school committee members of been bullies? I truly have no idea what you are talking about. Please explain.

Anonymous said...

"If we want to talk about bulliess and bullying....the majority of the members of the current Amherst School Committee are the worst bullies in Amherst today. They are an embarrasment to the community at best and the poorest of role models to the children in our town at worst."



LOL


Complete nonsense.


Don't blame the SC for doing what should've been done all along.

Blame the idiots who let things get so out of control in the first place.