Friday, May 15, 2015

The Hypocrites’ Ball

Ken O’Brien

After slow-walking the superintendent search process the hit-and-run Chair of the School Committee and her sycophants decided that the Acting Superintendent’s contract should be extended and the selection of a permanent superintendent should be left to the incoming committee.

In a related matter, immediately following her contract extension, the newest one-year wonder presented a plan to reorganize the middle/high school. The (supposedly) carefully-crafted, extensively vetted plan had no associated job descriptions and no budgetary impact associated with it. 

Isn’t it interesting how, on one hand the two lame ducks and their hangers-on could push to leave the selection of a superintendent up to a new School Committee while pushing to have a half-baked, poorly documented last minute surprise plan to restructure the middle/high school rushed through? 

While we constantly hear about the need to focus on the welfare of the children, it is my opinion that these two actions are just another example of adult politics taking center stage.

On her way out the door and out of town the corpulent doyen Chair of the committee wants one more opportunity to exercise her (by now) well-known vindictive streak.

It should be a secret to no one at this point that it has been a point of contention that the complaint of the current middle/high school Principal led to the hasty departure of the former superintendent. A number of sources have reported that she was recently asked to resign her position and that she refused to do so.

So, in my view, the current actions of the majority of the school committee membership has more to do with creating the opportunity to force her out than with any real concern for the students.

This is coupled with the candidate slate for the next election. It is shaping up to be a contest between the surrogates of the current majority and a couple of their prominent supporters against proponents of the old system who have their own agenda.

In the middle of this is the just reported letter from retiring Superintendent of the Dover-Sherborn district and former Southbridge school Principal Steven Bliss. In the letter he indicated his willingness to assist the district in its efforts to chart a future course.

I ask the question “If you are going to appoint a one-year interim Superintendent, who is better suited? Do you go with someone who’s last position was as a middle school principal or someone who has been a superintendent and who previously was at the helm of a local school as principal?”

But, once again, the majority clique on the School Committee wouldn’t even entertain this possible option. Their vendetta was set and it would be pursued with little more than a soupҫon of invective about inside information. What kind of inside information is needed to indicate an interest in a position that has been so widely reported upon?

Members of the ruling committee junta referred repeatedly to the comments of Glenn Koocher during his appearance before the Committee. Never mind that, as we reported, his remarks directly contradicted his own statements two months earlier to the Boston Globe.

I am not saying that the proposed two principal structure is a bad thing. But it certainly deserves more vetting than being sprung as a last minute ploy, the primary purpose of which is to deprive a current principal of her position. 

The School Committee has never been devoid of politics. But it has never been as consumed by the politics of personal vindictiveness as it has been under the leadership of the current Chair. As she beats feet to Woodstock or wherever, it seems that she is intent on seeing that this legacy survives her exit.


  1. McLoughlin Didn't Act AloneMay 15, 2015 at 3:11 PM

    Mr. O'Brien:
    McLoughlin acted not alone during this current reign of terror. You have let others, particularly Kara Donovan, off the hook. She is just as vindictive and inept as McLoughlin. She needs to not be allowed to slip out the back door without her actions being judged.
    These two women, along with Prencipe, Woodruff, Quinney and Abrahamson have brought the school to unprecedented lows. Their actions have consistently had little to do with improving educational opportunities and experiences for our students.
    I wonder if the District Attorney has looked into these five yet?

    1. The criticism of Mary Ellen Prencipe and Patricia Woodruff is completely unfair. I worked with both of them when I was on the school committee and can tell you they are dedicated to this district and focused on creating better educational opportunities for our children.

  2. Well it worked for her in 2012 didn't it??? Newly elected and eager to please - she happily voted to restructure the Middle/High School from 2 principals to 1 - 30 days before the start of school; now, 3 years later she votes to change it back - 30 days before the end of school....
    And all the BS about a proper search committee, giving the NEW SC the opportunity to search/review/vet/ interview and select a Superintendant....they've had PLENTY of time to get their act together and put together a search committee...
    Meanwhile - who will be selecting the NEW principals???? Yup....the Super Stanton....and all the administrators will be 'selected' NOT by verified credentials/experience/results - but by who they know and how well they drink the KoolAid and fall in line - no one will want to make the same mistake that Mrs Earls made in standing up for what is right...
    The arrogance - and - there is no other way to say it - STUPITY - is just unbelievable.

    Meanwhile....the kids suffer, the hardworking teachers & staff suffer, the Town suffers, we all suffer.

  3. It’s abundantly clear how close minded the foolish four are. If they were going to appoint another interim superintendent for a one year term why wouldn’t they even consider Mr. Bliss. Clearly he’s at least as qualified as Stanton. They can protest all they want that they’re concerned about the welfare of the students but the facts clearly tell a different story. They didn’t have to go looking for him, he came to them. Just what is their motive? I can only conclude that it is as you say, to get Ms. Earls.


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