Courtesy of Middle Tennessee CAPE (Coalition Advocating for Public Education)
WCS just released the results of an anonymous employee survey. One question asked if employees felt they could publicly disagree with the board without fear of retribution. This question was added at board member Rick Wimberly’s request after he pulled his “speak up” resolution for lack of support in February. The resolution, which is back on the agenda again for this Thursday’s work session, encourages educator input and acknowledges their constitutional rights.
More than 2,300 employees, including 1,539 teachers and 476 building level support staff, responded to the survey. It contains a lot of interesting information. (Some is great, some concerning—we’ll cover other topics at a later date.) But one aspect in particular stands out. Employees of the district (most of whom are teachers) are afraid to state their viewpoint if it would conflict with the position of the board. Only 16% said they felt safe to do so without fear of retribution. This is even more striking when you consider employees fear ELECTED OFFICIALS who technically do not have the power to hire/fire staff (except Dr. Looney). We have said for a long time that this is a real problem—it was even before the Hillsboro investigation. But when board members investigated Hillsboro teachers for what they said when they were not at work—and used a secret recording to do it—well, no wonder teachers have drawn the conclusion that stating an opinion against some members of this board could be perilous indeed.
We need more educator voices, not fewer. A climate of fear is the last thing we need to make WCS the best it can be.
Question 11: Do you feel safe to express your viewpoints* without fear of retribution? (*if your viewpoints differ or are in opposition to the identified person or group)
1,923 employees answered the question. Only 304, or 16 out of 100, feel that they are able to express a viewpoint in opposition to the board without fear of retribution. In contrast, 44% feel safe expressing their views with Dr. Looney and nearly 70% with their direct supervisor.
(Click to enlarge)
This question also elicited a great number of free-form comments about the board which are included verbatim at the bottom of this post. There were 25 pages worth! (pp. 29-53)
More on the “Speak Up” Resolution
At the February work session, Rick Wimberly (who represents District 9 where Hillsboro School is) introduced a resolution he called the “speak up” resolution.
The resolution acknowledges the importance of educators and resolves the following:
The Williamson County Board of Education encourages an environment where professional educators and staff are comfortable with and encouraged to express opinions, and supports the Superintendent’s efforts to solicit educator and staff input.
The Williamson County Board of Education will respect and honor those values found in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and will seek no punitive action against any employee for the lawful expression of opinion even when such opinion runs counter to the Board’s or the Administration’s views.
This looks like an effort to show some good faith toward teachers, to acknowledge that there are real effects from the Hillsboro investigation last year, and to say that will never happen again.
However, about half the board—including several of those who pushed for an investigation into teachers at Hillsboro—didn’t want the resolution. There were multiple comments—again, from those who supported the Hillsboro investigation—about the unnecessary nature of the resolution. Cash, Curlee, Emerson and Gregory said the resolution was not needed, and Burgos, Emerson and Mezera asked to table the resolution.
Fear of Investigation/Reprisals from the WCSB
We have heard from many teachers for many months that they fear coming forward and speaking their mind for fear of investigation/reprisals from some members of this board.
And who could blame them, given that is EXACTLY what happened last year?
Members of this board—with zero transparency and no board vote—pushed for, directed, and even wrote the questions for an investigation into teachers and administrators. Yep—teachers were secretly recorded when they were not at work and board members used that as a basis of an expensive and lengthy investigation that terrified teachers.
Why? Because board members didn’t like what the teachers had said about them six months before.
This is so shocking to us, still.
Educators were questioned for hours. They were asked about their personal relationships. The lawyers demanded that they name names on the audio recording and to explain each political statement they made to which some board members objected. Their personnel files were brought out.
The ACLU got involved, noting that the investigation violated the educators’ first amendment rights. After many months, shifts in the scope of the fishing expedition of an investigation, and tens of thousands of dollars, all the educators were exonerated.
The board refused to say anything about it. Chairman PJ Mezera, who had talked repeatedly about the investigation to the media, refused to apologize to the teachers and administrators, refused to announce the exoneration, and refused an answer any questions about his or board members’ involvement in the investigation. Beth Burgos, who had a major role in shaping and writing the questions for the interrogations, also refused to discuss the board’s role in the investigation. She also blamed Williamson Strong for the investigation itself.
Will the “Speak Up” Resolution Pass?
Ultimately, Wimberly pulled the teacher “speak up” resolution from consideration at the February board meeting due to lack of support and asked Dr. Looney if the administration would survey the teachers. Dr. Looney replied that he surveys teachers from time to time and has some other questions as well and would be happy to incorporate. Now that the survey results are out, Wimberly’s resolution is back on the agenda for March. Will it pass?
Eighty comments throughout the survey are specifically about the board. Susan Curlee was mentioned 11 times by name (12.122, 12.160, 12,256, 12.259, 12.271, 12.330, 12.335, 12.343, 12.354, 12.379, 12.389) and once by District 12 (12.194). Beth Burgos was mentioned three times (12.330, 12.343, 12.379), Candy Emerson twice (12.330, 12.343) and Dan Cash once (12.343).
“Yes. However, I feel he is too busy putting out school board fires.” 5.40 “I believe having to constantly focus on issues within the school board has made it difficult to clearly see or vision and direction we are going.” 6.21 “Dr. Looney has our district’s best interest in mind, I just worry about our school board murking up the waters.” 7.16 “in spite of the argumentative and destructive school board members – yes” 7.21 “I wish the school board would “be nice”” 7.35 “Yes, but PLEASE help ALL of the school board lead us in a positive direction!” 7.67 “I do not feel safe to express my viewpoint if it differs from administration or the school board. In the end, this is a job and expressing opposing views jeopardizes my position and future advancement. I understand that. I have often been told that to do so would be seen as insubordination which are grounds for dismissal.” 12.12 “I would like to see the school board act in a more responsible manner. Constant media attention is interfering with the overall goals of the school district. Religion, politics and special agendas need not be integrated into Williamson County Schools.” 12.15 “I do fear this survey and am hoping that it really is to better the safety that teachers need to feel in this district, since we are all part of the same team. I DO NOT feel safe to voice any opinion about ideas or visions of certain school board members out of fear of what they did last year. That attack on Hillsboro not only affected Hillsboro, but the entire teaching and school body across the district. I do not feel that any teacher feels safe to voice an opinion, a question or even an idea for fear that it will be attacked publically by certain school board members, members of public radio stations, etc. While Hillsboro was found of no wrong doing, there was never any broad statement of support or apology to all teachers and staff within the district. And still no closure for Hillsboro. Again, if affected the entire teaching staff of WCS, not just one school. Then when Mr. Wimberly proposed his proposal, it was again shot down. Why didn’t the other school board members demand it? Why are only certain school board members allowed to be vocal. Why didn’t Dr. Looney demand it. We need strong leaders in the school board that are unanimous in supporting teachers and their viewpoints. You have teachers that are going to bail on this district because of this nonsense. I would hate to see that happen since this is such a great district with such great schools, and such dedicated teachers. We care so much about our kids, parents and our central office staff including Dr. Looney. I support his vision completely and am proud to work in this district. But am in constant fear of people listening, things being released without permission, facebook and all the nonsense. It’s created a very stressful situation for teachers here. We’re always guessing… What’s the secret agenda.” 12.17 “…In terms of the school board I feel like there are certain members who do really care about students and teachers and that there are other members who are there simply to be disruptive. I do not feel safe at all to voice my concerns to the school board for fear of retribution from these members of the board and the small but vocal group that supports them.” 12.29 “I live in D12 and am shocked by my board members. Please, I beg you to help us as parents and teachers. This woman is embarrassing us!” 12.33 “Some of the new board members are really bad people and are ruining all the great work in our schools.” 12.35 “Overall I am very proud to be part of this district. I am concern about certain school board members and how they seem to be more concerned about themselves than they are for the students.” 12.46 “Big Picture: – our school board needs to STOP in-fighting and start better anticipating our growth needs. Work with county planning commission and city planning commissions. As new homes come in, we need funding for new schools. too. Goal: no overcrowded schools – our school board needs to stop in-fighting!!!…” 12.56 “The school board needs to stop w/ the petty, in-fighting and focus on what is important…the students!!! We are a laughing stock among other districts because of the shenanigans conducted by the school board” 12.73 “I have worked in education for over thirty years and in three different states where I always felt supported by my administrators, County Office staff, and School Board members. When we relocated here and I secured a teaching position, I was excited to be a part of a district with a strong vision for being successful and with a strong leader in Dr. Looney who understood how to lead in a positive manner and a school board who supported him. Within the past two years in this district, however, I have witnessed a dramatic change in the attitudes of the School Board members that I have found disappointing and at times downright shocking! The School Board members in the other systems where I worked may have had their differences at times, but they were always supportive of the Superintendent, teachers, and most importantly, the students of our district. I have attended many board meetings in the past two years or watched them on my computer, and I see little or often no evidence that the members of the School Board ever think about what is in the best interest of the students and their education because they get too caught up in petty differences which, unfortunately, will eventually impact us all! It is disturbing to me that the School Board members do not always attend sessions or keep up with their duties as board members and then delay action on important items on the agenda because they “need more time.” Dr. Looney is a strong leader who has helped this district and our students make incredible gains over the past few years that he has been here. He is most definitely a leader who has students’ best interests at the forefront. Look at the data that back this up! All teachers, staff members, administrators, and County Office employees should be dedicated to doing everything in their power to create a positive atmosphere of success for the thousands of students in this district, but in order to accomplish this tremendous task, we must have a School Board who will support our work. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to say in an anonymous survey what cannot be said aloud for fear of retribution by School Board members who do not support the adults who work in our district or students who attend our schools. I would like to say “Thanks” to Dr. Looney, as well, for fighting the many battles and overcoming the many obstacles over the past two years which have been the direct result of School Board members who have negative personal agendas. It is time for the ridiculous antics by School Board members to end!” 12.78 “I feel that some members of the school board have created a culture of mistrust in the district. Prior to the last election, it was generally thought that even if school board members were tough, they wanted the best for students and employees. Now the actions of some board members seem driven by politics and anger.” 12.86 “I appreciate all the WORK of Dr. Looney and the school board. The DRAMA is a waste of time and productivity.” 12.87 “With all due respect: Your ‘boots on the ground’ (teachers) are tired of the immature school board drama, the constant, knee-jerk reactions to testing and instruction, and the assumption that these ‘boots on the ground’ are always going to be around.” 12.89 “I believe that in the current climate, the protection of employee rights is one of the most important issues WCS faces. I also think that the current climate of the Board of Directors is split between support of teachers and staff and hostility towards teachers and staff. Thus, protecting employee rights to free speech is a major issue. I have expressed my opinions to the school board in the past and received both encouragement and insults in reply. I like working for WCS and hope that freedom of speech allows me to be a better employee and our system to have better schools.” 12.96 “I feel that despite the many obstacles that have faced our county, specifically certain members of the school board, we are moving forward. I wish all of our leadership could get on the same team (student learning) and stop distracting from what is important…” 12.110 “I believe that since Dr. Looney has entered WCS, we have risen to the status of a great system in the nation. I also feel that he encounters way too much resistance from members of the community and is not supported as he should be from ALL board members.” 12.112 “This is an extremely awkward survey and suggests Dr. Looney is the focal point of all things WCS. I will even note that it appears ego driven considering the feeling safe questions related to the school board. I am curious to see how Dr. Looney shares this information and if it is used to perpetuate any defense against an aggressive school board. My strong feelings of skepticism relate to the email Dr. Looney mistakenly sent regarding Ms. Curlee’s apparent inflammatory behavior. I have no issues with Dr. Looney pushing back on her, but the investigation with intent to discipline an employee before the findings suggests a hostile work environment. While I am very satisfied with my employment at WCS and understand the current political climate, I view this survey as an unnecessary distraction.” 12.122 “Some members of the school board have their own agenda, not the districts. Some members are costing the county a lot of expense because they can’t stop their own agenda. Way too conservative.” 12.123 “Dr. Looney clearly places students first. He is also supportive of teachers. Several members of our school board would do well to follow his example.” 12.127 “The last question is specific to just a few board members–not ALL. There are several who I feel respected and encouraged by, for sure. Others, I feel I am at risk of jeopardizing my position by expressing alternate thoughts.” 12.131 “It made me sad that a resolution couldn’t pass for us to have free speech. This says a lot to me about the board’s current direction.” 12.144 “I do appreciate that Dr. Looney does what he can to support the teachers and staff. It would be really cool if members of the school board could get on board with that as well.” 12.152 “The school board and state testing have been the biggest disappointments. Neither have made decisions based on children in which they are charged to serve. They do not represent our students nor do they represent Williamson County. The school board has their own agenda that directly hurts our students and their success.” 12.155 “I respect Dr. Looney as our leader and am proud to have him. I would sincerely ask that all that be done to rid Susan Curlee from the school board be done. I have recently read her comments on her twitter @Isaidknow and am disgusted. I do not know how we are supposed to teach empathy, respect, rigor, or anything else while her foolishness takes up so much of the county’s energy.” 12.160 “Additional concerns: Some members of the school board are not focused on the education and protection of children. I do not trust all members of the school board, but there are some members I do trust. Political agendas and inappropriate communications with media and community members.” 12.161 “I believe we have an amazing school system primarily due to the students, teachers, and site-based administration within Williamson County. My main concern is that the constant issues between the director and members of the school board is steering the focus at the highest levels away from what’s best for the kids and more towards what’s best for a political agenda. Williamson County Schools should be identified for providing a quality experience and solid preparation for life for our students, not a battleground for political parties. I believe Dr. Looney wants the very best for WCS students, teachers, and administrators.” 12.164 “I have worked in many districts in my career and I feel the direction WCS is headed under Dr. Looney’s leadership is the best I have ever experienced. As an educator I wish there was not as much dysfunction in the WCS school board but I feel Dr. Looney has continued to lead WCS in a positive direction despite the board’s issues. Some board members have been responsive to me as an employee and a parent of two WCS students but others have not, listening only to outside influences. I commend Dr. Looney on weathering the many storms and keeping the focus on students and employees. I appreciate it when he responds to teachers, with the TN Ready issues as a recent example.” 12.173 “I feel I do not get much opportunity to have input into decisions. I feel that the school board does not care about my opinion.” 12.175 “The system is highly rated for a reason. The Superintendent is top notch, and so are many of the central office supervisors and personnel. We are provided with the tools and the guidance to succeed. All of this occurs in spite of limiting factors such as radical board members and budget constrictions by the state and other entities. I am grateful that Williamson County provides me with great tools and colleagues which facilitate my professional success. I would take another raise.“ 12.184 “I think the school board has gone astray” 12.185 “I find the actions of some members of the school board extremely distracting as I attempt to do my daily work for and with my students and their parents.” 12.193 “…I am concerned about our school board and the culture of suspicion that is portrayed by district 12 member. That board member is disrespectful, unprepared for meetings, and does not attempt to show a spirit of cooperation with the administration or fellow members. District 12 member is disrespectful to WCS at large and takes advantage of her elected position to bully WCS schools. Our present School Board is an embarrassment to our community.” 12.194 “…I wish that the School Board would remain focused on students, our programs, and ourservices. No work-place is ideal; of course there will be issues to work through and improve in any organization of this size. It is alarming and disturbing to me that some Board Members choose to highlight issues and publicize negative information. I feel that it devalues the job I am trying to do; that it creates fear and uncertainty about job security; and that it makes our district look unprofessional.” 12.205 “Working in Williamson County is a priviledge. However continually being in the news is an embarrassment to the county and its employees who work very hard to try to shed a positive light on public education at a time when they are somewhat dark in the publics eye.” 12.211 “I remember a school board member stating that the teachers’ voices were heard in the election. My voice was not heard as I do not live in the county. I’m sure this is true for many of my fellow educators. The board has not asked for our input on anything since the last election. I have had conversations with friends and family in which I have been embarrassed by the actions and words of several members on the school board. I do not feel that put the students needs first and are on the board for political reasons. I will refrain from naming names, but I am sure you know which ones I am referring to. Thank you for asking for our input and I would hope that this is the first of several surveys in which you do so. Continue your good work.” 12.214 “I would express views to some members of the School Board but certainly not all of them!” 12.215 “I am concerned about how we are portrayed in the media due to the circumstances with issues with the school board. We have a great school system and the negative press and negative social media give us a black eye in my opinion. Dr. Looney is doing a good job leading WC and the state in a more appropriate direction…” 12.220 “I have complete trust in our leadership – at all levels. I also feel privileged that WCS has helped grow my professional capacity, so that I can be a part of a progressive district. I do dislike that you have to deal with the political implications associated with the school board, but appreciate that you still manage to lead by example and be professional – which I know can be a challenge.” 12.235 “…I do feel free to express my opinion to my School Board Rep. (District 4) but not the SB as a whole, there are some questionable people sitting on the board, I can tell you that as an employee AND a parent…” 12.240 “I feel that I am cared for and my needs are taken into consideration,as an employee, by Dr. Looney. I do not , however, feel that the school board would do the same. I would love for board members to see what I really do each day and the time, energy, and personal money that I put into making a positive and happy classroom environment for my students. All school employees should feel supported by the school board and the best interest of all stakeholders should be considered when decisions are made for our schools.” 12.243 “Some of our Board members have shown and continue to show disregard, disdain and retribution toward our school district, employees and students. Our school board continues to poorly represent all the wonderful things about WCS and the fantastic students we serve.” 12.245 “…I also haven’t ever had a burning need to express a very different opinion/point of view to any of the departments, board, or administration. If I did, I would not let any level of discomfort stop me from doing so.” 12.247 “I did send my specific district school board member (district 7) an email back in September about polling the teachers about Common Core standards. He responded to me and spoke up for teachers in the next board meeting. I, however, do not feel comfortable speaking out during a board meeting about any concerns I have about the direction the board is going. I think Susan Curlee is going on wild goose chases to prove her point and not focusing on teachers and student achievement. I do not appreciate her going against our school district multiple times and encouraging a parent to go against our school district.” 12.256 “Can we get rid of Susan Curlee? I am tired to hearing about her.” 12.259 “I am proud of the educational leadership in our county and am very concerned about the vision of certain members of the school board. Educators want to be trusted. We work hard, and Dr. Looney recognizes our efforts to provide students outstanding educational opportunities. Thank you, Dr. Looney, for supporting teachers.” 12.262 “I am concerned about the school board’s direction, and fear for my future as an educator, and as a parent of students in Williamson County.” 12.263 “With Susan Curlee as I school board member, it scares me as a teacher. I feel she unstable…” 12.271 “I appreciate Dr. Looney’s leadership. However, I do not trust the school board in its current configuration. I do not believe that the school board has the best interest of students or teachers at the core of its focus.“ 12.275 “The last question was loaded. I do not “fear” retribution, but I also think there are member of the school board who would seek retribution.” 12.278 “The contention within the school board is a definite turn-off. I know there is only so much that can be done – I respect that the public elected our officials – but I also believe that there is a certain amount of deceit and distrust that is pervasive within the ranks. When my students ask me for opinions on the inner workings on the school board, I can’t deny that I am upset. Not at their curiosity, I am beyond thrilled that they care. But isn’t the purpose of the school board to ensure that learning carries on per usual? To tow the line and serve as an emblem of stability? Instead, the board is token volatility in the eyes of many. We can disagree, but we must do so in a civil and humane manner. No one can be absolved of fault – teachers, principals, board members, superintendent – but there is a modicum of respect that I should have for each and every board member, and I cannot say that this is the case as of this present moment. Sorry if that comes across as blunt, but I felt it needed to be said.” 12.285 “I believe there are some on the board who have a very political agenda that is not aligned with the direction of the schools. I watched a recent board meeting and I was shocked to hear one member in particular who basically disagreed with everything being said. I know that Board members are elected officials but their job is to support the superintendent, not fight him. I see Dr. Looney as running our District as well as a good CEO would run a business and probably with better communication skills.” 12.296 “I do feel many on our school board are here for the right reasons… but I would NEVER express anything for fear one or two would get ahold of it and turn it into something it was not meant to be.” 12.298 “…It would be greatly appreciated by WCS employees if we were fully supported by our school board. I do not feel that is the situation with several of the current school board members.” 12.302 “PLEASE find a way to stop the embarrassing grandstanding, on a regular basis, by at least of one of the school board members. This one person has made my work environment feel unsafe, impinged upon my freedom of speech, as well as now broken the law concerning access to private records and FERPA for our children. These are precedents not to be taken lightly. The lack of regard for what is best for our children and county employees is appalling. I truly feel that whatever can be done to stop such damage to our school system and our national reputation, needs to be done. We have an amazing system that needs to be protected by any legal means necessary. Dr. Looney and school board members, please help our wonderful schools not be sidetracked by these things and move us forward! Thank you in advance!” 12.303 “I have brought concerns to the Board, only to be patronized and ignored…” 12.304 “I fear retribution from Susan Curlee, Beth Burgos, and Candy Emerson. They stalk teachers and parents on social media. They create fear and paranoia among parents and citizens over trivial or imagined (non) issues. Their erratic and harmful behavior frightens teachers into silence.” 12.330 “When school business that contains specifics (names, etc) is no longer blasted in the local media, I may feel more likely to voice dissent to the school board. Until then, I’ll trust my principal and my superintendent and my district’s school board representative only. There is a small contingent hell-bent on holding up dissenters as corrupt, liberal, or immoral and that just isn’t ok.” 12.332 “As a teacher, I find the behavior of some of the school board members in painting our district in a negative light offensive. Those that want to throw shame on schools or our policies for the betterment of stirring the pot does nothing to help my job. It is an embarrassment to throw WCS into the negative publicity that Curlee seems to enjoy doing, and it seems to be her mission to undermine our jobs. It would also seem that the board would be lifting up its teachers and its schools and the administration to partner alongside us and asking what can we do to make our job run more smoothly or efficiently, rather than running to the press and public for every infraction that occurs. And many of the fine board members do just that- and take a vested interest in their schools and their constituents. Our schools are made up of wonderful young students and dedicated professionals. Sometimes I think that is lost on certain board members. Dr. Looney and his efforts to support us and creative a rigorous expectation of every teacher and student is the benchmark for which we all strive. He is who we work for, and who we want to do a good job so we can keep him in his position as our Superintendent.The school board is too fractious and can’t get along. I think the next election in two years will be a good time to get back to the business of having supportive and encouraging board members partnering with us- not tearing our county down.” 12.335 “I’m honored to be employed with WCS and appreciate the efforts of all who contribute time and energy to make this system the best in the state. However, it is embarrassing to have a school board member who abuses her position, looking for ways to create problems for our district. I appreciate the fact that other board members have taken a stand to keep these matters under control.” 12.336 “I am more fearful of expressing my views at school board meetings in front of community groups which might disagree with my opinion. I feel that if I express something which opposes their view, I might have a “target on my back.” I love teaching and spend a lot of time developing my craft, and feel that I know what is best for my students and the curriculum. However, I worry that my job security might be at risk if I express my views publicly. I support my family with my teacher’s income, our financial security can’t be jeopardized.” 12.340 “I am an employee and a parent in WCS. I believe in our work and commitment to students 100%. Unfortunately, for the first time in 17 years, the same can’t be said for our school board. I have never been so distrustful of them or disappointed by the actions of a few (Curlee, Cash, Emerson and Burgos). I’ve been embarrassed by things in the media and worried for the future of the district for my own children. I have never been politically active but now I am! I must speak up or watch us be taken under by people with an agenda that doesn’t match my own. Thank you for the opportunity to say so.” 12.343 “I fully support Dr. Looney and the direction in which he is leading our county. He puts students and teachers first. I wish the same could be said for some of our school board members.” 12.346 “I like these anonymous surveys! Would be nice to have more opportunities to give our opinions in a safe way. In fact, I would LOVE for the school board to allow us to voice our opinions more often as they make decisions that affect us and the students. Sometimes as I watch school board meetings I hear reasoning that truly reflects people that aren’t in a classroom with students every day. They are sometimes looking from one perspective rather than the range we actually see in our own classrooms.” 12.352 “I wish there was a stronger way to discipline/censure school board members who violate the board code of ethics and promote fear mongering tactics to push a political agenda, specifically Susan Curlee. I would support her immediate removal. She is a disgrace to this district and the mission of WCS.” 12.354 “Dr. Looney is doing an excellent job of dealing with board members who are making decisions that promote their own personal agendas instead of making decisions that are in the best interest of the students of Williamson County. It is ridiculous the amount of time and money that our board spends dealing with issues that aren’t even related to students.” 12.359 “I feel we need to communicate more internally. We work very hard to tell parents what’s going on but sometimes we don’t tell each other. I also feel that I can talk openly to some board members but there are a few that I do not feel comfortable talking to at all, one even scares me a little.” 12.362 “This is a great place to work! Lots of hard working people. My only concern is the School Board.” 12.363 “I feel some members of the school board (recently elected) are in it for the politics, and their first interest is not necessarily about the students & employees of WCS. The more experienced members of the board do seem to have the interests of WCS at heart, and I think are frustrated with some of the new members. I do feel that the personnel & leadership of WCS do have the interests of the students first and foremost. Occasionally there may be some disagreement as to method, etc., but I feel these are discussions of how to best serve our students, and are actually healthy. The constant shenanigans by a few members of the board are selfish and unhealthy. I cannot wait for the day when we can vote them back into private life.” 12.364 “I have only contacted a school board representative one time in eight years, and it was only with a clarifying question to help me answer parent and students’ questions about zoning. Instead of helpfully responding, that person contacted my head administrator and I was essentially scolded for having the gall to directly contact a board member. I have never felt comfortable doing so since then.” 12.368 “The school board needs to get Susan Curlee and Beth Burgos under control. The climate they are creating is harmful to me as an employee and my children as students.” 12.379 “I would have never felt fear in expressing my views to the school board until now, beginning August 2015.” 12.380 “Dr. Looney is doing a good job in difficult circumstances. The troublesome school board members, notably Curlee, are a huge drain on the system’s ability to focus on what matters most.” 12.389 “I 100% do not trust the school board. I not only fear expressing my opinions to them, but to ANYONE for fear of it getting to them.” 12.396