Tuesday, March 17, 2015

My Open Letter to the Fox C-6 BOE Regarding the Hiring of School District Leadership

I emailed the Fox C-6 School Board the following letter this morning regarding the hiring of future leaders in our school district.

I emailed board president John Laughlin and Dr. Wipke very early Monday morning in which I expressed my concerns about the hiring of the next Seckman Elementary School principal. I never received a response to my email.

I decided to send this email after I noticed last night that Angie Burns Baker, the wife of assistant superintendent Dan Baker, was listed as the 2015-2016 Director of Federal Programs in the March 2015 board meeting packet that was posted online Friday March 13, 2015.

The link below contains a copy of the Employment of Certified Employees Report from the March 2015 Fox C-6 school board meeting packet.

The Fox C-6 Board of Education (BOE) will be meeting tonight in Closed Session at 5:30PM prior to Public Comments. Therefore the board will most likely be making hiring decisions prior to hearing any Public Comments from the community.

Fox's BOE is expected to be making hiring decisions for the Fox High School, Seckman High School and Seckman Elementary School principal positions as well as the Fox C-6 Food Nutrition Director.

Below is the letter I emailed to the Fox C-6 BOE Tuesday morning March 17, 2015.

It is critical that the Fox C-6 school board be completely transparent in the hiring of future leaders of the Fox C-6 School District. This includes the Fox and Seckman High School and Seckman Elementary principals as well as the next Food Nutrition Director.
 The school board failed miserably in December 2012 when it approved the hiring of Kelly Nash as Fox’s Food Nutrition Director over individuals who already possessed the credentials required for the job. That one decision was the straw that broke the camel’s back and the one that led to the public disgrace of our school district and the embarrassment and humiliation of the Fox C-6 community.
 School board policy requires that the superintendent only recommends individuals to the board for hire who already possess the proper certification and education. School board policy was not followed when the board hired Kelly Nash in 2012. It was obvious then and now that she was chosen because she was the daughter in law of former Fox C-6 board member Linda Nash who was the board president at the time of her hiring. The taxpayers paid the price for that decision as well as members of the community who spoke out about that decision.
 Kelly Nash’s hire was very similar to the hiring of Gee Palmer, the wife of current school board member and incumbent school board candidate David Palmer as the Director of Nursing in June 2006.
 David Palmer was the president of the Fox C-6 school board in 2006 when his wife was promoted to Director of Nursing position and given a 75% pay increase ahead of other nurses who were more qualified and who had many more years of service with the district.
 You are now faced with another decision that will forever shape the legacy of the Fox C-6 School District and the Fox C-6 board when you select new leaders for Seckman Elementary, Seckman High School and Fox High School.
 The individuals you choose to lead our teachers and our students should not bring with them any immoral or unethical baggage from the past.
 You are practicing Willful Blindness by even allowing Dan Baker to be a finalist for the position as Seckman Elementary School principal given his past misdeeds and inability to ensure that Fox C-6 was compliant with federal law as assistant superintendent for more than 6 years.
 You will forever be judged by the community by the decisions in choosing new district leadership.
 I am extremely disappointed to learn that you have already given notice in the March 2015 board packet that Angela Burns Baker will be the 2015-2016 Director of Federal Programs.
 Since you are elected officials and represent the taxpayers and patrons of the Fox C-6 School District you are entrusted to make the best choices for our school district.
 How did Mr. Baker become one of 3 finalist for the Seckman Elementary principal position given the fact that derogatory comments were traced to his home and a cell phone owned by the Bakers? Were any Fox school board members part of the screening process for the principal position? Please provide a list to the Public of the candidates for the principal positions in the school district and the members of the committee panels that interviewed the candidates and made recommendations to the selections. It’s imperative that the Fox C-6 school board be transparent and represent the community in an honest and open manner and that all decisions are made aboveboard according to school district policy.
 I am requesting that you please email me a list of all persons that served on the interview/hiring committees and all candidates for the recent job openings in the school district for the Fox and Seckman High school principal positions,  the Seckman Elementary principal position and the Food Nutrition Director position. It’s imperative that this information be published on the school district website in order to rebuild the trust of the community. There are rumblings that individuals that participated on the selection committees were chosen in order to narrow the selection to favor our disgraced assistant superintendents.
 It’s hard to believe that anyone in our community would have considered Dan Baker as a potential candidate for the Seckman Elementary School principal position. Very few people are going to believe that Mr. Baker was ranked above other candidates in terms of integrity and honesty given his past indiscretions. His selection as one of the best candidates gives the impression that our district is still not operating aboveboard.
 In order to maintain any trust with the community everything done by the board needs to be done with full disclosure to the community. If not, all hires will be extremely scrutinized by the public!
 I certainly hope that you can face the public and be proud of your decision after approving the hiring of new leadership in our school district.
  Thank you,
 Rich Simpson