Every minute that Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) reign supreme under Rhonda Corr, the talent makes plans to leave. The board, unwilling to admit their massive failure of hiring Corr, of keeping Baker (while turning Darren Powell into the only fall guy), of the insane Reduction in Force mid-year, the questionable real estate deals negotiated by Adil Baguirov (and maybe Corr?), the botched buyout of David Lawrence (probably their only option for a superintendent), then the failure to investigate allegations that Baguirov didn’t even live in the district, then allowing him to somehow negotiate a bus deal, without action by purchasing (an insane violation of board policy) followed by the resignation and pending investigation into the short lived tenure of Rhonda’s hand picked Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Markay Winston….
and now- the envelope please…. Leaving the Dayton Public Schools
Dwon Bush is leaving the district to be an Elementary School Principal in Huber Heights- if her name sounds familiar, it’s because they tried to RIF her, and had a student make a compelling plea to keep her.
Vanisa Turney-Crews, an assistant principal at Kiser is leaving to be the Director of Curriculum and Instruction in Huber Heights.
Taylor Porter, who was Corr’s initial pick to be the principal at Meadowdale when the fan hit the shan, is going to Westerville to be an assistant principal.
Monica Utley, the principal of Fairview- gone.
Valerie Herdman, a future principal- gone.
Sam Eckhardt a superstar high school math teacher at Thurgood- leaving for Xenia. Math teachers are hard to come by.
Ralph Davis – is leaving, one of the key players in the Males of Color program.
And, because they haven’t had their new contracts boarded in their new assignments- there are at least 2 more principals leaving Dayton and 1 more administrator.
The resignation deadline is July 10. There will be plenty more. And while next week there are going to be 2 meetings to negotiate a contract, Corr is the reason that talks got shelved until August.
As long as she’s on top, people are gonna go.
Best case scenario: The board investigates Baguirov, he resigns, Lee and Rountree step down early as they both clearly are tiring of the fight, 3 people who’ve successfully turned in petitions get picked randomly for filling in until the election.
The new board invalidates the Baker contract- fires Corr for cause, fires Hiwot Abraha who can’t get her work done on time, or run purchasing legally, brings back Darran Powell as Head Football Coach (we don’t have time for this sideshow) and gets down on their knees to ask Lawrence to step in as interim.
If they ask nice enough, he may even come in and count part of his buyout as pay until next June.
If they don’t stop the resignations, and get a tentative contract in place before July 7, 2017- or at least have a man with a plan, their may not be enough people to put on a show next year. My guess, is instead, we’ll see that Baguirov has successfully completed his mission- to turn the district into such a clusterduck that the State can come in and turn the whole district into a charter and hand it over to the alternate “school board” Learn to Earn Dayton, and make sure the right people get paid off.
The longer lists of resignations are coming. If you are planning to resign, feel free to contact me to be added to the list. Tell me where you’re going and why if you’d like the public to know what the Reign of Corr hath brought. [email protected]
Update: 1 hour after publishing- have unconfirmed reports of another star principal leaving, and one who is considered a grand dame- may be fed up and turning in her resignation as well if Corr isn’t removed ASAP.
At last nights Dayton Board of Education circus, there were two prepared speeches. One was on the agenda, and was supposed to go before citizen comments- from John McManus, and the other, came out of left field and was read by Joe Lacey.
Lacey was grandstanding, suggesting that the board that brought this rookie superintendent into the district to raise havoc, was soundly behind the teachers and valued them. This despite the breakdown of contract negotiations after Rhonda Corr kicked the professional negotiators out and tried to do it herself.
Talk is cheap. And Lacey is the only one running for re-election.
I’d not prepared a speech, because I was hoping to respond or build on what McManus would say. I knew something was coming, although I didn’t know what it would be. As usual, he’s too much of a southern gentleman to actually name names or point a finger directly, but, it was a well reasoned preamble to either firing Corr, or changing business as usual.
Here’s what hasn’t been said- since last years resignation deadline, 135 teachers have already resigned. Despite what HR Director Judy Spurlock said last week at the review session, this is a huge number, and it will grow by July 10, this years deadline. There isn’t a teacher or an administrator in the district that has faith in Rhonda Corr, with the possible exceptions of Dr. Sheila Burton who has turned into Rhonda’s lap dog, and LaMark Baker, who owes his career to her. Any other superintendent and board would have fired him, the Dunbar AD Pete Pullen, and the Dunbar Coach Darren Powell after the Dunbar fiasco game. As we saw yesterday, this derelict board decided to pin all the responsibility on Darren Powell, wrongly. He’s probably the least culpable of the above in this matter.
I asked McManus for the text of his speech, and thought it should be published. Between his speech, which Sheila Taylor actually stood and clapped for after, and the overruling of the superintendents recommendation to rehire Powell, we started to see visible questioning of Corr’s future at the helm.
My prediction is that she won’t last 3 months. The lawsuits will begin to expose her working style and lack of leadership, as well as other questionable practices. I’ll also be surprised if this board isn’t replaced wholesale before the end of July- as resignations mount and the floodgates open from depositions and legal filings against the board.
Here is the McManus speech as written-
John McManus, reading to DPS kids. This is the only board member who gets it.
Last week I had the pleasure of traveling to our nation’s capitol, something I enjoy doing from time to time to take in the history and the magic of the place. While there, I took the opportunity to visit a small national landmark, a quiet place that was intimately special and familiar to one of our nation’s founding fathers. As I walked the grounds and reflected on my own life, I found myself overcome with a profound sense of gratitude to the people of this community who have given me the incredible opportunity to serve in this elected system of government that has been left to us by many who came before us.
At that moment, I promised myself that I would spend my remaining time on this Board giving it every single thing I could to earn the tremendous honor that the people of Dayton have given me. I promised myself that I would no longer allow myself to be content when I should demand more. The people of this community deserve no less. Towards that effort, I would like to re-commit myself to my campaign promises to the people, and also make my own expectations known as we close one school year and hurdle towards the next.
I ran for this seat for three primary reasons. The first was due to the fact that I thought I could put my government experience to use in helping this District navigate its way out of a takeover by state government. It struck me as a fascinating challenge. Thanks to the incredible work of our amazing teachers, our staff, students, and parents, that threat is now gone for the foreseeable future.
The next reason I chose to run is because I wanted to put my experience in public sector human resources to work, hoping to improve the District’s once-dismal HR office. No government agency can expect to be well-performing if its HR office if failing. Under the strong leadership of Judy Spurlock, our human resources office is now miles ahead of where it once was, and I am so proud of her and her staff for transforming DPS HR into what I knew it could be.
The next reason that I chose to run was to take my passion for public sector administration to our community’s school district and help oversee a large scale government agency in the hopes of making it the most effective and efficient that it could be.
With the takeover threat gone for now and with the knowledge that our HR department is in the best health it has been in in a very long time, I am re-committing myself to my promise to deeply focus on administrative effectiveness and efficiency. This year has been a year of large-scale administrative changes downtown. We have a new superintendent, a new treasurer, new administrators in new positions, and long-term administrators in different positions than they once held. By now, I am confident that everyone sufficiently understands their role, and I am making a promise to my constituents to do everything that I can to help the administration effectively run this district.
I have worked in government my entire life. I’ve worked for the federal government, state government, and local government. I’ve worked in the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch. Having served in all three branches of government and at all three levels of government, I have seen what it takes to ensure that a government agency runs well.
There is one common denominator, and that is planning.
We have done some incredible things at Dayton Public this year. We’ve provided expanded learning and development to our teachers. We successfully ensured the roll out of the 1 to 1 technology program. We selected and utilized Achieve 3000 and Imagine Learning to support a differentiated and personalized support system. We implemented the gold standard of ongoing assessments, that being NWEA. We have brought career technical education programs to every single high school, and we launched the Dayton Innovative Virtual Academy. The State of Ohio has commended DPS on our groundbreaking TBT, BLT, and DLT model. We’ve invested long-overdue resources in transportation, and we’ve invested in new text books and a course of study where one had not been introduced in 6 years. Everyone in this District, from the superintendent, staff, teachers, parents, and students have my most sincere appreciation for ensuring this progress.
While applauding this progress, it is absolutely fundamental that Dayton Public Schools begin to sufficiently engage in long term and short term planning, and communicate that plan both internally and externally in a consistent and robust way. Our staff expect it, and they deserve it.
In the coming year, I will make it a non-negotiable requirement that I be provided with weekly updates from the administration of what is being done throughout the District. A Board cannot effectively carry out its responsibility of oversight if it is not well informed. Moreover, I will require monthly status reports on progress made that is specific to our strategic plan. We have a strategic plan, but I cannot recall the last time that we as a group sat down, studied it, and asked what progress has been made in critical areas outlined on the plan. No government agency can even hope to be performing at an optimal level if it does not develop a plan, continuously reference its plan, and dedicate itself to implementing the provisions of its plan with discipline in its execution. The plan must have appropriate point persons, coupled with actual deadlines, and specific ways in which to measure progress.
My intent here is not to micromanage. My intent is to do my job as a supervisor in ensuring that my employees are adhering to their own strategic plan in a disciplined and effective way. The people of Dayton elected me, and all of us on this Board, to do exactly that.
The most effective bosses I had were the ones who expected consistent, thorough, and reliable progress reports from me on the plan that they and I set up together. I hope to do the same for those that answer to this Board, as it will help all of us stay relentlessly focused on a charted course aimed at student achievement. Remember: accountability is not punishment. Accountability is evidence of proper management.
Finally, I will specifically refer to two examples where insufficient planning led to dissolution of order and discipline. The first example is that of the proposed reduction of force of building employees in the middle of the academic year. Although I was opposed to the RIF, I can readily acknowledge that its primary reason for falling apart was the fundamentally insufficient planning of what would come after the RIF. In fact, we had failed to replace multiple positions in senior management at the transportation garage for months after the RIF, leaving our director of transportation doing his best to lead our entire operation on his own. Our students, families, educators, and staff deserve a reliable transportation system, and I cannot help but wonder if better succession planning would have helped avoid confusion and embarrassment related to busing this year. We cannot lead and make critical and strategic decisions when the planning is insufficient.
The next example is that of the process surrounding the acquisition of marketing services. At the beginning of the year, I made a video informing my constituents that one of my three top priorities this year would be the implementation of an effective marketing program at Dayton Public Schools. This responsibility is a sacred one for me, as I was asked to approve others to speak for me to my constituents who gave me the honor of sitting in this seat. It pained me to vote against the proposal, considering that marketing was one of my highest priorities. The RFP and RFQ process was ill-handled to the point that we had to start over. That kind of performance is unacceptable for a government agency with nearly 3,000 employees and an annual budget of hundreds of millions of dollars. By the end of the ordeal, I had little to no confidence in the process and little to no knowledge of the vendor’s actual plan of action to provide effective marketing for Dayton Public Schools. By now, we have spent a small fortune on marketing, and I can only hope that it has tangible and measurable results by the time enrollment numbers are provided to the Board.
I have said what I felt I needed to say. In the coming year, I expect more information, more coordination, and more planning. Updates to the Board are critical, as is relentless adherence to our strategic plan. Long term and short term planning must be at the heart of what we do, and that plan must be communicated externally and internally on a consistent and revolving basis.
I will remind you of my reference to all of the transformational changes that have occurred at Dayton Public Schools this year. To all of you who were responsible for its implementation, I am so thankful to you for a job well done there. In the year ahead, let our planning and communication be at the center of all we do, and you will see that the changes that have been made this year are only the beginning.
School board member, John McManus, Business meeting, 20 Jun 2017
It has been revealed that the DEA and the professional DPS negotiating team are scheduled to meet with the Federal mediator separately in early July. The goal is to put a contract in place to stop anymore teachers from leaving the district and to begin the slow process of rebuilding respect between the parties.
I don’t see any hope for this district with either the current Superintendent or board and believe both should be removed by a judge, who can evaluate a number of insanely bad decisions, disruptions and questionable practices. Considering there are 14 people with petitions out right now, very easily the top 7 could be sworn in as soon as the election is completed in November. It would be up to the judge to say which of these existing board members should be allowed to run again.
In the meantime, an interim superintendent or superintendent team, should work hard at teacher retention, solving the bus/driver problems, and rebuilding the trust of the staff that’s stayed and the parents that haven’t walked.
The DPS board meeting was not streamed. And the end of my video will be the camera locked in, wide- because I was asked to leave by security.
Dr. Adil Baguirov was excused at the beginning because he was “traveling.” It’s probably the reason the tech steering committee meeting was cancelled today as well. Sadly, no staff is capable of running that meeting, because, well, there is no IT director for the district right now thanks to the Fall RIF.
This was a night for speeches. Board Member McManus was scheduled to speak before public comments- for a special presentation, but at the last minute, it was moved to after public comment. Yet, Joe Lacey got to make an unscheduled ramble about how important teachers are- because the house was once again packed with them- all wondering why contract negotiations were at a standstill.
Former DPS teacher “Mr. U”- Brian Urquhart got up and had the audience joining in – “it doesn’t buy the groceries, it doesn’t pay the bills” to address the lack of a contract.
I got up and apologized for interrupting the board meeting last week- because they couldn’t stay on topic, asking why teachers had lesson plans, and the board didn’t. I gave them an “F” and called for the board to get an independent parliamentarian to guide them- pointing out “new business” is for voting items- not for speeches, and that the superintendent is who they address- not staff. I questioned how 4 Stivers teachers are resigning- as well as her Chief Academic Officer- and how they can spend so much on legal fees- but still not have a negotiating team at the table.
One teacher in attendance wrote this on Facebook “Get out the BBQ sauce, because David Esrati just grilled the DPSBOE.”
But, the more interesting part was the McManus ramble of our refined Southern Gentleman- who had had enough of Board members working in the dark. He asked for a clear strategic plan, and regular updates on how we’re moving toward goals. It took a while, but it was clear by the end that he felt bamboozled by the Superintendent and the Treasurer on both the RIF and the Marketing Contract fiasco. It wasn’t fire and brimstone of one of our black ministers, but, for John McManus it was an epic earful. Considering at least 3 and probably 4 seats will be occupied by someone else come January, it was pretty clear that this superintendent better learn how to inform the board better or she may be gone.
Then came the HR vote. That four teachers were leaving Stivers was unheard of. It wasn’t mentioned. What did happen is Joe Lacey asked for line 91 to be voted separately. Since Board Doc’s is worthless on mobile- I had to ask Dayton Daily news reporter Jeremy Kelley to confirm what I thought line 91 was – and it was the supplemental contract to hire Darren Powell as coach of the Dunbar football team for next fall. The role was called, Ron Lee abstained, later blaming it on his many absences. McManus, Walker, Rountree voted yes, Lacey voted no and then Taylor voted no. Lacey chimed in “it takes 4 to hire” and just like that- Darren Powell was publicly crucified for a whole bunch of peoples failures- including district Athletic Director LaMark Baker, who according to the Ohio High School Athletic Association was the primary party in the Dunbar/Belmont fiasco. The same Mark Baker that got a rushed 2 year contract a few months ago- before the ink on the reports was dry.
That they hired Belmont Coach/AD Earl White back to both positions just previous once again points to the failures of the DPS HR Department. The jobs were all specifically posted to exclude that possibility, making the entire athletic contract awards process tainted. Is it any wonder the board just allocated a quarter of a million plus for outside legal counsel. They know they’re going to need it.
After the vote, I got in trouble. I asked, “So who is going to be the Dunbar football coach?” Legitimate question. No response had me asking again. Because, well, you can’t have a team without a coach, and practice is NOW. This is a question the Superintendent should have had an answer for. This is proof that this board doesn’t respect their Superintendent by hanging her out to dry on her choice for head coach.
Many believe this entire mess was the final straw for Dr. Markay Winston, and why she resigned.
Needless to say, no one answered. But Rountree made a speech, Lee made excuses, and, if Walker said anything, I don’t remember it- possibly because I was talking on Mr. U’s phone to coach Powell’s father- outside the room.
Lawsuits may come, another coach may be named, but, all that vote did was screw the kids at Dunbar out of a coach, and leave the program in the midst of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. Exactly the wrong three words you want to hear when running anything, unless your goal is to run it into the ground.
Also on the agenda- is some athletic supplemental contracts. Apparently the district just figured out that August is too late to hire your football coaches. But, wait, there’s Belmont Football Coach Earl White- and, and, he’s both getting to be the AD and the Head Football Coach. Wasn’t that specifically banned in the job postings? Wasn’t this one of the things the principals all said- “fat chance Rhonda, we have a hard enough time getting qualified people into those positions.” How can they hire based on postings that were wrong without inviting lawsuits?
And as if the Dunbar/Belmont fiasco didn’t happen, coach Darren Powell will get to continue with the Dunbar program. Net result of this fiasco for those involved- AD Pete Pullen stepped down, Baker gets a 2 year undeserved contract, and Winston, who was on top- resigns, although ostensibly, not over this mess.
The board is working on their evaluations of their hires- Corr, Treasurer Hiwot Abraha and internal auditor Randall Harper. Why they aren’t evaluating their legal counsel, executive secretary etc – I’m not sure.
Corr and Abraha deserve failing grades. Harper needs to find his voice. There are things that he should have stepped in and stopped multiple times, the most flagrant foul that he passed on was the involvement in the purchasing process by the ineligible board member Adil Baguirov with his bus buy. Board members don’t negotiate deals in districts that are run properly.
As to their legal counsel, there needs to be an evaluation of the districts legal strategies. The amount being spent on outside firms in addition to the internal position adds up quickly. The fact that the legal bills are mounting should figure partially into the performance review of Corr, who has become walking lawsuit bait. Additional lawsuits over the RIF are in the pipeline as are others about discrimination and adverse work environments.
Rumors are rampant that there are still teachers planning “resignation parties” before the July 10 deadline. The fact that there are teachers resigning from Stivers should set off alarm bells at the top. That’s the one building that’s got a positive work environment and is meeting expectations.
There may be some other surprises in store. We’ll have film running, and be there to watch the circus. If you care about DPS, you may want to be there too.
Abbot and Costello had a skit about funny names in baseball called “Who’s on first” and while it was funny, the Dayton Public Schools rendition tops it in complexity and isn’t funny at all.
The players? three Powells, a Pullen, a Baker and a candlestick maker (actually two principals, Ms. Phillips – Dunbar, and Ms. Walter, Belmont). Throw in a Bullens in a China store and the whole thing becomes more complex than it has to be.
While we already published Director of School Security Jamie Bullens report on the ineligible player and the OHSAA findings, we are still waiting for the transcripts of Mr. Bullens initial interviews, which were conducted individually, soon after the initial Belmont/Dunbar thrown game attempt.
The Transcripts from two OHSAA hearings on Belmont-Dunbar thrown game. Redacting players name
What we have for you today, is transcripts of the two visits to the OHSAA board. The first, is right after the game, on Oct. 31, 2016. The second, is on 27 Feb, 2017 which also had Mr. Bullens in attendance. The name of the player has been redacted.
They read like the skit- “who’s on first.” At one point, even the stenographer gets confused with all the Powells and starts referring to one as “Dr.” and another is Uncle Albert.
What becomes ridiculously obvious is that the coaches, the building athletic director and the district athletic director have no clue on how to calculate eligibility. It’s pretty clear that both building principals knew- and made it clear that the kid in question wasn’t eligible.
There was also a bit of finger pointing- since the Belmont principal accessed the district system to check the eligibility of the Dunbar player and was the one who informed the Dunbar Principal, who ostensibly didn’t know he was ineligible. At this point, no one had figured out that he had already played the previous week and was ineligible then. #FAIL
The coaches hadn’t played the player, but had let him dress for “team photos” the night of the big game. This was a mistake of convenience, and set the scene for the next screw up- which is being piled on District AD Mark Baker who supposedly came to the game and had started recalculating grades- something he, Pete Pullen and the Powells shouldn’t have been allowed to do.
It’s pretty obvious reading the transcripts that we’re dealing with athletes, not scholars. The grammar is abysmal. Why was it so important this kid play? Dunbar was winning without him. The answer comes down to either- because he’s got people looking at him for scholarship, or, the more likely reason, he’s related to one of the coaching staff. (updated Wed May 7, 2017 after confirmation that this is not true from an informed reader. We drew this from the OSHAA transcript- but it was talking about the Powell’s relationship- sorry).
Either way, it’s clear that the Principals both said don’t play him, laying the blame clearly on the coaches, the building AD and the district AD. Who came up with the insane idea to lose the game to try to make this all OK- doesn’t really matter at this point. None of these people demonstrated the kind of personal integrity we’d expect from coaches. The kids grades sucked. He shouldn’t have been playing the week before, he shouldn’t have dressed, and the real question is why none of these people had been able to explain to him that there is no future for him in sports if he can’t get better grades.
We have to do better. Building AD Pete Pullen resigned from his AD position. That was the right thing to do. As to the Powells and Baker? Maybe we should use the Mark Baker solution to work things out- let them all fight each other. (Baker let his basketball players fight at Trotwood- ending his coaching tenure there).
Bullens 2nd Report- after OHSAA investigations
However, the smoking gun belongs to the former Dayton cop who heads security for DPS. Jamie Bullens did two investigations, and seemed to ignore the issue that brought the censure- the who told who to throw the game. Trough both his first report, he doesn’t mention it. He seems to have not asked for the OHSAA transcript from Oct. 31st. And in his second report, to the board, because Joe Lacey seemed to miss the whole thrown game part of the sanctions, only having read Bullens’ first report- he again, barely scratches the surface of what the OHSAA transcript reveals.
It becomes clear his directive was to protect Baker and shift blame to the Powells and Pullen. It’s the Inspector Clouseau report- not the Magnum PI report.
In the meantime, “A. Powell” claimed to have a recording of Baker telling him to throw the game, but lost it after sharing with just a few people. The real question is did any of them save it- and will it surface next?
The Board rushed last week to extend Baker’s contract for two years. Soon after, the anonymous letter outlines plenty of other problems with Baker. Tonight, they unveiled their “Accountability Plan for Transforming DPS Athletics” which was presented by Dr. Winston. Board member Sheila Taylor practically fell all over herself to congratulate Dr. Winston and Mark Baker for coming up with this new system. It’s integrated with a new electronic HR system implemented by HR Director Judy Spurlock.
I’ll have it posted tomorrow. What else was revealed tonight is that there are conditions for employment that aren’t included in the publicly posted job descriptions. You have to actually login and begin the application process to find these conditions.
I just applied to be a coach.
Here they are, hidden behind a login:
You are required to fill out this questionnaire to continue with this request.
* Have you had any reprimands (verbal or written) related to your coaching responsibilities in Dayton Public Schools or any other school district?
* Have you had any OHSAA allegations related to your coaching responsibilities in Dayton Public Schools or any other school district?
* Have you had any OHSAA violations related to your coaching responsibilities in Dayton Public Schools or any other school district?
Why did the district do this? To not rehire the Powells and Pullen. Yet, Baker already had a 2 year contract previous to these restrictions being put in place.
There is no excuse for this.
Baker was the one who was trying to recalculate the grades mid-game, when the principal’s had already said no and the head coach hadn’t played the kid. Take him out of this equation, and none of this would have happened.
Millennial Medical dissolution filing
Dissolving Montgomery Medical
Factor in the other allegations in the anonymous letter- and a full investigation is warranted, but not by Bullens. It has to be an independent investigation at this point.
That the Board is adding these conditions, that they rushed to rehire Baker, all point to a lack of integrity that fits with their former actions- from the RIF, the real estate deals, the marketing contract, the rehire of Corr despite her poor performance, their inability to police their own member who doesn’t live in the district and then does the purchase deal on the buses despite his conflict of interest and then votes on it.
If you need any further proof that Baguirov is being given time to manufacture his defense- he’s now shut down two of his shell corporations since I first revealed them in the post: International Man of Mystery: Adil Baguirov on April 5, 2017.
There is plenty wrong with this district, but the best explanation of it comes from the transcript of the OHSAA hearing in February- unfortunately, we don’t know if it is Albert or Alfred:”MR. A. POWELL: The district is broken.”
Abbot and Costello couldn’t have said it better.