What will cause Rhonda Corr to be shown the door?

From her first presentation to the community I thought Rhonda Corr wasn’t ready for running a district with as many problems as Dayton has. The last year and a half has shown I was right.

Screen shot of board of ed agenda

Adil was still on the board this afternoon.

Tomorrow night, the Dayton Board of Education is set to meet in a hastily called extra meeting to discuss the issue of “preschool.” Note, there are no items to vote on, there is no posted set of options, or points of discussion. It’s the most uninformative agenda known to man. Until I pointed it out this afternoon- it also still had Adil Baguirov listed as a board member- but, that’s been fixed.

There is no mention of executive session, but, from what I’ve heard, there will be one.

I still don’t have a copy of the investigative report that was ordered by the board attorney after former Assistant Superintendent Dr. Markay Winston left the district and claimed discrimination. 

According to Board Member Joe Lacey, who spoke to the Dayton Daily News after the board meeting where Corr was put on admin leave, it wasn’t discrimination that was the cause, it was something else the investigators found.

This, of course, is what makes investigative reporting a challenge, and despite having lots of other stuff to do, I started digging.

First thing I found was that Dr. Winston hadn’t filed a lawsuit in Montgomery County, but Rhonda had filed for a divorce. Apparently, there was an issue with her filing locally, since her spouse lived in Cleveland still. There, I found the filing, and that there was a restraining order against both parties, however, the “rule 24” seems to be used on every divorce. The only surprise is that she’d been married to a woman.

She had filed to divorce a Cheryl A. Dzuro of Cleveland on 3 Oct of 2017. Dzuro currently works as an Athletic Director for Cleveland Public Schools.

On the 20 of Oct, another divorce filing in Cuyahoga county was made– with Cheryl as the Plaintiff- and in the docket there was this entry:


They were married July 7, 2007 in Provincetown Ma, and “incompatibility” was cited for the reason for divorce. Never mind that Corr had moved to Chicago in 2013 and then to Indianapolis in 2015  and then to Dayton in 2016 , while Dzuro staid put. Timing of job changes and marriage don’t point to any problems from Cleveland with an inappropriate relationship between co-workers.

Divorce isn’t grounds for being put on admin leave, so goose egg there.

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Rhonda A Corr Resume- pre-Dayton. PDF- click to download

Searching for info on Corr was made more difficult because she’s gone by so many different names. When she first came to town- it wasn’t Corr-Dzuro, or Rhonda Dzuro, it was Corr- Sergert. Apparently she’d married Bradley J. Saegert March 15, 1986 in Loraine Ohio, when she was 20- and I couldn’t find the divorce. Brad has moved on from what I could see.

One little surprise was when she was still Rhonda Saegert, and was arrested and charged with DUI in 2002 in Elyria/Norwalk.  That isn’t cause for dismissal either, at least not with the speed that this board operated with.

It had to be something bigger. I started to think either she lied about qualifications, or committed a heinous crime. Checking all her names, and Cleveland, Chicago, Indianapolis and Dayton, I kept coming up with goose-eggs, but did find a copy of her resume.

Maybe it will come in handy for review when we finally find out what the investigation turned up.

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PDF of first and second drafts of Rhonda Corr performance evaluations- click to download

The only other item I had to review was the draft and final copies of her performance review. The two documents are as different as night and day. The first draft, done by and signed off by the committee which included Joe Lacey and Dr. Hazel Rountree said Rhonda still needed work in more than a few areas. She needed work on taking responsibility instead of blaming others, mediating and working with people she disagrees with, her insight on big picture items was questioned, district management and educational programs weren’t her strong suite either.

By the second draft- which was abbreviated, she needed work in Leadership skills, Responsiveness, Cooperation and Insight.

The final draft- signed off on by Dr. Walker and Ms. Corr, didn’t have any deficiencies. She was Wonder Woman. Normally on documents like this, the committee chair would also sign off- but McManus’s signature is absent.

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PDF of final Rhonda Corr performance evaluation- click to download

Ruminations of an intervention on this by Dr. Baguirov in his waning days of being the bully of the boardroom, were given as the reason the final review was so good. Of course, when the board can’t admit is made a mistake, the last thing you do is say so be evaluating your mistake as an A+ performer.

What’s crazy is that before the Board went into executive session, they were considering voting to give Rhonda reimbursement for something from 2016. I’d protested this late addition to the agenda, and as usual, the amount and reason for this action were missing.

I’ve requested that info as well and received nothing.

What will happen in the next days or weeks in the pending action against Corr will be interesting.

The real problem is that this important action is taking place with three lame duck board members, Dr. Rountree, Ron Lee and Joe Lacey (Baguirov resigned after I pushed the day after I proved he no longer lived in the district). The board rightfully added Rev. William Harris, the highest vote recipient in the November election. This puts the incoming board on the outside of the process- and leaves them with little room for legal input on the decisions being made. If Lee, Lacey and Rountree are just feeling a sense of responsibility for fixing their mess- fine, but wouldn’t it be better to do the hand-off sooner than later? Remember, the DEA had voted no-confidence in both the Superintendent and the board. Moving to the new board would help mend fences- since the DEA endorsed all of the new board members.

There are plenty of posts about Corr and her turmoil, going back to the mid-school year RIF that was miffed, the sale of properties, the failure to award contracts on their own timeline, the buyout of David Lawrence who was passed over by this board, her contract, the Mark Baker contract, the strike- the list is long. I didn’t ingratiate myself by writing this really long post back on Nov 17 of 2016, The calamity named Rhonda Corr or the more recent post where I called her, well, the headline says it all: Rhonda Corr, the sociopath superintendent, those aren’t words that come easily to post, but when you post every single job as a move against your core employees- there weren’t any other words to use. Yet, even after that fiasco, the school board president was willing to sign off on a glowing performance review.

When we finally do find out what caused the board to place Rhonda on admin leave, one has to ask if Dr. Walker, who signed off on the glowing review that didn’t match the early drafts, has any business staying on the board. I’ve called for all three to tender their resignations to the new board once they take office, since the DEA has no faith in them. These issues will need revisiting.

When the board first started interviewing Corr, a scathing comment warned off her unsuitability to lead anything more than an Easter Egg hunt, but I took it down because it included many unsubstantiated claims. Maybe soon, we’ll find out if they were true.



And they are leaving in droves. DPS loses 36 teachers on resignation day

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PDF of resignations and HR issues for 11 Jul 17 board meeting. Click to read

It’s not funny anymore.

Today, July 10, was the final day to officially quit Dayton Public Schools- even though there is no contract.

Five administrators quit- including the only person in the district who could edit their website- Jill Drury. The hiring process for the new person to run their marketing hasn’t begun, or at least, they haven’t contacted the candidates.

Teachers and administrators we already told you about were announced, but, the part that hurts the most? 36 teachers headed out for greener pastures. Including 2 more from Stivers, the one building good teachers try to get into.

One of the teachers resigning was teacher of the year a few years back. And, btw- 36 teachers is like losing an entire school full- in one day.

Considering the district looks to be going on strike this fall, how many teachers will be lining up to work here? Exactly.

There were also some odd adjustments being made. All the top administrators now get $350 a month for business expenses. Maybe, because no one was watching this before.

And- adjustments had to be made- including $16,484.90 to Dr. Winston who quit and you read it first here. The money will come in handy, to pay her lawyer for the lawsuit that is probably coming against the district for EEOC violations and adverse working conditions.

When you have to make “one time payments” this big to fix something- most people would wonder who was asleep at the wheel? Why isn’t someone getting fired?

From Board Docs:

Dr. Elizabeth Lolli – $12,892.18 (one-time payment)

Dr. Markay Winston – $13,484.90 (one-time payment)

Dr. Markay Winston – $3,000.00 (one-time payment)

Source: BoardDocs® Pro

Speaking of getting fired, some of the board members are at a point where they are seriously considering if it’s worth it to keep Rhonda Corr, or better to just pay her off to go away.

If you add up all the resignations for the year of teachers- it’s over 20% turnover. Anyone in business will tell you, 20% annual turnover is deadly.

If this district were a horse, someone would shoot it.

Dunbar Football coach AGAIN.

One other thing on the agenda for tomorrow night- Coach James Lacking, the head Dunbar football coach before Darran Powell, declined the position on line 43. Line 255 is another attempt to hire Darran Powell back. Last time, since Ron Lee abstained, and Baguirov wasn’t there and Taylor and Lacey said no– leaving only 3 to vote. We’ll see if the vote comes out different tomorrow night. And, btw- don’t come expecting to speak- this is another one of their endless Review sessions.

DPS as the wheels fall off

Tonight at 5:30pm should be an epic board meeting. Never mind that the teachers union and the district aren’t talking, but, there are certainly things to talk about.

As we reported last Thursday. Dr. Markay Winston, the handpicked Chief Academic Officer’s resignation is on the agenda. How can a board have faith in a superintendent who can’t keep her own deputies on the job?

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.

Bus changes, Athletics process and procedures and more in store at Dayton Public Schools

They’ve spent money on coaching for the board and superintendent on how to run a meeting.

Unfortunately, they all must have failed the class. Last night, I filmed another 3 hour “strategic planning discussion” meeting, with most of it being pointless speeches by pompous board members (and Ron Lee and Dr. Hazel Rountree weren’t even there).

First question. Which board member suggested a newcomers/international academy? Rhonda Corr is very proud of her work in one with Cleveland Public Schools, which was a loving, caring, comforting, happy place. Of course, isn’t that what all of DPS should be shot back Sheila Taylor? We’ve now spent hours discussing some vague plan to put all the international students at Meadowdale, since the campus goes from K-12.  However, we’ve not figured out what to do with kids who are already spread out all over the district. Nor, do we know what to do with programs like Ruskin which are immersive bilingual and doing well all on their own. No one in the room has any institutional knowledge going back to the old ESL program at Miami Chapel, or the dumping of all the foreign kids at Patterson Kennedy before they tore it down.

Not a single ESL teacher was asked to speak, and Dr. Roberson really didn’t have a plan to present. Corr keeps asking for guidance from the board- and gets none. Some numbers of enrollment in DPS were provided (about 150 new kids a year, and it’s been trending up). I just love it when board members sit at their seat and try to research things on the fly- Joe Lacey pulling up census data. Doh!

No resolution, no plan, no next steps. Just waste time and move on to next disaster.

Longfellow. Dr. Sheila Burton talked to an unspecified architect and construction person, and started bandying big numbers around on what it would take to fix Longfellow- which like all DPS property- is suffering from deferred maintenance. $6 million bucks, give or take. Remember, the school only has about 60 students. There is talk about consolidating them at Gardendale or Gorman, or who knows where, but they need work too. There is no one tasked to manage this project, there are no deadlines, there are no assessments, but people seem to think getting the building historic landmark status is a good idea- because, well, all of them are skilled developers with preservation experience. Doh!

No plan, no resolution, no next steps. Just waste time and move on to the next disaster.

A new bus schedule is in the works. Was anyone from transportation there to explain it? Hell no. We’re switching back to a 3 tier schedule, which means we’ll have three different route slots. This way drivers will run three schedules instead of two. They’ll also travel less. New restrictions that there will be no routes longer than 30 minutes in length, and then the kicker- we’re going back to four zones, with kids only being able to go to school in their zone. No discussion of what this means for specialty schools like the Boys Academy or Charity Early school for girls. No discussion of grandfathering in students so they won’t have to change schools. Bam, there it is. We’d like to promote the pay the parents option- we’ll pay you $250 a year to get your kid to school- something not many parents know about.

This wasn’t so much a waste of time- just unanswered questions.

Another discussion of “Sensory rooms” was given by Dr. Roberson who has found federal dollars to build these new solutions to misbehaving children. They are going to add 5 a year each year to elementary buildings for the next three years. By 2020 we should have one in every building. There was no description of what these rooms entail, what training goes with them, or what they bring to the table other than being a better option than handcuffing students. Yet, Corr still had to stick her foot in her mouth and undo all the good will by suggesting that from now on, we just call Dayton Police instead to deal with kids who are out of control- aye carumba- wasn’t that why we hired “School Resource Officers” in the first place? So we wouldn’t have cops in schools?

I still don’t know what these are, if they work, when they work and what’s involved. However, they are apparently the new alternative to handcuffs. ’nuff said.

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Accountability Plan presentation for “transforming Dayton Public Schools Athletics”

Then the crown jewel. Even though District Athletic Director Mark Baker couldn’t calculate eligibility, we’re to believe that he and Dr. Markay Winston have been holed up together coming up with the new “Accountability Plan for Transforming DPS Athletics”- Winston was there- Baker, no where to be seen. After we learned all about the new org chart with straight lines and dashed lines (and looking a bit like spilled spaghetti) several board members gushed over it. Sheila Taylor thinks this is just great. Joe Lacey on the other hand, seemed to not care at all- as if he’d written off athletics altogether. He thinks athletics shouldn’t get any more attention than other part of DPS.

The plan really looked more like a Winston/Spurlock (Judy Spurlock HR Director) creation than a Baker one. New was the magic word since apparently we’d been running the organization without job descriptions,  operations manual, protocols for OHSAA infractions/violations, employee monitoring or even financial controls. We’re going to create a new “Student Athlete Eligibility Warning System,” have mandatory study tables, a student athlete summer leadership symposium and a new 90-90-90 “non-negotiable rule for sports participation- which Dr. Winston couldn’t remember what it was. The new hiring process was highlighted- as were the board imposed conditions that aren’t visible until you start to apply.

There was also a presentation by Dr. Elizabeth Lolli about summer school. It seems we keep moving the enrollment deadline later and later, and still don’t have the participation we’d hoped to have, despite dropping the fee to either $25 or free (I’m sorry- I can’t remember). They’ve sent out flyers and still don’t have near the number of students enrolled that they want. John McManus suggested consulting with their ad agency, The Ohlmann Group, but was shot down.

They’ve hired a private company to run the courses, but, the private company has to hire DPS teachers first. Since enrollment isn’t finalized, it’s making it hard to staff appropriately. There is also a big bill for transportation. Seemed to sound like it was going to cost at least $1000 per student without transportation costs factored in. Of course, since none of these documents or presentations were uploaded for the public on Board Docs- or even the details of any of these plans, and this was at a meeting where the public isn’t allowed to speak, one has to wonder WTF is really going on?

Three hours after the start of the circus, those brave souls who were in the peanut gallery were treated to an adjournment without them going into executive session for once.

Now we can look forward to the next meeting, on 5/9/17 where we have a “review meeting” where constituents can’t speak, before we get to the “business meeting” on 5/16/17 where I imagine we’ll have a huge turnout again to speak their minds about these latest brainstorms of Rhonda Corr and crew.