The danger of inviting headhunters into your zoo

The community input meeting was set to start at 5:30 pm at Riversedge Montosori today. It started at 6. Mama Nozipio was very unhappy- she thinks it’s disrespectful to not start on time and I’m right there with her.

It’s almost deja vu- the same room where 7 years or so ago, the board presented their three choices from their “national search” for a superintendent to replace Lori Ward who they’d made miserable. Of their 3 choices, one has had his superintendents license revoked, the one internal candidate left the district asap, and the third, who they hired, Rhonda Corr, didn’t make it 18 months before she was shown the door. That meeting was where David Lawrence didn’t make the cut, thanks to the incompetence of the board then- which included a guy who didn’t even live in the district (Adil Baguirov) who had an undue influence on the others on that board.

Tonight, the ringleaders were the Alma Avisory Group, who’ve been hired out of Chicago to bring a process to hiring the next Superintendent for Dayton Public Schools. They are the headhunters. We’re the zoo.

I don’t have time to upload the video of the intro, with their slides, but after the unprofessional late start, they immediately told us, we’d break down into two groups in separate rooms, and that they’d prefer if the media stayed out “so people could be free to speak their minds.”

So much for an open, transparent process. Public meetings, about public issues, in a public building, and, we need to close the doors. I went into one of the two break out rooms and asked if participants would prefer or mind if I filmed- and they unanimously believed in transparency and were OK with it. Turns out the Alma Group rep wasn’t- so I put away the camera and sat and listened to an hour plus of a community coming together to say “we’re happy with David Lawrence, but can you do something about our board?” The Alma Advisory Group was only there to listen- and then report- not advise, to the board, what the next Superintendent should look like. There were lots of complaints about how this board has had a lousy track record of oversight of their past choices of Superintendent- going back as far as Dr. Williams. But, most of the vitriol was directed firmly where it belonged, Dr. Libby Lolli. Her constant re-arranging of the deck chairs at DPS be it the principal shuffle where she moved 24 principals around the 28 schools one year, to her absolutely insane policy of NOT promoting an assistant principal to the principal in the same building, to the mass exodus of experienced teachers who were sick of being micromanaged and told how much screen time their students should have.

It was unanimous in my breakout room- give Dr. Lawrence a chance to do his thing, because so far, he’s about 1000 percent better than Lolli in just 3 or 4 months.

The other room, well, that’s another matter. Apparently disgraced state rep Clayton Luckie came late and took tensions between him and former Board Member Mario Gallin to the boiling point- and then some. One of the participants, had a seizure and had to be taken out in an ambulance. Luckie isn’t a fan of Lawrence, blaming him for the dismissal of Luckies cousin who used to be the district athletic director, Jonas Smith.

Otherwise, that room was also unanimous in backing Lawrence.

But, here’s the thing. The board will do what the board will do, no matter what we say. The fact that the election tomorrow will possibly name 3 new board members or at least 2, doesn’t even matter, we’ve already contracted to waste $65K- and we’ve disrespected the Superintendent by tagging him interim and paying him less than what the double dipping Lolli was making.

And, we’ve invited beelzebub into our house. I’m pretty sure the Alma contract wasn’t written to guarantee that they won’t take what they’ve learned about our homegrown hero Lawrence, and market him to every other big urban district looking for someone competent. Now, they know we’ve got a superstar, and we’re not smart enough to see it and protect him.

And that, is this incompetent school board is doing, because, they won’t listen to us, they don’t care about us, and they shouldn’t be the ones running this district. After Lolli’s abject failures here, they all should have been removed and sent packing. They not only hired her, but kept giving her raises and extending her contract- despite so many warning signs that there was something wrong in the gem city.

And this is why our kids can’t read, write, or have nice things.

BTW- I’ve been documenting this dysfunctional district for a long time, and while I’ve got a greatest hits of the failings of the district, that’s not what we need right now. We need a new vision- and that’s what I crafted in this video “There ain’t no “F” in Dayton” long ago. Take a watch, and remember what Einstein said “Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results”- here’s some ideas not from the Alma Advisory Group, that nobody paid me for:

And by the way, the Alma Advisory Group wants you to fill out a survey to weigh in on this clusterduck, here’s the link:

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