Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Please Teach Kendy Behrends the Meaning of Tact

By the time most executives get to the top of the heap, unless they own their own companies, they're pretty familiar with the word tact. Believe me, tact combined with a small helping of sugar on top can do wonders. Kendy Behrends seems better fitted to be a prosecuting attorney than superintendent of a medium-sized school district.

When asked about those who oppose the name change of Weeden School, she commented to TimesDaily staff:
...she has heard from eight residents, "who are all living in the past."

We realize that things change; in a millennium, no one will remember Weeden School. Until that time comes, the school that is now dubbed Weeden will still be sitting in the middle of Weeden Heights, will still be serving many children who come from poverty, will still find many parents of its students either uninterested in helping the school progress or financially unable to help with such progress.

New names may help in the witness protection program, but we doubt that a new name for Weeden will miraculously change it into a model for other area elementary schools. Now, let us ask just what are some problems with Weeden School that can be remedied, either immediately or in the near future?

Certainly the administration comes to mind. It was just in June of last year that Behrends failed to renew the contract of Weeden principal Brenda Smith. Ms. Smith was principal of Weeden for eight years and had always received good performance evaluations. Yet, when Behrends announced that she was effectively letting Smith go, she cited 17 problems/infractions in relation to Brenda Smith's job performance.

What does that say about our system? To us it says that if Brenda Smith had received good evaluations for eight years, yet had a total of 17 infractions to her credit, someone was not doing her job, and that someone was Kendy Behrends. It's always fascinating to see what those in power can concoct when they wish to rid themselves of an employee. We may never know the reason that Kendy Behrends decided to terminate Ms. Smith, but at this point the Florence superintendent needs to come up with a better reason for changing the name of Weeden School than it now has a bad ring to it.

Is the name Weeden now sullied? Who sullied it? It shouldn't take long, with a little hard work by the new superintendent and Weeden staff, to return Weeden to a school on equal footing with others in the district. We encourage the community to stand together on this and show Kendy Behrends the correct way to handle such a situation.

Thanks: To the Florence School Board for exercising common sense and committing themselves to a better future for the children of our community.