Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Sad Day for the Colbert County School System

A Sad Day for the Colbert County School System

A Guest Commentary

So you have a good man as principal at Colbert Heights Elementary School (CHES). He’s done a great job and demonstrated leadership skills both in academics and school improvements. But for your own personal or political reasons, you don’t like him and you want to get rid of him. What do you need?

1.  An inept, petty superintendent (Anthony Olivis) who holds a grudge and is willing to initiate the deed.
2.  An arrogant, bungling assistant superintendent (Jeff Cornelius) who believes he can manage the deed.
3.  A few lazy, incompetent, bossy teachers (we know who you are) who will lie and exaggerate events in favor of the deed.
4.  Some mean-spirited “my child could never do anything wrong” parents who weren't given their way to gossip and spread trouble throughout the community.
5.  And last, but not least, a school board turning a blind eye up until the last minute when they finally decide to “investigate” by talking to the superintendent (see item 1 above) and getting his side of the story.

And it’s done. Bob Montgomery is transferred to a position heading up the Colbert County alternative school. CHES will have a new principal who will have all the same problem people working for him or her and the same problem parents. The big difference will be that this person will be an appointee of the inept superintendent (see item 1 above) and will not be on his hit list.

Who loses? Well, obviously, Montgomery has lost much in this brouhaha—his job, his reputation, and more than likely, his trust and belief in the basic goodness of his fellow man. But the real losers are the children at CHES and the Colbert County School System.

How could this happen? We already know how items 1-4 above happened. It’s been written about in blogs willing to comment including this one, Shoalanda Speaks. But item 5? This is the latest disappointment.

The Colbert County School Board, elected by the citizens of Colbert County to serve the children of Colbert County, were unwilling to make a proper investigation of the matter and talk to or take advice from the many respected men and women who supported Montgomery. Instead they seem to have investigated by talking to Olivis (see item 1 above) and getting his side of things clarified, even though the man has been caught in many outright, shall we say "distortions of the truth," by those who work with him. 

A last-minute "Pontius Pilate" move was attempted before the board meeting on Thursday night when the board tried to distance themselves and find a procedural loophole in which the superintendent could make the transfer on his own without requiring a board vote. This ploy, however, failed and though some may have been unhappy with the situation, the board inexplicably decided to stand behind Olivis (one last time, see item 1 above).

If all of this teaches us anything, it should teach us that OUR VOTE MATTERS! We elected this superintendent. We elected this school board. As citizens who care about our children, we need to be aware. We need to elect people with integrity, leadership, courage, and honor (assuming these qualities even exist anymore). And we need to be sure that the people we elect will have the backbone to seek out and stand up for what is right—even if it might not be easy or convenient.
And one last word—in a July runoff election, we’ll have an opportunity to improve the school board by voting to replace Brad Counce with Ricky Saint. I can guarantee you that I will be at the polls on that day. 


Everyone's vote matters. Remember to visit the polls next month!


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