2018-02-23 / Letters

Concerns about a culture of fear

To the editor:

Our community is concerned that Superintendent Julie Kukenberger has created a culture of fear in her less-than-two-year tenure as the Scarborough superintendent. Based on information our group has received, the superintendent forced the resignation of Scarborough High School Principal David Creech in retaliation for his support of students and staff expressing their opinions related to the superintendent’s policy goals.

Recent policy initiatives promoted by the superintendent and board of education have provoked very strong feelings of Scarborough teachers, parents and students. Teachers and students have the right to express their informed opinion on these issues without fear of retaliation by the superintendent. Teachers are afraid to speak out. This is not right and will not be tolerated in our democratic society.

At the board of education meeting on Feb. 15, Scarborough teachers were forced to resort to union representation to present their concerns related to policy issues. This highlights the discord in our schools and the communication breakdown.

In relation to the forced resignation of Creech, the superintendent and board of education are hiding behind their canned response that, “this is a personnel issue.” The issues causing community discord that staff and students want to address are not personnel issues. The fact that the superintendent and board of education refuse to discuss these underlying issues with their constituents, or the media, highlights their disinterest in transparency.

An effective and trusted leader brings people together, not apart, listens to their constituents, but does not muzzle their voices, inspires confidence, rather than intimidates and recognizes the value in opposing viewpoints. Creech is that leader. We do not accept his resignation and we will not support leadership that does not hear this message, our community’s message.

Principal Creech recognizes the expertise of his teachers and has considered their recommendations when implementing the proficiency based learning initiative. The community supports his approach and would like the superintendent to do the same.

Our community recognizes the dedication of the board of education and superintendent and their intent to support our schools. Despite this, we have concerns with their ability to work collaboratively and collegially with the teachers and administrators they have hired to run the schools.

Superintendent Kukenberger has an opportunity to change course and regain the confidence of the community. She will do this when she reinstates Creech as the principal of Scarborough High School.

Alicia Giftos, The Group in Opposition to Principal Creech’s Forced

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