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Superintendent is willing to make the tough decisions
As a member of the Marion County Board of Education, I feel compelled to respond to your editorial “Ready, Steady, Go” in the May 14 issue of your newspaper, which detailed the numerous suspensions and resignations of school personnel during the past year. The conclusion reached in your editorial was that these departures seem excessive, when compared to past years, and that something needs to be done about it.
I don’t disagree with any of the facts presented in the editorial, but I must disagree with your conclusion. Isn’t it possible that the “excessive” number of suspensions is due to the fact that in the past few years there has been no strong leadership in place, with very little supervision and discipline (hence no suspensions), and Mrs. Schlosser has been quick to identify and address the real issues plaguing MCPS?
Given the fact that “the school system has been in a constant state of flux for years,” doesn’t it make sense that there were a lot of problems to be addressed and corrected resulting in an excessive number of suspensions and resignations?
As superintendent, Mrs. Schlosser has worked tirelessly to put together a vision and plan to take MCPS to the next level and is in the process of positioning MCPS for success. Unfortunately, she inherited an abundance of problems, but has been addressing and correcting these problems without hesitation.
We should all be thankful that we now have a superintendent who is willing to make the tough decisions and to hold all MCPS employees accountable for their actions. It has been a tumultuous first year for Mrs. Schlosser, but I believe that going forward, MCPS will achieve great things under her leadership.
MCPS Board Member
Schlosser getting the right person in the right seat on the bus
I found your opinion very enlightening concerning our Marion County School System. In the first paragraph or two, you made it very clear that Superintendent Schlosser is indeed a strong instructional leader. I heard many of the 200 or so people who attended the Strategic Planning Summit agree as well. I heard the representative from the Kentucky Department of Education say things like, “Taylora, how did you get so many people here for this event?” It was so gratifying to listen to Superintendent Schlosser speak of her dream for the students and our Marion County Public Schools. Whenever, wherever I have heard her speak her focus is always clear, which is that all students will leave MCPS career ready.
Secondly, I was made aware that many employees of our school system retire, quit, move on to other vocations or other school districts. I am also aware that sometimes employees make mistakes that affect children, and that they must be made to realize the seriousness of their profession. We are a district of more than 500 employees and reason tells us there will be some dissatisfaction. Often this dissatisfaction gets the rumor mill turning. We have a large rumor mill in Marion County. It’s probably one giant piece of equipment that we would do well to sell, give away or destroy.
I do disagree with one statement made by Ms. Lowery concerning her uneasiness about the position turnover in our district being unusually high. This is not necessarily so. Everyone involved in education is aware of the tremendous pressure placed on teachers, principals, superintendents and local boards of education. We are all expected to do more with less resources. This is the primary reason that some resign, retire early or look elsewhere.
Movement of employees from one position to another was a concern that was stated by Ms. Lowery. Superintendents do this all the time. One of their important tasks is to get the right person in the right seat on the bus. For example, the previous superintendent experienced two members of the central office personnel retire. He changed the job description of almost every central office employee, including both certified and classified at that time. Therefore, this is not unusual. Superintendent Schlosser told me when she served as assistant superintendent she was also assigned director of food services. This was a position she did not covet. But, she did it because her boss asked her to do so. The food service program flourished under her leadership.
I appreciate Ms. Lowery for making us aware of problems that exist, not only in Marion County, but across the state. Hopefully, our main message of the uneasiness and pressure placed on our superintendent, principals and teachers will be realized and addressed by our elected officials.
Marion County Board of Education Vice Chairman
Editor’s note: Since the publishing of the Enterprise’s May 14 editorial, there have been more changes at the Marion County Board of Education. Personnel Director and Payroll Manager Teresa Osbourn submitted her resignation on Wednesday morning, May 14, and Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent Pam Spalding was fired Friday, May 16.
Monday, Marion County Superintendent Taylora Schlosser confirmed that Spalding is no longer employed with MCPS, and also confirmed that Osbourn submitted her resignation on May 22. However, Schlosser pointed out that Osbourn’s resignation was not in reference to any type of “disciplinary issue.”
“Mrs. Osbourn has accepted a position closer to her children,” Schlosser said in an email to the Enterprise. “She has worked for our district for 12 years. She started her career at Lebanon Middle School. She has served in several positions. She is very reliable, communicates well and is knowledgeable. I am happy that she has an opportunity to continue her career and be closer to her family.”
To recap, during the 2013-14 school year and Schlosser’s first year as superintendent, the following has happened:
• Lee Ann Divine resigned after leading GES for 12 years.
• MCHS Principal Stacey Hall resigned to fill a new central office position, director of federal programs. Four months later, Hall unexpectedly announced his resignation from that job.
• Lebanon Middle School Principal Todd Farmer was hired to replace Hall, leaving yet another school searching for a principal. After serving has interim at LMS for several months, Christina McRay was hired recently to fill that position.
• In April, West Marion Elementary School Principal Benji Mattingly took an unexpected leave of absence. On May 2, he resigned after leading WMES for nine years.
• Also in April, Amber Ervin, who was hired as the special education director in 2012 by former Superintendent Chuck Hamilton, announced she will step down from her position to return to the classroom next school year.
• Nothing official has been released, but it has been confirmed that the district’s finance director, Lisa Caldwell, is not going to be in her current position when her contract ends June 30.
• Personnel Director and Payroll Manager Teresa Osbourn resigned on May 14.
• Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent Pam Spalding was fired on May 16.