Jeffco Board Majority –
I am addressing this email specifically to the three of you. I am VERY disappointed – to the point of tears – at how the meeting went this evening. Mr. Newkirk – I have to say that I appreciate that you tried to offer a compromise to the motion to extend public comment by allowing for a public comment 1 for 45 minutes and a 2nd public comment period afterwards – as is stated on Jeffco’s website. However, I think Ms. Fellman and Ms. Dahlkemper clarified it well – that for this meeting, such an option wasn’t viable. We were all commenting about hiring Mr. McMinimee – to suspend the bulk of us to speak AFTER the meeting was totally inappropriate as the vote to hire McMinimee was over so our voices would not have been heard in time to influence your vote. And that’s entirely my point – it seemed to me that your minds were made up already that you were going to hire McMinimee – so we weren’t going to be able to influence your vote – so why allow us to speak? Well, I can answer that – because you work for US and you owe it to the public to hear us out – especially on the hiring of our new superintendent – clearly one of the most important decisions for our district that impacts all of us!
So – below is my prepared statement that I had planned on delivering this evening – but because I couldn’t sign up to speak until just after 10am last Friday morning (because I had to take my daughters to school AND volunteer in my youngest daughter’s classroom to set up for their Native American feast AND then file Friday folders for my other daughter’s class – and I don’t have an iphone!), I was #59 on the list and didn’t get to speak tonight.
To be clear – I expect an answer to my request below, and that is, please share with us on what basis do you know that Dan McMinimee has a strong record of academic achievement? I have already heard the qualitative answer, but I still want the quantitative data in order to – as McMinimee himself said, “provide data in support of decision making.”
Finally, on a personal note, I hope – for all of us – that somehow and sometime soon – something happens to turn the tide and bring healing to our district. The meeting tonight was so charged with emotion – from everyone. It’s exhausting on many levels and totally unhealthy for all of us to be this upset and worked up. We have GOT to find a way to find some common ground. I hope & pray that Mr. McMinimee may be able to serve in this role. All I know is that this isn’t working – something’s got to change. One thing I thought of tonight that is something I would like you all to consider. While I would love for Ms. Dahlkemper or Ms. Fellman to be President of the board, I don’t envision that the board majority is going to go for that. However, I would venture to guess that if the board majority were to vote to make Mr. Newkirk the board president, that might be a step in the right direction in the public’s eye. Mr. Newkirk clearly wants to find common ground – he wants to figure out a way to reach out to us all and find a compromise. He doesn’t come across as a dictator like Mr. Witt does. Then Mr. Witt could be secretary and respond to all of the public’s letters – since the majority of them right now are directed at him anyway. I don’t know – just a thought for consideration. I’d ask yourselves – why not let Mr. Newkirk have a go at leading the board?
PPlease consider the environment before printing this e-mail
“Mr. Witt – you were quoted as saying, “Daniel is someone who has a strong record of academic achievement.” Knowing your propensity for asking for quantitative data to substantiate financial expenditures and educational strategies – an example being the expansion of full-day Kindergarten – I thought for sure that there would be quantitative data to back up your statement. So at the first meet and greet on the 15th, I specifically asked Mr. McMinimee for quantitative numbers to substantiate your claim about his record of academic achievement. I was met with a qualitative response and not a single statistic or data point was provided. So I submitted a CORA request – again, no data was provided. One of the questions asked of Mr. McMinimee during the interview conducted by Ray and Associates was “describe your direct experience in narrowing any achievement gaps that you have encountered in your career.” All six of Mr. McMinimee’s responses spoke to what he WOULD do – not what he HAS done. So I asked you on your Facebook page to “Please share with us how you came to know that he has a strong record of academic achievement.” No response. Interestingly, when asked the question of “how would you build trust and confidence in the board/superintendent team?” Mr. McMinimee answered, “provide data in support of decision making.” Here is a golden opportunity to start to repair this broken trust and confidence – provide the data to support the decision that Mr. McMinimee is the best candidate to be our next superintendent!
With regard to the contract that has been drafted for Mr. McMinimee, I am very concerned that the contract term is for five years, and that if the Board wants to terminate Mr. McMinimee’s employment with the district before the end of the 5-year term, the district will have to pay Mr. McMinimee one year’s pay. I think this is a risky provision. I think the board should revisit Mr. McMinimee’s contract every year to determine if he is adequately addressing the board’s goals. Along this line, this board majority has talked about implementing a pay for performance system in our district. Therefore, it certainly stands to reason that Mr. McMinimee’s contract should reflect a pay-for-performance component as well!
In conclusion, please listen to the Jeffco community. Reconsider the announcement of Daniel McMinimee as the sole superintendent finalist, reexamine the candidate pool, and announce 3-4 new finalists.