School District News That Didn’t Make the Print Edition (With a Correction)

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Posted April 11, 2012 by betty.brink in Blotch

Dansby’s recycled consultant
Superintendent Walter Dansby raised a few eyebrows this week when he hired an educator with a questionable educational history, Mary Bull, as a consultant. Bull was fired as superintendent in the Vallejo, California, school district in 2009, after her assistant superintendent filed a lawsuit charging her with a “hostile work environment,” according to a series of news reports in the Vallejo Times-Herald. Bull was fired, according to the paper, by the board in August of that year after “less than two years” on the job, with two months of that time spent on administrative leave. The same board that hired her fired her, said a reporter for the paper.
Her tenure was “marked by complaints and lawsuits over what some people described as an abrasive leadership style,” the paper reported. She and her assistant superintendent had also been under investigation for several months, according to the paper, into an “undisclosed matter.” One of the lawsuits, won by the ACLU, was that of a young lesbian student who was harassed publicly by teachers in the district. At the time, the district under Bull, had no policies prohibiting such harassment. The paper also reported that the local teachers’ union’s comments on her were mostly negative with “many saying that nothing had improved under Bull’s watch.”
Yet, with all of that, her résumé is not exactly honest about her reason for leaving Vallejo. She wrote, “In August, 2009, by mutual agreement, the remainder of my contract was purchased by the board due to a protracted philosophical disagreement.” Bull did not respond to email requests for comment.
When that factual misstatement was pointed out to Dansby, there was a long pause. Then he said he was not aware of it. District contracts ask whether of not the applicant has ever been fired from a position. Requests for a copy of Bull’s contract have not been answered.
Dansby hired her, he told Fort Worth Weekly, because she is an expert in staffing. He wants her to be “another set of eyes and ears” over staffing that is handled by the human capital management department headed by Sylvia Reyna, in order to avoid that $13 million mistake that was made last year, he said. Dansby did not lay the blame for that error on any one person. “There were a lot of people involved,” he said.

(In an earlier version of this story, this writer erronously indicated that Dansby had blamed Reyna. I apologize for misstating his position.)

However, according to trustee Ann Sutherland’s web page, Reyna, whom she called a “czar,” authorized “not reducing the secondary staffing by 100 positions” required by the board and then she hired 100 more teachers for which there were no positions. “Total 200 positions, $13 million,” Sutherland wrote. It was no small number for a district facing a possible $50 million shortfall.
Two years ago, Bull, ironically enough, was hired after she was fired in California by then superintendent Melody Johnson, as assistant superintendent in human capital management, the very department she will be watching. When a board member raised questions about her shaky history, Bull left. Now she is back, “but only temporarily,” according to Dansby.
Dansby insisted that Bull is going to be working only “two or three days a week, once or twice a month, as we work on the budget.”

Remember the “nipple-pinching” principal?
Doug Williams, Dunbar HS principal, was accused last year by half a dozen or more athletes and two teachers there of pinching young males on the nipples, allegedly as a disciplinary measure. Under a freedom of information request, Fort Worth Weekly has finally received Williams “statement on the matter” that he gave to the district’s office of professional standards last October.
Williams readily admitted that he has been pinching students for almost a decade, stating that there has “never been an issue” because his students “know I love them and want only the best for them.”
He wrote: “I admit to pinching students, off and on, now for the past eight years. …I have pinched on the back of the arms, side and the meaty part of the chest. Never have I touched a student in the area close to the ‘nipple.’” He added that he pinched students to “get their attention and move them on to the next class.” He also said, “On occasions I have pinched students in the chest area when pants were sagging below the butt.” (Emphasis added.)
He closed by vowing to “stop pinching students.”
Even if, as Williams claimed, he could pinch students on the “meaty part of the chest” or the “chest area” without touching nipples, the students who filed complaints against him, swore that he pinched their nipples.
Regardless, touching students to discipline them is against district policy. Touching students in “sensitive areas” of their bodies is one criteria used by the district to determine improper sexual contact with a child.
After this paper reported the incidents, including the fact that Williams also took pictures of male students without their shirts on, posing them against a black backdrop cloth in various poses with basketballs and footballs, Superintendent Walter Dansby removed him from the principal’s post and kicked him upstairs to a job in administration.
Dansby has said that Williams will remain an employee until his contract runs out this August. “After that, he’ll have to apply for a job just like anyone else.”


30 Comments


  1.  
    Teacher

    First of all, I can assure you Bull is being paid for more than “two or three days a week, once or twice a month”. An “expert” on staffing? What? She was a bully whose assistant committed suicide! So first we allow Judy Needham and Reyna to spend in excess of $500,000 to fire Palazzolo; Reyna “blows” 13.5 million on “miscommunication” (and still has a job); two whistleblower lawsuits are STILL in the mix; a pedophile Principal (known to both the administration and Board Member Christene Moss) is still on the payroll; over 100 retire/rehires are STILL employed; we buy 300 people out of their contracts; and now Dansby hires this. Who is running this asylum? I thought one of the allegations against P was “lying on his application”. According to him, Reyna actually testified that MJ had Bull review P’s case as a consultant and it was Bull who recommended his termination. Hello. Hello?




  2.  
    The Insurrectionist

    We have a Superintendent who best response for all issues “I’m going to look into that…” Now, he was not aware of Bull’s past of being a bully. For him it will be okay because is a couple of days per week and couple weeks per month. What the Heck?

    Mr. Dansby, you can retire now before is it too late. Your move in personnel is a trouble sign you are not handling the business correctly. You gave more power to the administrators who should be fired. We would like to wish you a good luck but you bought your own problem.

    Members of the Board, what are you doing? Politics? Yes, to secure your seat for the next election?

    Below is the list of people who should be fired for their poor and questionable performance.
    Here is the list: Reyna, Sorum, R. Ray, S. Breed, S. Monge, Dr. Gutierrez, Whatley, T. Downson, M. Menchaca, R. Mendoza and the team of lawyers.

    Dansby keep them under your wing and historians will question you too.




  3.  

    It is time FWISD steps up to say “STOP”. Needham has too much power. Until this right leaning community says ‘YOU HAVE GONE TOO FAR”, she will continue Johnson’s reign of terror. DOES NO ONE ON THE BOARD ASK THE SANITY QUESTION? “DOSE THIS MAKE SENSE”?

    I genuinely believe Superintendent Dansby has a GOOD HEART. But he must draw a line in the sand with the board and the runaway behavior of the board. If it is true he cannot pass anything without board agreement, the process is borken. And TAXPAYERS IF YOU DO NOT FIGHT BACK you will get what you deserve.




  4.  
    observer

    This is unbelievable. Just google “Bull Vallejo Schools”. She ignored bullying of a student!!! How appropriate that Betty’s story on this outrage is released the day before the premiere of “Bully” in theaters. Needham and Reyna must GO. Stop wasting our money!!!




  5.  
    T. Jara

    Omg–FWISD is falling apart. I’ve had to deal with them about their attendance policy regarding my son who has a disease. There were a small few who tried to help me with this issue & at times I felt I had to compromise to something I didn’t agree with. He’s a senior this year & I just want him to graduate & get out of FWISD. We even withdrew my son who is a sophomore & home school him because I can’t stand the way the district is run. It just confirms to me that I made the right decisions after reading articles like this. Maybe if more people would withdraw their kids the district might take notice & realize things need to change.




  6.  

    A correction: Dr. Reyna was not solely responsible for the hiring of 200 extra teachers. It was shared with Chief of Schools Robert Ray and Chief Instructional Officer Michael Sorum.

    This came to light some time after my blog post. I should have removed it but didn’t.




  7.  

    Ms. Jara, Your son(s) have rights under federal law. The district has a duty to inform you of these rights. I, too, had to fight over attendance issues with my daughter….AHHS Principal Alexander’s staff would not accept my notes for excused absences BECAUSE they did not come from a Doctor. The irony is I am a nurse, wrote the notes on my letterhead, and confirmed them by phone. It was idiotic and maddening to get the matter corrected. The district demands enforcement of student code of conduct but has no ability to follow their own personnel and procedures. Withdrawing students from school is not the answer. I encourage everyone to push back. Be the advocate for your child(ren). Children are entitled to a FREE APPROPRIATE PUBLIC EDUCATION. Your tax dollars –local, state and federal….insure this right




  8.  
    Betty Brink

    This is now a corrected version of my original story. Mr. Dansby called and said he did not lay any blame on Sylvia Reyna for the $13 million staffing fiasco that occured last year. My first story indicated that he did. I have made the correction he asked for and I apologize for misstating his position. Betty Brink.




  9.  
    betty.brink

    This just in from Trustee Ann Sutherland:
    Hi, Betty.

    I never corrected my blog post saying that Dr. Reyna was responsible for the 200 extra hires. We dealt with this in a Saturday morning session and it was clear that she, Michael Sorum and Robert Ray were all involved. I would appreciate your issuing a clarification–I’m not blaming you, since I never cleared it up, but in fairness it was a joint error.

    Most importantly, the process is now under control. The cause was hiring with out Position Control numbers; this omission has been corrected.

    Thanks so much.
    Ann Sutherland, Ph.D.
    Trustee, Fort Worth ISD District 6
    http://www.SutherlandforSchools.org

    Response from BB:
    I guess the next question is if the “omission has been corrected” why is there a need for a consultant to oversee the staffing department?




  10.  
    Employee

    This goes from bad to worse……….. Sutherland now DEFENDING Reyna? If Reyna is being PAID as “Chief of Administration; Organizational Support Systems” how was she not RESPONSIBLE for the $13.5 mil shortfall? Ray is Chief of Schools – he has nothing to do with District wide staffing… Sorum is Chief Academic Officer – nothing to do with staffing….. Can you say “CIRCLE THE WAGONS?” Didn’t the BOARD vote to eliminate retire/rehires? Why are they still here? Instead of blaming others, Reyna needs to learn a little R-E-S-P-O-N-S-I-B-I-L-I-T-Y. Why hire a nursemaid for her? Who vetted Mary Bull before she was hired anyway? Reyna? She obviously lied on her application/resume. What about the other Reyna fiascoes? Wasn’t it Reyna who removed Sharon Herrera from her position in retaliation for her testimony on behalf of Palazzolo? Remove Herrera and hire Bull? Reyna and Bull appear to make an excellent team. Dr. Sutherland; while you’re rushing to the rescue of Reyna, correcting previous positions and statements, why not take this opportunity to correct or clarify FOR THE RECORD, what your intention was on the Palazzolo vote of February 14? We would all like to know. I understand you declined his attorney’s attempt to depose you. P’s attorney is going to have fun with this Mary Bull hiring. Parents and LGBT community: where is your OUTRAGE?




  11.  
    Frogntoads2

    anyone involved in a $13.5 million “mishap” should be fired….

    It’s my opinion The district removed Herrera because the dirt was coming out from under the rug after the launch of the “it’s not okay” campaign.

    in addition with the lack on character in upper administration….
    I’m sick of upper “management” coming into schools and telling how faulty teachers are…why would a teacher look to upper management or want to follow their leadership with this kind of b.s out there…absolutely embarrassing and and certainly lacking of integrity.

    NO thank you….I avoid characters such as this in my personal life…but forced to be surrounded by bullying, intimidating staffers….with questionable values and integrity……unbelievable!




  12.  
    Insider

    Can you say “CONNECTS” or “MUNIS”? Doesn’t this all get back to those failed programs WHICH FWISD IS STILL PAYING FOR? Isn’t that why Arecely Chavez was fired? Why she has a whistleblower lawsuit pending? I’d also like Sutherland to reply to the question about February 14th meeting.




  13.  
    Frogntoads2

    while we are talking about dirty business within the district…a school held a meeting last may with robert ray and maria sanchez in attendance with staff concerns wre handed over regarding treatment of teachers by admin…..letters reporting attempted coercement for employees to lie on other employees….letters reporting intimidation, bullying and abusive treatment on campus.
    Guess what….now those letters are no where to be found…only the pro admin. letters and one of those present made the claim that “the meeting didnt happen” and “no bullying was found”




  14.  
    Teacher

    But………. “the process is now under control”.
    Talk about going to the dark side!




  15.  
    Frustrated

    The wonderful board has hired a stellar person, who they and so many others stated, was an exemplary educator, as well as an administrator for 36 yrs!? And this stellar administrator, aka Dansby, has the audacity to always say “I didn’t know or I’ll check into that”? Wasn’t his reaction to the AHHS/Palazzolo case along the same lines? What about when asked about Herrera’s job elimination? And better still, what about the nipple pincher? Are you going to claim the same nonsense about this has-been bully, Mary Bull? WTH? Is this the only blanket reply this overpaid superintendent has for all major BS that happens in HIS district? But hey, at least he wants to make sure he doesn’t ruffle any feathers with Reyna right? So much so, he asks Brink to correct his statement! Your excuses are nothing more than lead-ins to throw your colleagues under the bus! Your claims to “not know” leave a bad taste in my mouth and in the mouths of all employees and tax-paying citizens in this city! We ALL need to rally around this ridiculous administration and board! Someone at the FEDS need to clean house in our district! A vote of “No Confidence” needs to be cast for Dansby, before he sets us back further than Johnson did! What a freakin’ disgrace! And meanwhile, back at the farm…IT IS STILL NOT ABOUT OUR KIDS!!!




  16.  
    Justice

    WE NEED TO OCCUPY FWISD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!




  17.  
    heatinnation

    Everyone should go to the school board meeting, on Monday and demand accountability. What a circus, complete with an incompentent board who has allowed this to happen! Is this what change looks like? Board members allow Needham to carry on a personal vendetta against the whistleblowers. You should have just kept Melody Johnson, what’s the difference?. 13 million is just a fraction of the losses incurred by the system changes that brought FWISD to this mangled mess. how do you know that it is cleaned up Sutherland, they give you any piece of paper and you accept it. Call the FEDS in they are messing with federal dollars. FBI needs to be called in again. Follow the money if you can,




  18.  
    Purveyor of truth

    So much $ has flown out of this district and continues to happen, as told by this article. Wasted $, but not by JP fighting to get his job back, as some people have alluded!
    1. Wasted $ on bogus super search, when the job was already promised to Dansby the minute MJ left!
    2. Wasted $ spent on a biased hearing examiner in the tune of $18K, to rule in favor of the district.
    3. Wasted $ on paying the salary of AHHS former principal, Alexander, when she was asked to resign, instead of being fired and prosecuted for attendance fraud. Not to mention the thousands that had to be paid back to the state for said fraud!
    4. Wasted $ on allowing Chuck Boyd to resign and keep his retirement for accepting 5K from psycho Perry, former athletic dir. at AHHS.
    5. Wasted $ on hiring a tutor to ensure Dansby passed his 3rd super exam, after failing the first 2!
    6. Wasted $ on keeping a pedophile on the payroll in a cushy office at Central, after admitting he pinched nipples and took half nude pics of boys!
    7. Wasted $ on stupid legal advice, over 500K, to keep a man out of his job for coming forward and surfacing fraud and corrupted actions!
    8. Wasted $ hiring a consultant, who was fired, hired, fired, and now rehired by this district to provide consulting to a dept that doesn’t need any help in the first place, just because the person who oversaw that dept put the district 13.5 million dollars more in the hole!
    The list goes on and on…and we hired the best for the super job? At least JP now has plenty more ammo to use to his defense, when you consider all the crap that $ has been spent on…and STILL he doesn’t have his job back! Yet this district continues to keep him on an emotional rollercoaster, all the while spending the taxpayer’s $ so frivolously with the pretense they are cutting and slicing the budget??? What a bunch of dung! Maybe Dansby needs to hire Mary Bull-add the Y, from his pocket, so she can give him advice on how he is headed in the direction she herself has been, that of an EPIC FAIL!!!!!




  19.  
    Teacher

    Anyone notice that Dr. Sutherland has yet to “correct” the record from her motion on February 14. I pray for JP and his family. I’m sure he is reading her apologize for Reyna, and yet refuse to clarify what she did that night. I hope Dansby is finally ready to get rid of Reyna. This latest stunt – hiring Mary Bull – on top of allegedly promoting Williams, too much intrigue. She is a snake.




  20.  
    Insider

    Looks like my previous comment spurred an announcement about CONNECTS. It also appears Sutherland commented on that sotry today – but nothing here about her motion of February 14th.




  21.  
    T. Jara

    In response to BB–as far as the attendance rules go-they need to make some changes. We actually had dr’s notes. When I went up to his school to get the dates that they “needed” to have the dr.write a note I asked If I could get their fax # in case they were with patients. The response I got was -no you need to get it now. When I told her if she’s busy I’m not going to pull them away from a patient I was told the I will have the principle call the drs. and make them do it. I was in shock. I lucked out & the nurse was available. Went back to school dropped off the drs. note. I got a call about 20 minutes later saying the note “looks shady” because they forgot to put the yr. on it. I truly believe this was all done because I went over their heads. It’s BS & I will be so happy to be done with FWISD in a few months! I would still like to make changes though.




  22.  
    Purveyor of truth

    Oh yeah “Insider”, forgot to mention $ wasted on Connects and pending lawsuits! Wasn’t it in the multi-millions for Connects? Wonder how much Dickerson and MJ gained from that deal, which they forced down everyone’s throat! Now that connects will be phased out (Thank God), hopefully the new system will be what they are promising! I still have a problem, as I mentioned on another article about connects on the Weekly; I find it convenient that Dansby is making a big decision to scrap Connects now, instead of December (30 days after he gave Tyler notice). It feels like Dansby is throwing employees a bone, considering his butt is under a heat lamp right now! Still, this does not divert my attention from the REAL issues of corruption, fraud, waste of taxpayer $, bullying and so forth!

    Btw, can anyone tell me if they have heard from the Dunbar mother and how her son is doing? Or if she ever went to the DA and started an investigation? Seems like it all quiet down too quickly, yet Betty mentioned the nipple pincher again in her article. Just wondering!




  23.  
    I am ready

    Monday’s Board Meeting will be a historic event. Will racisim under the guise of “picking the best” usurp common sense and fair play? We are witnessing first hand that in spite of a new minority Super, Needham continues to control the Board and District. Latinos must lead the way in demanding change. Mary Bull should NEVER have been hired. If Williams were a mere Teacher, he would be long gone. We have no leadership. The wastful spending continues; lawsuits continue; there is no transparency, I am tired of Board Members screwing up and then hiding behind attorneys paid for with tax dollars. Connects, Munis, AHHS, retire/rehire – NO ONE IS HELD ACCOUNTABLE. Clean house! End the lawsuits! Get us focused on CHILDREN again. Funny that the very person meant to keep the District under control, Judy Needham, is directly responsible for the growing outrage and demand for change.




  24.  
    C.C. Johnson

    Spending is out of control; the Black Community has no representation on the Board. Moss and Sims blindly follow the $$$$ – the direction of Judy Needham. Everyday that the lawsuits continue, damages increase, And who will have to PAY those damages? NOT the FWISD Board. We the TAXPAYERS will! Those people should have been allowed to return to work a long time ago. This is an attorney’s dream!




  25.  
    Insider

    FWISD has already paid the fee for a JURY TRIAL in the first Palazzola whistleblower case!!! Can you believe it! Our $$$$ is funding this!! And he has not yet filed suit on the first or SECOND termination!




  26.  
    20 yr employee

    bottom line, board members should not serve more than 8 yrs. they are not for the future, they are for the past. they haven’t a clue what this generation needs. why must we punish the children? children are sacred and God is watching. a line from the movie the Help: ain’t you tired yet, Ms. ____?
    Near the end of The Help, the African-American maid Aibileen asks Mrs. Hilly, easily the most prejudiced woman in her circle of Jackson, Mississippi housewives, “Ain’t you tired yet?”
    please look in the mirror and ask yourself- is this what God wants?




  27.  
    Molly

    I have been following the comments posted on all FWISD related stories for some time and although opinions differ the common thread is a dissatisfaction with our school district and belief that its governance is in the hands of of those who put their own personal and political agendas first and have gone unchallenged for far too long. If you are interested in coming together as a community to figure out how we can take control of our district back, please email me at missmollyfw@yahoo.com. The next election is a year away, let’s be prepared.




  28.  
    Employee

    To all concerned Teachers and employees of FWISD. DO NOT listen to this psycho if you value your job. It is a trap to identify you. Sounds like a Reyna/Bull idea.




  29.  
    Frustrated

    Listen to “Employee Says”! The blogger “Molly” is a psycho, but fortunately not a very smart one! Check out my comments, as well as others, on the “Dis-connects-Finally” and Jr Martinez” story in the Weekly. Molly posted the same comments on these stories! Molly is a hired gun for Dansby and Needham! Do Not email her, b/c once she gets your info, she will identify you to Dansby, and out you go!




  30.  
    It's not a game

    Leadership or those in charge rather make it near impossible for you to believe and trust in them. I won’t follow who I don’t deem trustworthy. And that’s why nothing gets changed for the positive ……..





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