Letter to the editor: Fire First, Praise Second


What is going on in this county??

I am a retired school board employee who has given 33 years of my life and energy to the children of Clay County – 24 years as a classroom teacher and nine years as an administrator. I understand leadership.

At our last school board meeting, June 29, 2017 we awarded the principal of Fleming Island Elementary a “Champion of Change” Award for School Improvement. This school is and has been an “A” school under his leadership and he improved this “A” status by an additional 67 points in student gains this school year. Wow!!! What a motivator he must be!

In fact, if you look at the faculty’s surveys as well as the parent surveys you will see how respected and revered this leader is in his school community. But Wait........he was let go! What? How can that be??? Well as our Superintendent explained to him in his first and only face to face meeting, “Our schools are moving in a new direction!” This to me seems odd if not outrageous.

How many CEOs remove their highly motivated, well-loved and high achievers? I think a good analogy would be me asking my principal to please remove the smartest, best behaved and over-achieving student from my classroom because I just need a different image for my classroom.

Or perhaps a principal letting their “Teacher of the Year” go because we need to move forward. Any of the above-mentioned scenarios would be considered by most, very poor leadership. But not here, not in Clay County this is our way of “moving in a new direction.”

I’m asking, maybe even begging, for one person to step forward and explain to me this style of leadership.

Diana Rabidoux

Former Asst. Principal Wilkinson Elementary


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