Guest Post by Scott Armstrong
New Superintendent OK With Duplicity?
The following quote from Russ Mayo who has been promoted to acting superintendent appears in today’s Morning Call article, “The human cost of school reform”
“Russ Mayo, who was elevated from deputy superintendent to acting superintendent Thursday, defended his former boss.
Mayo said Friday he never witnessed or heard of Zahorchak threatening an employee. Mayo said Zahorchak's Pathways plan presented a clear vision that will be continued.
‘I always felt personally comfortable with asking him questions about it and even at times challenging him on it,’ Mayo said. "The thing I admire most about him was his focus was constantly on the students, which was clearly his concern in the district."
The following information is also from today’s Steve Esack’s reporting:
“On July 6, 2010 — five days into his new job — Zahorchak called a meeting of more than 20 administrators in which he outlined plans to seek $40 million in grants for six schools, sources at the meeting said. During the meeting Burdette "Buddy" Chapel, then principal of Harrison-Morton Middle School, asked Zahorchak if principals would be let go. Zahorchak, tapping his finger on the table for emphasis, said no.
The meeting ended and Chapel, along with the principals of Central Elementary, Trexler and Raub middle schools, and Allen and Dieruff high schools wrote the grant proposals and submitted them on Friday, July 16.
Their proposals said the schools would install a new governance structure and did not include language about removing principals, according to a copy of an original grant proposal obtained by The Morning Call.
The grant applications, however, were changed over that weekend to say: "The current principal will be removed from the current school-based governance structure," according to the final application filed with the state Department of Education. As a result, Allentown won $7.8 million for six schools and four of six principals — at Harrison-Morton, Central, Allen and Dieruff — were reassigned to other administrative duties.
"We wrote ourselves out of a job," one of the four said.
On Sept. 7, 2010, Zahorchak issued a news release announcing the district had secured school improvement grants. It did not say principals would be removed.”
Clearly then deputy superintendent Russ Mayo had to be aware of his immediate superior’s duplicity in this matter; telling the principals that they would not be let go, then immediately rewriting the grant applications to do exactly the opposite. Yet, Russ Mayo took no action to set the record straight or protest the deception. This would seem to demonstrate a clear lack of integrity and moral fiber. This begs the question; is this the best we can do to fill the void left by Zahorchack's departure?
Editor's Note by Molovinsky: Mr. Armstrong is a candidate for the school board, and the parent of two boys who went through the Allentown School District. I personally approve Mr. Mayo's appointment as acting superintendent, and presume he was attempting to quell the storm down on Penn Street. I look forward to the much needed scrutiny Mr. Armstrong will bring to the board and administration.