Bryan County School Board Coups d’etat

A campaign promise made by three school board members was fulfilled on the night of the 19th February when Bryan County School Superintendent Sallie Brewer was voted out of office by the school board.   Jeff Morton, Charlie Johnson, and Dennis Seger (all first termers who were elected to the school board on the campaign promises to remove Dr Sallie Brewer) along with Board Chairman Eddie Warren voted for the dismissal almost three quarters of the way through the school year.

The cost?  A quarter of a million dollars.  Considering the cost of locating, interviewing and hiring a new superintendent and the cost is going to be much higher.  This is an appalling waste of taxpayers’ money.   Mortons response?  According to The Bryan County News (21 Feb) he stated the change was worth it as the system has a $50 million budget!   Sounds like this board member is going to be an excellent steward of taxpayer money! Dr Brewer has had perfect evaluations and worked for the Bryan County school system for more than 30 years.

The common grievance against Dr Brewer is her apparent “lack of interest in extracurricular activities”.  Cited by one resident was her refusal to allow the Richmond Hill band go to Washington.  Other citizens complained about sports activities.  Of course, with these gentlemen the fact Bryan County’s graduation rates increased by 17.7 percent, a jump from 64 to 82 percent in five years from 2002 to 2007 would mean nothing apparently.  In 2008 Bryan County was one of 18 systems that scored a high graduation completion rate in the state according to the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. (Cite)  Which is more important in their minds?  A good solid education or extracurricular activities?  They stated where their interests lay…….and the interests of the constituents who voted them into office for the purpose of removing Dr Brewer.

Now, these gentlemen, in deciding to stage this coup, determined no input was required from the audience in attendance. According to WTOC, “People don’t usually line up for Bryan County Board of Education meetings, but Thursday night they did so they could have say about the board buying out the superintendent’s contract, but from the start the board didn’t want public debate. They voted against it, saying it’s a personnel issue.”

I have to agree with board member Mary Warnell who stated, “This is driven by personal agendas, egos and fulfillment of campaign debts.”   Warnell went on to say, “I’m disappointed and I am deeply ashamed in the lack of integrity demonstrated by these board members.”

OK gentlemen, the ball is in your court.     According to first term board member Charlie Johnson, “…but there are a lot more opportunities for our children that are not being looked at.”  Well, Mr. Johnson, here is your opportunity to look at all those opportunities for our children.  Just what were they again?  You never really said.  You fired an excellent administrator in a manner that was less than honorable.  It is now your responsibility to find a superintendent that will be superior to Dr Brewer for the same amount of money.  But hey; at least you fulfilled your campaign promises! 

Best wishes to Assistant Superintendent John Oliver who was appointed to replace Dr Brewer until a replacement is found.

Comments

  1. Matthew Freeman says:

    It is about time this despotic woman was removed from office. For someone with an appointed position to continually defy the will of the people is atrocious. She never listened to the parents of the students nor the teachers. Maybe now we can move forward and find someone who is willing to work with the citizens of Richmond Hill. Although it does seem odd that someone would ridicule elected representatives for doing what they promised in their campaigns. I would think that that would be a refreshing change.

  2. A few observations Matthew.

    The elected representatives were not ridiculed for fulfilling their campaign promises. They were ridiculed because that was apparently their only campaign promise and I’m betting the only action of note during their terms. Not quite what is needed on a school board; nor any type of committee. They were ridiculed because of the manner in which this putsch was conducted. When members of the audience wanted to provide input, it was denied. They (the board) voted against it saying, “it’s a personnel issue”. A personal issue? Seems like cause for ridicule to me.

    The proper manner in which to rid yourself of a contract employee is to simply not renew the contract. This had been done once before in Dr. Brewers case, then she was rehired later on. If the board and her critics chose not to take this route because they suspected they would not have the support, then perhaps ridding the county of a qualified and competent superintendent was not what the majority of the county citizens wanted. This is the impression given. Otherwise there was no urgent need to terminate her employment in the middle of the school year.

    Despotic? Defying the “will of the people”? She never listened? These comments have popped up from a few people and repeated by many more, but with no specificity provided merely rhetoric. I’ll not deny Dr. Brewer was autocratic, but she got the results that were needed and the statistics reflect that. I’ll take statistics over empty rhetoric any day.

    I suspect the problem her critics had with her administration revolves around her attitude concerning academics before extra curricular activities. I myself was somewhat surprised and angry when the kids weren’t allowed to participate as a marching band out of state. This is, I believe, insufficient cause to “fire” a competent administrator.

    Who knows? Perhaps the next superintendent we get will be of the “touchy-feeley” type and we can all sit around the campfire on weekends eating s’mores and singing Kumbaya. Then, we too can have a school system every bit as good as those found in Liberty and Chatham County.

  3. I’m new to the area and am a little suprised by this action. From what I’ve read on the surface, it doesn’t warrant eating her contract. Unless of course she was the moron that was behind putting 3 elementary schools within 50 yards of each other. Then not only should she have been fired, but burned at the stake.

  4. I’m new in RH as well. Having lived in many places around the world, I was specifically appalled at some of the rules in place and treatment students were getting for talking in bus rooms or not having shirts tucked in/belts in place.

    Being new to RH doesn’t give me the proper knowledge to make judgment but being Dr. Brewer was booted out and this new school year offers kids a bit more freedom with the dress code, I’m hoping it’s the first of many positive changes. One I’d specifically like to see is a change in the some bus room tactics by teachers as punishment for talking, i.e., standing up agasinst the wall as though criminals. I have serious opinions about that which I won’t discuss here but after spending years abroad, I felt as though I had sent my children to a school less free than the one we came from – in Germany! That, in and of itself, was shocking, disappointing and horrific. I’m pleased to see – or correlate such feelings to what may have been a superintendent whose “older” philosophy had simply run out.

    It appears there’s been much new blood in RH and progress is often served well with fresh and flexible ideas. A school board who doesn’t listen to parental and student needs is a failed school board and one who inflicts obedience via fear is even worse.

    I too, however, on a final note, wonder about the logic of placing the schools so close together. I’m with you on that, Brent – though burned at the stake may be a bit harsh, no? 🙂 There are more important issues to focus on and I hope a fresh perspective by a new superintendant will offer RH students the education and RESPECT children themselves deserve.

    Nice to have found this blog. Thank you for your time with it. Blogging takes up more energy than any blogger expects, I think. This one seems well served. I’ll be back.

  5. moderator of this blog, please contact me at the email listed regarding this post. There is no contact info listed on this blog. Thank you.

  6. Hey RHGal – there was no email provided and I am super late finding this post…If you ever find this, I can be reached at 912.341.9832 or april@aprilgroves.com

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