Letter to the Editor

BowieCCT1's picture

Dear Community Leaders,


It has come to my attention that the career and reputation of a close personal friend and colleague of mine has come under attack from elements within the upper administration of New Boston ISD. Having known Patty Green for my entire professional life, I feel compelled to speak on her behalf in light of these recent developments.


I will try to make this as brief as possible, but I feel that much that I have to say should include at least some level of historical and personal reference. For starters, I'm fairly certain that I know almost all of you having taught so many kids, grand-kids, nieces and nephews throughout the many happy years I served as technology and math instructor at Crestview Elementary. I've made my entire professional career in education for over 17 years now with 13 of these years having Patty Green as some level of a mentor and confidant. I feel that through these experiences and those that led to my departure from NBISD, I can provide some sense of relation to the current troubling status of the district.


Patty served as my mentor teacher as an undergrad, a fellow math instructor and team leader, as well as my direct administrator for a number of years at Crestview Elementary. Upon her promotion to the administrative position at the 'then new' Oakview Elementary, we continued to remain close friends and educator teammates. I learned so many life lessons from Mrs. Green though her patience, her expertise, her dedication, and her love for this profession. Mrs. Green understands the tremendous impact that educators have on the lives of children, and her words and actions emulate this philosophy on a daily basis. I personally witnessed Mrs. Green routinely going above and beyond the normal expectations of a public educator. This is a person who dedicates all of her time and effort into making the development of young minds a fruitful endeavor. This often included tutoring students during her conference period and after school and working tirelessly to find ways to motivate children to learn. Her organizational skills and documentation practices of classroom pedagogy set a high set of expectations for herself, her teammates, and an entire body of faculty. Mrs. Green is not a politician that should be expected to bend to the whim of an obvious monarch, and nor is she a pawn that should be pushed around by a governing body that seems very much removed from the classroom. She is a teacher first and someone who loves kids and understands her calling in bettering the lives of all young people.


Throughout this time serving at Crestview Elementary, I had put down roots in the community of New Boston. I had bought a home, made friends, gotten married, and had kids all within the many years that I served the community. I had treasured the idea of sending my own kids through this same school system thereby allowing them to benefit from the many wonderful educators who I had worked alongside. During the 2014-2015 academic year, there was a significant change in the level of support from our upper administration - particularly those at the highest level. The underlying force behind the superintendent's directives seemed to be functioning as a blame and shell game rather providing any real measure of solution. People were being shuffled around to different positions in the middle of the year without any thoughts or explanations given as to why. I witnessed many colleagues and administrators being treated unprofessionally and without any basis. These were educators who I knew for a fact weren't interested in any accolades and possessed no agenda. These were people who do what they do everyday for kids, people like Patty Green. I really felt that the treatment of my then principal, Jennifer Cokeley, was unfair and unjustified. Not only that, the removal of a leader during the middle of school year without any provocation seemed dishonorable and divisive. Jennifer Cokeley was a wonderful administrator and most definitely did not deserve the swift departure from NBISD that she befell. How this travesty was allowed to continue is beyond me, but now I understand that this so called leader is taking things even farther in the wrong direction. With Dr. Neshyba forcing her agenda onto her faculty rather than earning some level of respect, the perception of educational goals seemed to turn instantly to a focus on standardized test scores corresponding with a simultaneous reduction in the importance of technology and the arts. While this focus may look good on paper and supplicate the politicians in Austin, you end up misrepresenting what should be the true goals of learning. The current superintendent has succeeded in ostracizing those that matter most in this learning process while hindering real developmental growth, interpersonal life lessons, and individual thought. I just couldn't knowingly continue to commit to a workplace culture where these injustices were allowed to continue all while not valuing the primary asset of this district - its people.


So I decided to leave New Boston and the teaching profession at the end of that year. It was a painful time for me personally. I was essentially giving up on something that I had worked on through my entire adult life. My family had to seek out new residence, new career pathways, new schools/daycare, and an entirely new community. All of this is behind me now, and through God's grace I am a stronger person. However, I still think longingly of my once small hometown community and the cadre of educators who made me feel welcome there. With the guidance of individuals like Mrs. Green and Mrs. Cokeley through those years, I feel blessed to have made an impact on so many lives as I did. Looking back I suppose I thought I would always be a teacher in New Boston, and I was happy there until the incompetence of the top administration led to my own failed confidence in the district. My own resignation as well as that of nearly 150 other staff and faculty members have plagued the district since that time. A turnover like this in a town like New Boston, should give you - the members of this board - cause for alarm in itself. Why are so many educators leaving? For that matter, why are so many good and great educators leaving? And to hear that one of the finest people I have ever known is now being questioned and even reprimanded in some fashion doesn't seem like the New Boston ISD that I once loved.


While I am most certainly removed from the situation at hand, I can attest to the fact that Mrs. Green does everything in her power to best serve the kids in the community. I also believe that the same individual who is pursuing this ridiculous course of action is the root cause of all of the hardships the district is now facing with questionable ethics, unresolved hiring practices, scandals, and especially the elevated turnover. Any institution deserves a quality leader, a leader that people can count on for support and direction. Teachers deserve a leader they can believe in and depend on for validation and encouragement. How much support and confidence is the current superintendent promoting through her actions? None. It is past time for this insanity to stop.


Thanks for your time,

Brad Davis

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