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Shauna Williams is a contributor to Berkeley Heights Community Watch, which holds the district accountable to the community.
It’s Time that EVERYONE in our District face the facts, for the sake of our students.
It’s a busy time of year; graduations, moving-up ceremonies, clap-outs, parties, luaus, and more. This year, it’s also a time to reflect on what the hell is happening to our district and start to talk about what needs to be done. For starters, we need to stem the hemorrhaging of our most talented staff.
This article was supposed to have been written over a week ago but, as noted, it’s a busy time of year. Given the latest news that Ms. Corley, honored principal of Mary K McMillan Early Childhood Center, will be resigning, it’s a task that can’t be put off any longer.
Approximately 100 teachers, administrators and other staff have retired (in some cases early), resigned, or have been let go in Dr. Varley’s tenure. A few teachers that are listed by our district as “retiring” are, in actuality, going to teach at private schools.
There is a certain amount of turn-over each year, but in the past couple years our district has seen numbers that far surpass the typical movement. It started with the redistricting. The topic has been hashed and rehashed to the point that I’m sure some are saying “not that again,” but it was a major upheaval not only for our kids but for our teachers. With little to no notice, and no input, teachers were expected to uproot themselves, move their classrooms and supplies, figure out new curriculum and lesson plans, and do so in a ridiculously short amount of time.
During the recent budget process and faced with a “fiscal cliff”, teachers and administrators came out by the dozens to speak against the plan put forth by our Superintendent and Business Administrator. A superintendent who is on good working terms with district staff, and who understands the meaning of collaboration would have involved those staff members before putting a plan in place. Instead, our Superintendent and Business Administrator blindsided them.
To add insult to injury, we witnessed the Educator of the Year “celebration” take place in a cafeteria, after making the recipients wait forty minutes, and with the SI unable to even pronounce one beloved teacher’s name correctly.
Melissa Varley lacks knowledge of what it takes to teach. She doesn’t understand the basics about our district, from athletic fees to the structure of our world language program. She is more concerned with traveling around telling anyone who will listen how well she’s doing than she is with figuring out what is truly best for our staff and students. Her benefit is more important (full-day kindergarten, redistricting and DEI) to her than the stability of existing schools.
Ms. Corley’s resignation brings the total number of staff leaving this year to 44. Music teacher Ms. Lim makes 45.
Added to the totals from last year, and we’re nearing 100.
Have you had enough yet?
Our staff has.