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  1. Lake Bluff Parent Comments from 6-1
    “Going forward, I think it is prudent to have some sort of consistent protocol in hiring that is transparent and allows for open, inclusive community input. Current District 115 Superintendent Michael Simeck went through such a process when he interviewed for a position at Bloomfield Hills, Michigan just before coming to Lake Forest.
    “Collaboration, transparency, and the inclusion of an unbiased third party (e.g. search firm) must be a priority going forward or we can continue to expect more of what we are going through now in the future.”
    ——
    The Board is elected to represent the Community not an “autocrat” who presents 1 candidate, with no search firm, who has no experience or track record of successful leadership as a principal. There should be a choice in our democracy of more than one candidate in a pool of 20-25. This is about transparency and full disclosure.

    Barry Rodgers, Assistant Superintendent, was hired less than 2 years ago using search firm Schoolexecconnect.com. He was the leading principal in Illinois at the time. He provided much stablity after years of school disruptions and turmoil which we all would like to put behind us. Maybe the board should propose a vote on 6-9 at 5 pm at WLF campus to consider the appointed of a new Superintendent who listens to the taxpayers and the 689 people who have signed the petitiion to remove the sole principal candidate from the pool of 20-25 where many are qualified principals with actual experience. This is about “experience” and nothing more.

  2. 1. Excellent job by Adrienne (did we expect less?)

    2. Look up Michael Foucault via any search engine. A dubious authority at best. You judge the appropriateness of someone who follows his teachings/writings. Some folks will find racism everywhere.

    Carl

  3. So here we come upon a second troubled search for an area high school, the other one having occured earlier this year for District 113 (Highland-Park-Deerfield H.S.)

    And what have we learned? In this day and age, because of the so-called electronic resolution in communications, public stakeholders exercise a larger role in the appointment of superintendents and principals.

    Clearly our school boards and senior administrators have to account for as much as they conduct executive-level searches. It is unavoidable and a reality of the way processes work in the twenty-first century. We cannot escape back fifty or so years when such matters were conducted behind closed doors.

    I commend Adrienne Fawcett — whose journalistic sensibilities I greatly admire — for the posting made on May 31. It certainly lays out a great deal of information in a rather disapassionate manner. Readers of DNS are most fortunate, since we are not going to obtain news and analysis from the print daily newspapers or the various weeklies.

    In the end, my wish is that the public stakeholders might pull back and allow this matter to settle down in order to reach whatever conclusion unfolds in this most unfortunate business.

    • Pull back? I would hope not. Her primary qualification is that she has a racial chip on her shoulder, and she has made a career out of implementing “racial equity” policies.

      Proponents of “White Privilege” see all whites as oppressors and seek to convince whites of their guilt regardless of their actions, simply because of their “skin advantage”. Dr. Holland’s core beliefs lead her to treat whites as second class citizens and enemies. My children are not oppressors, and I will not accept anyone in our schools who tries to convince them that they are. No one should stand by idly and let a person like this become a leader in our schools.

      Dr. Holland is not to blame for this. She is what she is, and only started hiding it two weeks ago after being offered a job where her radical ideas don’t match the community’s values. Simeck had to know all this, and yet he still put all of us through this. What must Simeck think of the people and the children of this community if he chose such a person? What was he trying to accomplish? The hard part is believing what so obviously must be true. Force yourself to face the ugly truth, and then act on it.

      Simeck must go.

  4. My earlier posts align with the thoughts of ‘Lake Bluff Parent’ in terms of transparency and community involvement — it is imperative at this point.

    Though opposing viewpoints and letters of support are part of collaborative debate, the mindset set forth in a previous Letter to the Editor that we should just ‘trust’ the representatives we appointed is troubling. While I agree that we should not be micromanaging daily tasks, it is our job as resident ‘stakeholders’ to direct, evaluate and question their work. An impressive resume does not guarantee integrity and there are some who’s interests are completely self-serving, especially in regards to power, control and money. It only takes one individual’s hidden agenda or disordered thinking to wreak havoc in an organization and it is foolish for us to behave as bystanders. These are general comments regarding our role here – sexting ‘trusted’ principals selected by ‘trusted’ representatives and ‘trusted’ long-time political leaders who’s moral bankruptcy is splashed all over the news as we speak serves as our warning to select our representatives well, but demand transparency, integrity and collaboration along the way. Dishonest image-management coupled with our tendency to look the other way (and a naïve desire to trust) is not a good combination. Thank you to those who are paying attention.

  5. Adrienne, thank you for writing this article. I was not aware we were adopting a new Language Arts curriculum in District 67 before reading your article.

    From your article:
    In response to questions by Daily North Shore, Lauren Fagel, the current assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction, technology, and assessment of Lake Forest School Districts 67 and 115, said in an email:

    We have been asked if will be doing the same process for our Language Arts curriculum. In January, 2015, the Board of Education voted to adopt a new reading and writing curriculum.

    From minutes of the BOE meetings found on the Lake Forest schools website:

    MINUTES OF A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION LAKE FOREST SCHOOL DISTRICT 67 January 27, 2015

    PRESIDENT’S REPORT
    Mr. Andersen reported that public organizations have different goals and many challenges including motivating a large group of people. The vision of the Board should be to focus on broad goals, not to be inflexible. The mission of the District is Education and is not personal. Mr. Andersen stated that it is a privilege to serve on the Board, that it is a vital role and the goal is to work together in a respectful manner.

    ACTION ITEMS:
    Approval of ELA Adoption
    Mr. Simeck recommended adoption of the English Language Arts as discussed at the December Board meeting.
    MOTION: Mrs. Fisher moved, seconded by Mrs. Clemmensen, that the Board of Education of Lake Forest School District 67, Lake Forest, Illinois, approve the English Language Arts adoption, as presented.
    
    Votes were taken by roll call. Votes were cast as follows:
    Ayes: Lemke, Borkowski, Clemmensen, Andersen, Fisher, Folker Nays:
    Absent: Schuler
    The motion carried unanimously.

    MINUTES OF A REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION LAKE FOREST SCHOOL DISTRICT 67 December 15, 2014

    English Language Adoption Report
    Mrs. Fagel, Ms. Milsk and Dr. Wilcox reported on the English Language Arts Adoption recommendation. The recommendation includes balanced literacy and workshops for reading/writing, ensuring that all students and teachers are moving in the same direction and that every student is getting the best education. The workshop model includes a mini lesson led by the teacher with independent student work in writing/reading. The workshop creates student ownership, develops and strengthens writing by planning, revising, editing, rewriting or trying a new approach. The program offers a year long, research based, naturally differentiated routine where students have extended time frames for research, reflection and revision. The theory is learning through doing. The anticipated implementation of the K-8 writing program is 2015-2016 and K-8 reading in 2016-2017.

  6. First of all, thank you for posting this Adrienne. It’s very helpful in sorting out and understanding a timeline as to how we got to where we are today.

    The one point that I am still unclear about is bullet point 4 in the search process. It states:
    “a team of teachers, students and parent representatives interviewed the candidates and narrowed the pool down to three and then to one, their top choice being Dr. Holland” (no search firm at any step in the process?)

    I would like to know how this group was selected. Was there an open request sent to all stakeholders in both Lake Forest and Lake Bluff asking community members to join? Otherwise, I am uncertain how any other selection process could create a committee that could represent the interests of both communities at large. If it was an open call and I missed the memo, you can stop reading my post now. Otherwise, the rest of my post is relevant and I hope an answer can be provided to my question.

    In Lake Bluff, we had a series of admin personnel turnover over the last 10 years. Often times, parent committees were formed to have input on many important decisions in the district. These committees always seemed to have formed without an open call to join. Were the rest of us supposed to trust that these unknown selected people were qualified and representative of the community interests without bias? The results of those decisions never seemed to work out long term. Trust was not built, collaboration between community and district did not happen. Our current superintendent, Dr. Jean Sophie, has an approach that I believe has been successful in our district. I have seen more positive change in this district since her arrival. One important being communication to serve on committees has been opened to all stakeholders – a big step in creating transparency, respect, trust. Her philosophical approach can be summed up in her closing on her memos, “In Partnership”. Without that basic premise, the LFHS community is where it is today.

    Going forward, I think it is prudent to have some sort of consistent protocol in hiring that is transparent and allows for open, inclusive community input. Current District 115 Superintendent Michael Simeck went through such a process when he interviewed for a position at Bloomfield Hills, Michigan just before coming to Lake Forest.

    You can read about it here.
    http://www.theoaklandpress.com/general-news/20100414/bloomfield-hills-school-board-chooses-new-superintendent-after-lengthy-search

    Look carefully at the steps and time frame involved. Makes a lot of sense, seems fair to all stakeholders. (Note paragraph 7, the final 2 candidates were held up to an open community meeting for a public Q & A.)

    Collaboration, transparency, and the inclusion of an unbiased third party (e.g. search firm) must be a priority going forward or we can continue to expect more of what we are going through now in the future.

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