Last week Montgomery County Schools superintendent Joshua Powell hired a man named Larry Dixon as a curriculum specialist at the district’s high school. Unfortunately for the district, Powell didn’t inform the Site Based Decision Making council. You can imagine that the SBDM is livid, to say the least.
Dixon retired. Got served a subpoena last week to testify against Powell. And then he got re-hired.
Doesn’t help that his wife is also at the high school working in the same position.
You know what makes matters worse? Take a look at this excerpt from a May 19, 2010 story about Powell while he was in Union County:
The superintendent of the Union County school district violated Kentucky revised statutes and other school laws when making changes at schools in his district, a report released last week found.
The Office of Education Accountability, an independent government organization, began investigating Joshua Powell after 20 allegations that he exceeded his statutory powers were made by an unidentified party.
The Union County school board was also mentioned in the report has having agreed to a policy that countered state law and a decision by the Kentucky Supreme Court.
“Let me say that all of OEA’s allegations and findings are a travesty and the manner in which OEA conducted itself in the Union County Public School district is in direct conflict with federal and state laws and initiatives,” he said.
— Powell violated statute when he “made himself the principal of Union County Middle School,” the report said.
— Powell placed curriculum specialists in schools and dictated the lengths of time that the specialists would be assigned to classrooms per day, all without the required approval of school-based decision-making councils. He also required the use of certain textbooks and software without council approval.
Yep, doing the same thing the OEA wrote him up for while in Union County.
Here’s a taste of the OEA findings against Powell:
1. Superintendent Powell circumvented the SBDM process at all schools in the district when he hired curriculum specialists and placed one at each of the five schools in the district without councils authorizing the positions and without the principals selecting the curriculum specialist after consultation with the councils. Superintendent Powell further circumvented the SBDM process by directing that the curriculum specialists assigned to the schools also be assigned to the classroom for six to seven periods of the school day, thus prohibiting the councils’ policy on making the assignment of instructional and noninstructional staff time to be implemented at their schools.
2. Superintendent Powell ordered all five schools in the district to implement district designed assessment strategies which resulted in changes to the school curriculum, the school schedule, and the instructional practices at the schools without obtaining council approval at each school.
3. Superintendent Powell impeded the implementation of SBDM at the Union County Middle School (UCMS) by assigning a response to intervention coordinator to the school and giving her complete authority to implement changes in all areas of the school without regard for the SBDM statute and council policies or responsibilities.
7. Superintendent Powell circumvented the Morganfield Elementary School (MES) COuncil by placing a team in charge with complete authority over the operation of the school.
9. Superintendent Powell circumvented the Union County High School (UCHS) Council when he attempted to influence the council’s principal selection by having community leaders contact family of council members to use their influence to sway the votes of council members.
10. Superintendent Powell refused to provide the Sturgis Elementary School (SES) Council additional principal candidate names per its request.
11. Superintendent Powell recommended and the Union County School Board (Board) approved a policy which gave him authority to screen principal applicants beyond what is allowed by statute and the courts of Kentucky.
13. Superintendent Powell created a director of student services position at UCHS and placed a PE teacher in the position without posting the position and without the principal making the selection after consulting with the UCHS Council.
19. An assistant principal was hired at UCHS without council consultation and he was told by Superintendent Powell that he would be the new UCHS principal.
Just a shame Karen Timmel of the OEA apparently refuses to take action in Montgomery County. Thanks to legislative pressure, of course. And pressure from people like Helen Mountjoy and the rest of Steve Beshear’s circle.
Because this brazen repeat of potentially illegal activity is jaw-dropping.
Bonus — check out these closing remarks from Powell in that same article linked above:
“OEA denied all of their requests and to date, no one from Union County Public Schools has been allowed to review any notes from their own interviews!” Powell wrote.
He called on state and federal legislators to prevent what he termed as OEA’s “profound negative impact” on the district’s students from happening again.
“OEA should be investigated as to what they have done to us and others,” he said in a statement. “If allowed to continue in the same manner, OEA will prevent Kentucky school districts from making any progress.”
Would appear that he was beginning to workshop his excuses, persecution complex and attack-the-investigator schemes all the way back in 2010.