By late 2014 Joshua Powell, the former superintendent of Montgomery County Schools, was well into his years-long talking point of being a victim of overreaching government agencies. At that point he’d also been sued several times for allegedly retaliating against individuals who dared question him. So it should come as no surprise that in September of that year he started what amounts to a witch hunt against the Education Professional Standards Board and its staff.
Because that’s exactly what he did.
Feast your eyes on this series of communications between EPSB and Powell in September and October:
CLICK EACH TO ENLARGE
Some choice excerpts…
I am uncertain regarding the policies, procedures, and ethical guidelines governing the conduct of EPSB employees and rights of individuals involved, either directly or indirectly, with EPSB. I respectfully request that you forward them to me so as to provide me with the appropriate knowledge and process to address wrongdoing committed by EPSB employees. I have thoroughly researched the Internet, including the EPSB website, and was unable to discover anything related to the aforementioned. Furthermore, I am certain that the transgressions do not fall into the “misunderstandings or misinterpretations” category and, also, involve multiple parties. I would assume that the EPSB being under the U.S. Constitution and, also, the Executive Branch of government has the appropriate and required documents and training and I believe it is my right to be made privy to both the documents and training received by EPSB employees.
If the EPSB does not have protective means to prevent damage to individuals, including their own employees, I am able to see why such atrocities have occurred. Relevant policies and procedures should be clearly posted and presented on the EPSB web-site so as to provide protection (for citizens) from oppressive governmental agencies. I greatly appreciate the forwards that I received from Ms. Lowe but can assure you that I have thoroughly researched the cites as well as the requirements for governmental entities under the Constitution and, specifically, boards under the Commonwealth’s Executive Branch of government. To add, I am requesting that you inform me regarding the proper chain of command (beyond the EPSB) so I can suitably pair the misconduct with the appropriate policies and procedures. Again, this is an attempt to exhaust administrative remedies as well as receive the protection guaranteed to citizens for exposing government misuse of power and retaliation. Please make haste in your response and actions as well as maintain confidentiality so as to minimize ongoing damage caused by EPSB employee misconduct.
I can imagine that you might think my actions are improper but I can assure you that, when you become aware of the misconduct and the evidence of such, you will be sympathetic. When checks and balances do not exist in governmental agencies bad things tend to occur.
I am simply trying to resolve issues which I believe to be in violation of ethics and, quite possibly, law. I am not concerned with “catching” you in violation of Open Records Laws. In fact, in the interest of transparency, our district responds to electronic requests even though the Statute does not require us to do so.
The concept of providing you with my allegations with no clear governing policies and procedures is contrary to appropriate governmental practice and, also, may lead to both subjective investigation and conclusion, and most importantly, will reduce one’s ability to pursue remedy as well as Justice.
Let me also say that I originally attempted to informally resolve the issues and you were unwilling to meet, which has left me no other alternative than to pursue this route. This leads me to believe that you either have a rogue employee and are unaware of the actions taken, that you are privy to the actions taken and are unfamiliar with what actually constitutes misconduct, or are both familiar with the actions and are fine with the conduct. Regardless of which is true, I wholeheartedly believe that establishing policies and procedures that are consistent with ethical standards and laws set forth by the Kentucky Supreme Court, the U.S. Constitution, and the Executive Branch (including ongoing training) would certainly improve the EPSB as well as minimize unethical and abusive practices. There is great irony in an organization that governs ethical standards for all of Kentucky’s certified teachers but but does not hold itself to those same standards by either policy or practice.
Mind-blowing, isn’t it? It’s like a reverse case study of Powell himself. Professing constitutional law expertise, a superior ethical compass and a victim complex on the retaliation front.
As you can read in the documentation above, Powell was having difficulty understanding basic concepts of how the EPSB works. Concepts each of you reading have likely understood since day one. But he was upset because he was under investigation after countless complaints. (Which was one of the reasons Brown wouldn’t meet with him — he was under investigation.) He was beyond angered that government would do things like conduct a background check, interview teachers, listen to complaints and consider physical evidence — not just rumor.
He was burned and on October 2 he decided it was time to start complaining to the board:
POWELL ORR – OCTOBER 2, 2014
You’ve heard audio of how that played out. Powell ended up threatening EPSB.
Powell’s M.O., despite what he claims, has always been to retaliate against those standing up to and/or questioning him. It was only natural to start digging in with the ESPB’s director and chief attorney:
POWELL ORR – OCTOBER 9, 2014
When that didn’t stop proceedings against him, he started going directly after top attorney Alicia Sneed pretty hard:
POWELL ORR – DECEMBER 31, 2014
Because digging through Alicia Sneed’s personnel file would magically stop everything, of course.
But it gets better…
On January 5, 2015 Powell started going after — again — one of the few people who hasn’t filed suit against him. Jim Dusso:
POWELL ORR – JANUARY 5, 2015
Dusso, of course, ended up testifying against Powell during EPSB’s proceedings this year. Because he was one of the many Montgomery County Schools employees to have personally experienced Powell retaliation… while attempting to stop him from retaliating against a Title IX whistleblower.
How dare anyone attempt to hold Joshua Powell accountable. Otherwise he’ll throw a fit, go after everyone and accuse them of doing the very things he’s been accused of doing year after year, been sued for and now been fired.
None of that worked.
Powell is now claiming the Montgomery County Board of Education and Terry Holliday/KDE have defamed him and ruined his reputation. He’s set to be deposed within a few weeks. So you can bet there are more fireworks to come.