On Oct. 24, the 435 members of the Greater Egg Harbor Regional Education Association announced that it had taken a unanimous vote of no confidence in Superintendent John Keenan.
The announcement was made by President Stephanie Tarr at a Board meeting. “Our members are discouraged and disheartened by the way this district is being administered,” Tarr said. “The evidence is clear: John Keenan is leading our district in the wrong direction for our students, our schools, and our communities. We call on the Board of Education to support the hard-working staff who are making our schools great and make the changes necessary to get our district back on track.”
The resolution, which Tarr read in full, cited numerous instances of Keenan’s poor judgment and the toxic environment that he has created. The complete resolution is below.
The members of the GEHREA are in their second year working without a new contract. In June 2016 the association accepted an impartial fact-finder’s report, asking only for a slight modification of the structure of the salary guide which would not add a single penny to the fact-finder’s recommendation.
The Board rejected the vast majority of the report, including any recommendations that benefited the teachers and school staff. In addition, since Keenan’s arrival in 2014-15, 11 grievances have been filed against the district. In the 20 years prior, less than six grievances had been filed.
The two sides are currently in superconciliation. A meeting is schedule with the superconciliator on Nov. 21, although the GEHREA has repeatedly expressed their willingness to meet with the Board at any time to resolve the bargaining crisis. The Board has been unable to set a date with the association for an informal meeting.
“Make no mistake about it: our district is in a crisis,” Tarr said. “We must have strong, capable, reasonable leadership at the top. Our students and the taxpayers deserve no less.”
Resolution by the Members of the Greater Egg Harbor Regional Education Association for No Confidence in the Leadership of Superintendent John Keenan – October 10, 2016
WHEREAS, Superintendent John Keenan’s overall attitude and decision making have negatively impacted the educational process and learning environment in the Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District since his arrival in 2014-15; and
WHEREAS, John Keenan has done nothing in the two and ½ years in his position as the educational leader to inspire or motivate his staff; and
WHEREAS, John Keenan has violated the contract with the Association which has resulted in 11 grievances being filed against the district in two years when in the 20 years prior, less than six grievances had been filed by the Association; and
WHEREAS, John Keenan continually assassinates the character and credibility of the Association leadership; and
WHEREAS, the mismanagement by John Keenan of the referendum project including opening school earlier than other districts in the County which then resulted in two unnecessary delays in the opening of Oakcrest High School and the disruption of the school calendar; and
WHEREAS, there have been hundreds of thousands of dollars in change orders for the project; and
WHEREAS, John Keenan unilaterally changed the evaluation system from the Danielson model to the Marshall model without the approval of the DEAC after the staff had been fully trained in the Danielson model and his failure to fully train the teachers in the Marshall model; and
WHEREAS, Oakcrest High School was vandalized and John Keenan failed to file a police report and;
WHEREAS, due to John Keenan’s directives, lunch periods were reduced which necessitated tables being placed in the hallways which resulted in a fire code violation over unsafe conditions during lunch periods; and
WHEREAS, students have launched a petition to “Impeach John Keenan” that garnered more than 700 signatures, an obvious sign of student dissatisfaction with his leadership; and
WHEREAS, John Keenan has falsely taken credit for engaging in bonus initiatives when in fact it was the teachers, staff and other administrators who actually did the work; and,
WHEREAS, John Keenan has created a toxic atmosphere that has led student and staff morale to hit their lowest levels; and
WHEREAS, John Keenan has stated that the staff would receive training on a security reporting app during the first in-service days in August, 2016 prior to the opening of school and then said the training would be held at the first faculty meeting and then failed to provide this training so students and staff had no access to the app or training until October 10 of this year; and,
WHEREAS, John Keenan has inordinately burdened the taxpayers with excessive legal fees due to the current stalemate in negotiations and numerous grievance arbitrations; and
WHEREAS, John Keenan’s lack of leadership and anti-union animus has negatively impacted the morale of teachers, and educational support personnel, disrupted the learning environment for our students and created an overall diminishment in the quality of education in the Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District,
THEREFORE, let it be now resolved that the Greater Egg Harbor Regional Education Association determines that it has no confidence in the leadership of Superintendent John Keenan.
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