Monday, March 10, 2008

Should he stay or should he go?


According to a letter to the editor in yesterday’s Courier Times, one Middletown resident believes Mr. Kadri should resign now. What do you think?

You can rebut or support that opinion by sending your response to the Courier Times. Remember to include your full name, address, and daytime phone number.

49 comments:

pianomom said...

If I'm Kadri, why would I quit when I don't have another job? It's not like he wants to go. He's being forced out by certain, unnamed board members (like we don't know who is responsible for this catastrophe). If your concern is that he isn't giving Neshaminy 100%, just ask all the PTO parents how committed he is. Every time I go to Maple Point for a booster meeting, I see his car there every night after 7pm. I saw him at 2 of the middle school plays last week.
If he has one leg out the door, every Neshaminy parent should be clutching at the other leg and not letting go.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps some other people who shall remain nameless (like we don't all know) should resign first!

Anonymous said...

Let's not start those chants again or Mr. Buzzkill will tell us not to make personal attacks. Stop being such a goody goody, Bill. We all know you're trying to do the right thing, just let us in on what's going on. The community wants to show its outrage but we can't do that until someone spills the beans. We got your back!

Anonymous said...

I have seen Mr. Kadri at 3 school plays, both evenings at Gym Night and at various PTO meetings and events. Kadri is the "real deal".

The last school board meeting was the first time I thought there may be hope when all parties agreed to a retreat. However, I fear it is simply one specific board member doing damage control and feel he is not personally committed to making this work.

Sadly we will probably lose Mr. Kadri and shame on us for not aggressively outing the board member(s) responsible.

(Editor’s note – this comment was edited for content)

supporter of Kadri said...

I've seen Mr. Kadri at the high school musical as well. I believe he went to all of the middle school plays. The only board member that I saw at any of the plays is the creator of this blog.

I'm sure there are certain board members that would love to see Mr. Kadri resign. Then they could put their puppet in place and try to bury what happened to make Mr. Kadri feel the need to look for employment elsewhere. Perhaps the person who wrote the letter should do their homework before attacking Mr. Kadri for giving no less than 100%. He is still our superintendent and deserves the respect associated with it.

And it would be nice if those suggested by anonymous #2 would resign. That would really be what's best for Neshaminy.

Anonymous said...

Did we hire a superintendent or a theatre critic? Who care if he goes to all of the plays? We hired someone to get things done and he can't do it. School boards are tough everywhere. The fire is too hot for him here. Let him go and get someone who can stand the heat.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame you've missed the point. People are complimenting Kadri's attendance at events as a sign of his commitment to the students and the district. He's been trying to make things better but we have too many board members and administrators who fear change. I don't think standing the heat is the issue for Kadri. Trying to navigate through a sea of ignorance and complacency is the problem. Do you think we'll be able to attract any decent superintendent after Kadri leaves?

Anonymous said...

What we will get if Kadri decides to move on is another puppet that will accept status quo and follow the same old political path that got us into this mess in the first place.

Kadri is a huge supporter of what's supposed to be important in this district and that's educating the whole child. He is a forward thinking individual who commits a huge volume of his time into what's best for this community's future and what happens to our students will become our future.

Let's Cool off Neshaminy's Heat said...

Let's be honest about the "heat" that Kadri can't stand. He obviously didn't want to turn over hiring authority to the board, who want to put in their handpicked favorites and political allies. Is it any coincidence the board went with against his recommendation for athletic director at the high school? Even now our board is about to have a major blow up and it has something to do with the personnel report. If we follow who is behind this latest personnel scandal, we'll know who is applying the heat in Neshaminy. That is the person we should send packing.

Survey-says said...

I am involved with lots os sports at LAA and I am also very active at a local church. So I really interact with lots of people. I've talked to parents, teachers, janitors, maintenance workers, PTO people, administration staff, seniors and students. I would say I have asked about 150 people what their opinion is of Kadri and I have probably gotten 149 positive responses. That's over a 99% approval rating which is hard to believe but true. The one person that did not like him, did not give a reason.

Anonymous said...

The frustrating thing about all of this is something we can all agree on. We have no information!! We don't know which board members are forcing Kadri out. We need the roll call people were discussing recently. Kadri himself hasn't spoken out about his feelings (I'm not saying he should or shouldn't) so we don't know exactly where he stands. I've heard the term "blow up" and "scandal" used to describe a personnel issue we are all in the dark on. We need real information. This blog has become a guessing game without any substantiated facts or sources. There are so many contradictions as well. The same people ripping the board for going against the AD decision are now praising the board for going against the recent administrative hires. You can't have it both ways. Everything would be better off if we could just get things out in the open.

Anonymous said...

How is that the so many parents and teachers support him, yet some senior staff and board members don't? For once we have a superintendent who sees what we parents see - a once proud district that is declining because it cannot adapt to change.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Survey Says...the man has a higher approval rating than Obama and Clinton put together. Kadri for President!

Anonymous said...

What is "senior staff"? Older teachers? Most of them support Kadri. Who are you refering to?

Anonymous said...

It really doesn't matter at this point if we want Mr. Kadri to stay or go. One, two or three board members cant force him out so I would assume that he believes it is best for him to leave since it appears a majority of the board would like hime to stay. What is important is that while he is here and after he leaves that we get moving on the major issues that face the district. The last meeting was the first that actually seemed to put us in a direction. Let's now start to ask what the plan is to increase scores and how can we keep our programs and reduce overhead to keep taxes somewhat in line.

William O'Connor said...

To the “frustrated” anonymous, I agree that you’re entitled to more information. Unfortunately as a sitting member of the school board, I cannot always speak freely about certain situations like personnel issues. That doesn’t mean that I’m not actively engaged in trying to resolve those matters, but I simply cannot comment publicly. Believe me, nobody is more frustrated than I am at not being able to just blurt this stuff out.

When I started this blog, I knew there would be frustrating times when I could not say everything that I wanted to because of confidentiality restrictions or active negotiations. Despite the aggravation this causes both you and me, I’m still trying to communicate information to the community and give you all an opportunity to voice your opinions on matters such as building closures, PSSA’s and grade alignment. These are important issues that we cannot lose track of no matter what else is going on in the district.

Regarding our superintendent, let me restate for the record that if Mr. Kadri chooses to stay, I for one would be ecstatic. I believe that he has a unique vision for Neshaminy, and the drive and determination to take us to that next level. I wish I could have made a difference regarding Mr. Kadri’s career here, but I believe he decided just prior to my taking office last December that his future would be elsewhere. Back on February 21st, Kadri told the Courier Times “Rather than struggle between those philosophies, it would be better for me to find a place more aligned with my strengths.” It sounds to me that he has made up his mind. All I can do - all any of us can do - is encourage him to stay. But if Mr. Kadri does leave, we must all work together to ensure this kind of thing never happens again.

Anonymous said...

Is is fair to say that the minutes from the previous meeting should be published on the district's website prior to the next meeting? It has been 2 weeks. What is taking so long? Some of us can't attend the meetings or get it on TV. We rely on this for information. can something be done?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Kadri was hired because he is a smart person. Only a fool would resign before finding a new job. When an employer goes to great lengths to find a quality employee, and then discovers that the employee is unhappy, they try and understand the reason for the discontent and do something about it. The school board has a long history of hiring experts to make recommendations, then ignoring those recommendations. Let Mr. Kadri do the job he was hired to do!

Anonymous said...

Bill,
Thank you for your honesty. I hope that people can respect the position you are in. Walking the line between being open and maintaining confidences is a difficult job.

Regarding Mr. Kadri, I am only now beginning to learn about his philosophy and commitment to our children's education. It would be a shame to see him go. I would hope that the community and the members of the board don't read too much into his quote in the Courier Times. Shouldn't the Neshaminy community (board, staff and parents) do everything their power to make our community a "place aligned with [his] strengths"?

From everything I can determine his strengths (along with all of ours) are what our community needs.

signed,
A Langhorne Parent

Anonymous said...

William,
What are your opinions on PSSA scores, full-day kindergarten and an elementary school closing?

Anonymous said...

Bill, if Kadri leaves it will be a dark day for Neshaminy. Comments like the one posted in the times shows just how deep the old boy network will go to control this board. Kadri made his statements out of desperation to show the community the state that Neshaminy is in. Time and time again the board has blocked every move he has made. His comments maybe the last wake up call we get before the board takes us down the path of no return. Besides the letter in the newspaper, someone within the admin. has circulated letters dredging dirt against him. If the people that don't want him to stay would speak up and not back stab him we may have a chance. These back room dealings are just a smoke screen to push through their agenda. Please do anything to keep Paul Kadri in the district and don't let the silent minority have their way.

Anonymous said...

Mr Kadri is already on top of things with organized commitees from each school getting feedback from staff with what tools they need to help with PSSA.
I would love to survey the community on what the actually KNOW about the PSSAs. LIke what the intials stand for, who takes them, how it is scored, WHY it is taking, how the scores affect districts.
Here's a suggestion. All of the seniors who come to the meetings on fire for "change"...Why don't you sign up and become members of SAGE and give back to the community in which you live? You say you care about the "children". The district could train you to help with PSSA tutoring and working the classrooms as volunteers. You can see what it's like to work in a classroom at MAXIMUM capacity and bring your stories back to the "ranch" to share with fellow seniors. The was certaintly a huge turnout at the last meeting. I'm sure our favorite couple would be happy to arrange transportation to and from like they did with the high school vote.
If you want to be a bear...come and live in the forest!

Anonymous said...

Mr Kadri has not been give the chance to "get things done". He is too busy putting out the fires created by a bunch of hypocrites. I'll place my bets on Kadri.

Parents, students, staff, community members: 5,000

Grumpy Board members: 2

Anonymous said...

I never see any of the current board members at these events (fine arts) except KADRI. We have talented kids in this school district they just have a different playing field. The 2007 High School Jazz Band won a NATIONAL AWARD last year as it was judged the TOP HIGH SCHOOL JAZZ BAND that had participated in festivals all over the country. They played and were judged at a festival in Florida and when they werte done all of the judges just said " wow we have never heard kids play like that before you were GREAT". But the NATIONAL AWARD was given after school was done for the year.... there was a press release in the Daily Fish wrap. . . the BCCT. That's a national award folk's and Kadri is out supporting these kids and our on field athletes. That's priceless to me supporting all kids in the district young and old athletic or artistic. Take the roll call let's see who the bad eggs are and ask for their resignations. But their egos will get in the way and still the only people getting the short end is still the kids and they are what this all about
(Editor’s Note – This comment was edited for content)

Anonymous said...

The AD situation was interesting to say the least...the board wanted one person and Kadri/Admin wanted another. If you only knew why we are blasting about the recent hire...you need to surf around Neshaminy's website and figure out what moves are now in place the lightbulb would start to shine. Remember the family member of a particular regular at the board meetings. One minute he hates them and the next he's sucking up.
(Editor’s Note – This comment was edited for content)

Anonymous said...

"Lightbulb",
Is this what the personnel report "scandal" is about?

William O'Connor said...

To the Anonymous who asked my opinion on several current issues, here is a brief response:

PSSA scores: We must consider some short term ideas to boosting our scores including small incentive plans, improving the atmosphere at the high school, and even possibly mandating proficiency as a graduation requirement. Beyond that we must expand our research into the organic causes of our situation including the socio-economic status of our community.

Full Day K: Much like JD Mullane, I’m not convinced that f/t K truly contributes a lifelong advantage to early childhood education. I would need to see more conclusive data on this before agreeing to incur the considerable expense of implementing such a program in a maturing community such as Neshaminy.

Elementary School Closing: We invested money in the McKissick study, so our first step is to choose a facilities strategy from the four options presented to us. Based on our selection, it is very likely that we can close at least one elementary school without overcrowding our classrooms. I am prepared to vote to close an elementary school once we have designated a vision for our building utilization.

Take-a-drive said...

Mr. O'Connor - Your plan for closing an elementary school makes a lot more sense than the 1 board member who said we should close Hoover beacuse he drove his car around all the schools.

Anonymous said...

I'm told it was a quiet meeting tonight and the board almost seemed to be getting along. Problem is that the personnel report is still outstanding, Kadri still seems intent on leaving, and you guys haven't had your little get-together yet. Are things getting better or is this just the calm before the storm? My bet is on the latter because too much crap has gone on around here, and I have faith that you are too decent a man to ignore it or just sweep it under a rug. Maybe we'll never know the complete truth, but please know Mr. O'Connor that we are putting our faith in you to do the right thing, whatever that is.

Anonymous said...

How can the personnel report still not be approved? These people have been in these jobs for over a month. This is unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

It must be the calm before the storm because there is an entity in this community that labels themselves as speaking for parents sending out propaganda spewing complete nonsense about our superintendent and the actions of our school board to the PTO leadership at our schools. It appears completely odd to me though that these so called "Neshaminy parents" neglected to sign their names to this document and I find it equally odd that the families I speak to have nothing but wonderful things to say about our superintendent. It's really a shame to waste paper like that!

st1960 said...

This is to the person who wanted to know why the minutes aren't posted as soon as the meetings are concluded.

Minutes from any meeting must be voted for approval before they can become a public record. The secretary must type them up, distribute them to the board members to look over for accuracy and then they can be put to a vote at the board meeting. This is what happens in any organization.

Columbo said...

I’m following the breadcrumbs here…let’s take Mr. O’Connor at his word that he feels that the board should support administration’s recommendations for personnel decisions (he said that on a blog entry back in December, and other times). If all this controversy is over a particular appointment, supposedly a recommendation made by administration, he must have found something wrong or inappropriate in the selection process beyond who the person involved is. Everyone is saying this person shouldn’t get the job because of who her parents are, but I can’t imagine Mr. O’Connor would object to an appointment solely because of that. If that were the case, he would be a hypocrite. So why hasn’t this issue been addressed yet?

Next thing to consider is that we have uninvolved board members and a lame duck superintendent (sorry to say that, Mr. Kadri). We keep hearing rumors of how several board members never take a stand while others bicker over issues. And why is Kadri so silent now over this personnel matter when he was so outspoken over personnel interference last year? It’s probably safe to assume that Mr. O’Conner is virtually alone in this battle with the possible exception of Mr. Spitz, and he is going up against the 2 or 3 board members who support this appointment while the others sit back and do nothing.

We all heard that the board was going to have a major fight a few weeks ago but that never happened. I’m betting that meeting was about this personnel matter. It may have also been about Kadri being forced out of the district, but I think that’s already a done deal and he is all but gone. Now our board is supposed to have a workshop to get on the same page about something, and Mr. O’Connor has stated that it’s not about differences of opinion. We can only assume the major reason for this workshop is the personnel matter, and it won’t be resolved until the workshop.

Another thing to consider is legal counsel. If Mr. O’Connor found something inappropriate in the selection process, it could have been sent to the district’s solicitor for an opinion. That alone could account for a lengthy delay because attorneys are very thorough. We also must remember that one member of Neshaminy’s infamous first family, the ones causing all this fuss, is an attorney. It’s possible they have filed some sort of legal intervention which could further delay the process. I have been told that there is some possible political connection between that person and our solicitor, and perhaps that’s complicating the matter even further.

As frustrating as the delay is, all the evidence points to O’Connor fighting this issue with one hand tied behind his back. If the matter was resolved, he would have said so. If he was happy with the outcome, he would have said so. Because this involves a personnel matter there isn’t a whole lot that he can say but I we can figure out what’s going on if we keep following the breadcrumbs.

(Editor’s Note – this comment was edited for content)

Anonymous said...

Hopefully this will finally expose the absolute travesty we call our Human Resources office and hiring practices. For years the handshake deals, bogus interviews, corrupt nepotism hires, and overall unprofessional approach of this office has gone on under the radar. The way information about job postings, interviews, and hires is unprofessionally leaked to staff members and the public is an absolute disgrace. Oftentimes, the last person to find out who received a position is the person themself. This time they're being called on the carpet and it's long overdue. If it took this blog to finally bring it to light, then congratulations Bill.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend lastnight's meeting, but my significant other did attend.

From my understanding during the meeting some members of the board and/or administration were quite adamant that the district was not in a deficit this year.

If that is true (Bill or any other attendee please confirm), what is the dramatic change that is going to occur next year to put us into the $15,000,000 dollar deficit that was discussed and stressed so much during the discussion regarding closing schools down NOW!?

A Langhorne Parent

SK said...

That makes sense Columbo. Thank you for your analysis. It also serves as a good reason why parents must attend board meetings on a regular basis instead of just when there is an important issue. We can support board members like O'Connor and Spitz simply by just being there for them. When we don't go to meetings, the only people in the audience are the usual 6 or 7 Flowers Mill residents, and they boo and hiss the board when something isn't being cut. They also have the backs of those board members who are looking out for their interests. If this personnel issue is ever discussed at a board meeting and we aren't there to support Mr. O'Connor, you know the Flowers Mill seniors won't support him. Tax cuts are important to them, not school board ethics. They won't criticize any board member who is willing to indiscriminently close a building just to save a few bucks.

just-down-the-road said...

I don't want to turn this into a bashing of Flowers Mills, but they did have a big crowd there the other night for an unknown reason.
This huge crowd had no other agenda but to have their taxes cut.
I guess Maple Point is a closer drive than Harrisburg.
We all want lower taxes but at Maple Point these meetings are about EDUCATION.

Anonymous said...

If you are on his email alert list, Mr. O'Connor explained there was a petition that was circulated through Flowers Mill to close another school building, and a small army of seniors were supposed to bring that to the meeting, which is why the meeting was moved to the auditorium. I don't know why there was no petition presented, but there was a larger turnout of Flowers Mill people than usual.

Bash Away said...

The meetings are for anyone who has an interest in Neshaminy whether it be the quality or cost of education. But I am sick of the way Flowers Mill people act. There are other senior communities in Neshaminy but they don't act the same way even though they are concerned about taxes too. When a parent speaks at a meeting, the Flowers Mill crew often make rude comments out loud. A couple meetings ago someone referred to senior citizens as the greatest generation. The people in Flowers Mill should start acting that way.

Anonymous said...

Bash Away makes a good point. Even though most seniors are concerned about taxes over education, Flowers Mill is so much more militant about it. They keep saying they care about the students, but they never show up in droves when an educational topic is being debated. The majority of them only come to meetings to protest the cost of education. If I lived in one of the other senior communities, I would hang up a sign saying "Not Affiliated with Flowers Mills in any way, shape, or form!"

pianomom said...

The original point of this post was Kadri, and it gets me positively sick thinking about how this man was treated. We may not be able to convince him to stay, but we sure as hell can make sure we get a good replacement, and NOT A PUPPET! Like him or not, Kadri set a very high bar for his replacement, and the parents of this district are not about to take a step back. Take notice, school board members - we don't like what some of you are doing, and we aren't interested in someone who will just give into your power hungry egos. We want a superintendent who is energetic, independent, and focused on education. More than anything, this district needs a good swift kick in the butt, and we want a superintendent who will do it. So if any of you board members or lazy administrators think your lives will get easier when he leaves, guess again! Mr. Kadri gave us a taste of what a REAL superintendent can do, and the parents of Neshaminy are not about to give that up.

Anonymous said...

SECOND THAT, PIANO MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE BOARD SUPPOSEDLY WANTED CHANGE AND THEY GAVE US A TASTE OF CHANGE. THERE'S NO TURNING BACK NOW!!!!!!

SK said...

If you're trying to start a little revolution here, Pianomom, count me in!

Anonymous said...

I don't think we could give a more fitting tribute to Kadri (if he does leave) than to replace him with someone equally as dynamic. He may only serve here for 2 years, but his legacy will last for many more.

Since we lack faith in our board's decision-making abilities, we should do what they do in Michigan and open up the interview process to the public.

Anonymous said...

It is not uncommon for parents, board members, community leaders, etc. to be part of school district interviews - especially for administrative positions. All stakeholder groups will be impacted by the decision and therefore should have input. There is much outrage in the community over the last two administrative hiring processes. Bringing the process out of the closet would eliminate alot of cynicism that currently exists. Backdoor hires and this recent personnel report disaster would never had happened under an "open interview" format. Make the change Bill!!

William O'Connor said...

I assume the previous admin hiring you refer to is the AD position. Actually the interview process was pretty solid there although it could have benefitted with the addition of a member or two of the public. The problem in that case was with the board, not the interview process.
The selection process to fill temporary administrative positions (due to leaves of absence) is less formal than with permanent positions. I wouldn't expect the same exhaustive interview process, and I further believe that such jobs can be used as a resume builder for someone who can benefit from the experience (in other words, a temp assignment wouldn't always have to go to the most qualified person, but they would have to be qualified). Having said this, I strongly believe the that process for temporary assignments needs a few more checks and balances. This issue is most definitely on my radar.
By the way, please call me William instead of Bill. Not a big deal really but I never went by that nickname (even though most people assume that's what to call me). There are some other nicknames out there for me but I have to keep this site PG-13 :-)

Anonymous said...

You have been officially brainwashed. I can't even believe I just read that. "Wouldn't have to go to the most qualified"? "Resume builder"?
ARE YOU SERIOUS? These are people who are running schools. To borrow a quote from a presidential candidate - Who do you want answering the phone at 3AM? Go anywhere in corporate America and please find a company who doesn't the MOST qualified person for any position - temporary, permanent, whatever. This why we are a mediocre school district. This is why Kadri is leaving. Why shouldn't we have an "exaustive" process? Are you kidding us? It's only the most important position in the school. You might as well play pin the tail on the donkey from now on. You couldn't have done any worse. I can't wait to hear the reaction of other parents on this one. Here we thought you were the one fighting against mediocrity and complacency. It sounds like you're one of the people promoting it.

William O'Connor said...

No, not brainwashed at all. You sound like a Neshaminy employee who has seen too many cases where our HR processes have been abused.

In the corporate world, managers have ways of offering challenge to their employees to see if they're ready for the next step in their career. It's not just about training and development; it's also about succession planning - a way to identify and promote talent from within.

There are few opportunities in a school district to advance talent other than through temporary assignments into administration. I'm not saying that an unqualified person be given a chance. To the contrary, only qualified individuals should be considered. And I am aware of a couple of fairly recent examples where use of such temporary assignments has worked out very well for the district.

If temporary assignments haven't worked out in the past, it's the fault of the selection process, not the concept. We need to tighten up our processes in the district.

If you have further quetions or concerns about this, please feel free to contact me directly via email.

pianomom said...

My husband was passed over for promotions in his job because others were believed to be better qualified. Finally someone gave him a chance ten years ago and I am very proud to say that he has surpassed those who went ahead of him. Companies should be promoting from within when they have qualified talent. The problem in Neshaminy is that some of the people getting promoted are not qualified but they are politically connected. Mr. O'Connor is trying to fix the system so that Neshaminy can promote from within without advancing political favoritism.