Disclosing reasons for personnel decision would be unprofessional

Published 6:07 am Saturday, March 3, 2018

Dear Editor,

Personnel decisions are by their nature sensitive topics best dealt with discreetly. Reasons must be vague to preserve the dignity of all parties (ie., see “Ralston named principal” 11/22/2016). I expect any experienced educator understands this, which is why I’m surprised so many of them signed a document demanding “reasons why” the board voted not to renew Dr. Look’s contract. To disclose those would be the epitome of unprofessionalism, yet it is a primary demand in a document impugning the professionalism of our board. If anything, this seven-page cataloguing of every slight, perceived or real, from the past four years only serves to prove my point.

Even more surprising to me are social media attacks against the women on the board, many by educators whom I respect. While I don’t know all board members well, I know that each acts only with the best interests of our district and all its kids at heart.

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I cannot speak to the reasons why my wife voted the way she did, but I can offer insight into the process involved since our sons and I witnessed it first-hand. I doubt many people outside of Central Office spent more time working with Dr. Look over the past two years than Lori did. Dating back to her time on the LPC, she rarely missed a meeting or work session. She skipped work to attend additional meetings with Dr. Look. She spent countless hours listening to parents, teachers, and other community members. She spoke directly with four of our five principals. She solicited opinions from those who didn’t offer them to ensure she wasn’t hearing only the voices of the disgruntled or the loyalists. She even sat down one-on-one with Dr. Look to hear his side. In the end, she had to make a decision based on the information she collected knowing that regardless of the outcome, many would be disappointed.

Please understand that the women of our board don’t want to drag this man the same way many are dragging them. They simply believe we can do better. And I believe they’re right. My hope is that we can channel the intense passion of this debate into positive energy as we move forward in the search for a new superintendent. If we do that, then I honestly believe we’re one step closer to unlocking the true potential of EVERY child in this district.

Mark Finke

Alumnus of Hogsett, Bate, DHS

Spouse of board member Lori Thompson Finke