Purnell’s Letter to Griffin

There’s a whole kerfuffle over a letter circulating via e-mail, allegedly written by Charlottesville Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Laura Purnell, as James Fernald and Josh Barney report in today’s Progress. Purnell wrote a nasty criticism of beleaguered Charlottesville Superintendent Scottie Griffin, and ended up writing a letter of apology to Griffin. Griffin released the letter of apology publicly, but would not release the letter that made the apology necessary. To that end, keep reading to see the original letter in question, thanks to pseudonymous submitter “DumpHer.”

February 3, 2005

Dear Dr. Griffin:

This letter is in response to the memorandum that you directed Mrs. Ivory to write yesterday on your behalf and intend to give to me, detailing your expectations for my work with the school improvement process and your perception that there is a lack of evidence that I am doing the work that I was hired to do related to improving student achievement for all students. Had you taken the opportunity to discuss the Academic Review Process with me, the two lead reviewers from the VDOE, any of the trained, division level academic review team members, or the administrators of the schools in review, you would understand that the Academic Review Process is intended to be informative and not punitive. Your intention to reprimand me by linking the Areas of Improvement outlined in the Clark Academic Review Summary directly to my performance is quite punitive and conflicts with the spirit and intent of the process. Although I am tempted to try and defend the type, quality and quantity of work that I have done since arriving in Charlottesville on September 18, I choose instead to let my work and professional presence in our community speak for itself.

I can no longer be supportive of your leadership in this division and can no longer behave in a manner that suggests to the staff in the Charlottesville City Schools, the youth that we are here to serve, and the greater community, that everything is as it should be. Many present the argument that current unrest is in response to your leadership style and the reform efforts that you are attempting. Others assert that the problems exist because of race. I have a different view. As you know through my background and experiences, I have learned to view my work through a critical race lens. Most of my professional work and volunteering have been done in urban settings in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. I have served under many Black supervisors, on predominately Black non-profit Boards, with numerous urban, faith-based organizations, and at one point in my career was the only white administrator at my level in the East Cleveland City Schools. I also understand and teach “between and within group differences,” cultural differences, modern racism and internalized oppression. From my point of view, one can never take race out of the picture. However, there are many more dynamics than race influencing teaching and learning in our city schools. The purpose of this letter is to let you know that from my perspective the decisions that you are making and the behaviors that you exhibit as our Superintendent, are significant barriers to the success of our efforts to close the achievement gap and to provide excellent educational experiences for all students. It is my intent to make public the four following concerns that I have consistently experienced in the last five months.

Your behavior to members of the administrative team, support staff, Board and community members can be described as bullying. Within my first two weeks here in Charlottesville, you were so verbally abusive to me that I contemplated not signing my contract. You probably recall that I told you I doubted the decision I made to work for you and that in my 25 year career I had never experienced this type of unprofessional behavior. With pointed fingers, your response to me was patronizing and you indicated that you did not have time to hold my hand during these chaotic times. Your behavior changed following this early confrontation. In public sessions and during small team meetings, you have marginalized me, interrupted me, excluded me, and at one time directed Mrs. Ivory to hang up on me. Perhaps the most disturbing form of marginalizing has been your directive to me that I run all of my ideas and written work past Mr. Miles, Mr. Thompson, and/or Mrs. Ivory. A bully operates in ways that cause people to fear him or her. You frequently make public comments about firing people who are not supportive of you. My anger now overrides my fears of being fired. I am willing to take the risk of responding to you in this manner even though my husband is retiring next month, we are selling our home in Ohio, we have two children in college, and will be closing on a house in Crozet on April 1.

As a leader you are extremely controlling, offering the Associate Superintendent, Assistant Superintendents, Directors, Coordinators and school level administrators absolutely no professional autonomy. I was not given the opportunity to interview and choose my own secretary. You made that appointment in early October without my input. You give orders, dictate letters, rewrite memos and constantly direct central office administrators to do work that often interferes with the work that we are expected to do. In many instances, we are told what to do and how to do it. For example, I have been asked by you dozens of times to put interventions in place at the schools, to spend time researching programs such as FOSS, PLATO, Remediation Plus, I Can Learn, and many others. On numerous occasions I have told you that we need to focus on processes, procedures and practices rather than specific programs, and you have dismissed me each time. It is my perception that you are influenced by vendors and that you frequently make hasty decisions without much information. It is insulting and a waste of time to sit with a Superintendent who tells me how to write, what to do, and what to say.

I have not been supported in my attempts to do the work that I am capable of doing and am being held responsible for doing. In mid-October I presented you with a plan for using content-advocates as a means of on-going, sustained professional development and I was dismissed. In late October I requested the opportunity to work collaboratively with several schools on work associated with closing the achievement gap and culturally responsive teaching. I was directed by you that I was not to be involved in professional development, especially work related to diversity and culturally responsive teaching and leading. In order to do the work that the principals and I felt needed to be done, I facilitated workshops on the division wide staff development day at Buford and at CHS by indicating that the work would focus on data analysis. Actually, the work that needed to be done focused on seven pre-requisite skills to effectively and appropriately using data to close the achievement gap. I have successfully done this type of work in Ohio and North Carolina, as well as with professional organizations such as the National Council of Exceptional Children, NCATE, the Eastern Educational Research Association, and in partnership with ASCD in South Africa. In November, I shared a draft professional development plan with you which you dismissed. In December you directed me to significantly reduce my proposed role in professional development in a collaborative project with UVA. Perhaps the most significant lack of support is in the area of reading instruction and benchmark testing. You have dismissed recommendations made by Mrs. Ivory and me related to the administration of PALS and the implementation of Open Court. You have also made it impossible for principals and staff to share concerns and observations about the relationship of Flanagan tests and the SOLs.

Finally, I need to let you know of my anger and frustration with your lack of collaboration at the central office level and with your administrative team. The ideals of working with a professional learning community, of collaboration, and in the spirit of teamwork that you described during my interview and, that is alluded to in my contract, are not at all typical of the way that this system currently functions. This lack of collaboration has resulted in many poor and potentially expensive decisions. I do not support parts of the proposed budget due to lack of collaboration and communication. For example, the central office team has made it clear to you that we do not support both an ELA coordinator and a literacy coordinator. It was your decision to propose a full-time Fine & Performing Arts Coordinator in an attempt to hire someone new. There was no input solicited of the Associate and Assistant Superintendents regarding the pay raise and change in title for the Supervisor of Testing. I have repeatedly informed you that there is not currently a need to purchase additional hands-on science and elementary level reading materials, and my feedback has been dismissed. Furthermore, you are misleading the community by indicating that the schools have input into the proposed math and reading interventions. For example, Dr. Heard and I attended a meeting with you and two I Can Learn vendors last fall. At that time you indicated that we will do this algebra program beginning second semester and you directed your two central office team members not to tell Mr. Flynn that the decision had already been made. The trip that the Buford math team made to Washington DC to observe this math intervention was an attempt to make it appear that there was staff in-put and buy-in to this program. We are now aware that the FBI is currently investigating this vendor. Under your leadership and direction, I have often struggled with my own integrity in order to not appear insubordinate.

The Charlottesville community has the right and responsibility to hold their school administrators and staff to high standards. The community also has the right to know what has been going on behind the scenes. In my opinion, it is disturbing that you are attempting to influence the Black community by perpetuating the myth that you are a victim of racism.

Ironically, Dr. Joseph Johnson is scheduled to be the key-note speaker at an upcoming Title I technical conference in Richmond. It was my privilege to work with Dr. Johnson in Ohio. Dr. Johnson served as a professional reference for me last spring, writing, “Dr. Purnell’s background as a principal and district administrator gives her a practical perspective-yet she is very conversant with research and literature related to achievement gap issues.” (Joseph F. Johnson, Jr. Ph.D., Special Assistant to the State Superintendent, Ohio Department of Education.) Dr. Johnson espouses that closing the achievement gap is a moral, legal and economic imperative for all of us and that communities must work collaboratively to address this complex social issue. We can no longer afford to alienate staff of the Charlottesville City Schools, community-wide social service agencies, our colleagues at the University of Virginia, civic organizations, and the parents who send their children to our public schools.

It is my intention to send this letter via email today to School Board members.

Laura Purnell, Ph.D.
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction
Charlottesville City Schools

24 thoughts on “Purnell’s Letter to Griffin”

  1. If an educated person such as Dr. Purnell would put her neck out with such a scathing letter and stated that was what she was doing, then I find it highly unlikely she turn tailed and apologized. The talk around the schools, from those in the know, is that Dr. Griffin wrote the apology herself and had one of the members of her staff, (perhaps the $23,000-a-year- raise employee) put it in the computer email system. The wording of the apology doesn’t even look like Dr. Purnell’s writing.

    What bugs me is that Dr. Griffin won’t talk to the newspapers or t.v….unless it serves her agenda. This apology serves her agenda.

    I don’t believe, for one minute that Dr. Purnell apologized. And if she leaves the Charlottesville City Schools, it will be a sad day and a great loss.


  2. I agree with you. I have felt sick all day about this situation. It seems to me after having watched this develop over the past 7 months, that Dr. Griffin is formidable and manipulative. It seems we have nobody on the School Board or the City Council brave or strong enough to stand up to her. They are afraid of her and her threats. We as a community need to band together for ALL children, but I especially worry about the refugee children from camps in Kenya who don’t even have a written language. (And we don’t need more ESL teachers in every school?) We need our funds in the classroom, not Central Office or vendors pockets.

  3. Take a lesson from UVA…buy out Griffin’s contract and promote Purnell.

    Dr. Purnell seems to have the respect of the teachers and principals in the city. I wonder if the damage Dr. Griffin has done will result in a combined city/county school system or an elected city school board. Something needs to happen to change the pattern of the past ten years of city schools leadership.

  4. Merely a surmise, but I think the answer is probably "no." Purnell’s letter indicates that she arrived in Charlottesville on 9/18/04, and she writes elsewhere of being interviewed by Griffin. Thus it appears that Purnell was hired by Griffin, rather than having been someone in the school system pre-dating Griffin’s arrival. It seems unlikely that if Purnell had applied for or been a serious candidate for Griffin’s job, that she’d then be a candidate for a far junior position (an assistant, not even an associate, superintendent).

    Plus, I don’t think Purnell’s had enough experience, career-wise, to be a candidate for a superintended of an entire school system.

  5. Thanks, Cecil,

    I admit I read Purnell`s letter more for tone than anything else.

    I`m still trying to grasp all this – and do it in a thoughtful, manner, devoid of emotion.

  6. This whole thing–the whole superintendent/school board/etc thing–is just so bizarre and surreal. my child enters the cville city school system in Sept; i’m really wondering what’s in store for us. it doesn’t seem a system fully under control right now, in a variety of ways. i’m worried about how these personnel issues and teacher discontent are going to distract from teaching and running the individual schools on a day-t0-day basis.

    we’re buying a new home and we deliberately chose to stay in the city rather than move to the county BECAUSE we wanted the city schools! I’m hoping I don’t feel like a chump in about five years.

  7. In the wake of the release of Dr. Purnell’s letter, I have received copies of e-mails demanding first that Dr. Griffin be placed on administrative leave, second that both Dr. Griffin and Dr. Purnell be placed on administrative leave, and now that the President of the School Board resign. This is simply the latest spate of ridiculousness that has been propogated since Dr. Griffin became superintendent. Parent discontent, staff discontent, demands that changes be made, but not without a round of Mother-May-I with anyone and everyone who’s screaming at the top of their lungs. The grown-ups have been behaving like kindergarteners for the past seven months.

    No Child Left Behind has placed our school system and every school system into a variety of untenable situations. The Open Court Reading Series which was adopted this year (a move Dr. Griffin is frequently criticized for which was the result of over a year’s work by a committee whose creation and work predated her emplolyment by CCS) is "approved" by NCLB. If a school system implements an NCLB approved program and still fails its testing (in Virginia, the SOLs — Standards of Learning), NCLB isn’t as draconian toward that school system. Much ado was made this past fall about Clark Elementary failing it’s SOLs and the School Choice that was mandated to follow and which cost the school system $40,000 in extra transportation costs. The only reason Buford didn’t have to implement school choice was that Dr. Griffin reallocated school system funds so that Buford was not receiving any Federal Title I funds — these are the only schools which are impacted by failing to meet testing benchmarks. By the year 2014, 100% of students must pass the tests; this includes special education students and is literally an impossible goal. No Child Left Behind is painting many school systems into corners they can’t get out of and ours is no exception. Clever administrators can help delay and minimize the negative impacts of NCLB and increasingly they are compelled to do so. I would suggest that if Dr. Griffin is unduly persuaded by vendors, they are vendors who are on the NCLB approved list and adopting their programs gains CCS some breathing room.

    I would suggest that the people screaming so loudly at our local school representatives are doing so because they are local, in charge of what they’re in charge of, and comparatively convenient. Sessions of Congress don’t begin with a half hour dedicated to public comment, but that’s where the devastating effects of NCLB need to be addressed.

    I would further suggest that the changes needed in the Charlottesville City School System are far deeper than the ones being suggested by either Dr. Griffin or the PDK audit she’s also so criticized for. We don’t need little changes, we need great big huge gargantuan changes. How about merging CCS with Albemarle County? How about evaluating whether we actually have the nine schools we ought to have? Currently we have six elementary schools, one upper elementary school, one middle school, and one high school — is that what we truly need to best provide education to our 4400 students, or just what we have because changing it is hard? How about lengthening the shool year to 240 days? How about any number of profound changes that aren’t even being looked at because the citizens can and do yell demandingly and loudly at the superintendent and school board because two teachers were transferred in October?

    Albemarle County just got yelled at for suggesting a 15 minute lengthening of the school day. Parents and citizens are being vastly unreasonable. NCLB is demanding change and we yell at the local folks in charge of our school systems who are trying to successfully escape the NCLB labyrinth without being killed by the minotaur. We need to yell at the people responsible for building the labyrinth and placing a monster in it. After that, we do still need to make profound local changes to the way we educate our children. Right now, we can’t even talk about change.

  8. The fact that you have received numerous e-mails as are many of our parents, shows that, obvioulsy, something is wrong here.

    For Dr. Purnell to take a stand shows courage, even if, as it looks now, at the expense of her job. I doubt that I could have stood up and said something had I been in her situation.

    Still, what bothers me, and what no one seems to be discussing is the APOLOGY. Does anyone out there really believe Dr. Purnell, after writing such a letter, would then apologize?

    Doesn’t anyone seem to care that maybe, just maybe, someone in the Central Office fabricated an apology to make Dr. Griffin save face or look good.

    And if this is really true, then is this the kind of superindentent that should be running any kind of a school system???????

  9. Is there a copy of the apology floating about? I’m curious to read it as several folks have suggested it wasn’t written by the same person.

  10. I’d love to see the apology, as well. The Progress printed neither the letter nor the apology, making the article really bizarre.

  11. AMEN AMEN AMEN. I couldn’t agree with you more. The Parents are behaving even worse than Dr. Griffin is accused . I wish you would send your letter

    into the Daily ‘Gress and the other rags. Hell, I wish

    you would go to the next forum and say what you’ve said here.

    And all those emails that you’ve been receiving? They are being sent out by Arthur Lichtenberger, president of the Lewis Mountain Neighborhood Association. I got them by mistake because I was involved in the opposition to the Parking Garage

    on University Avenue, and he is sending out inflammatory and unreasonining emails to everyone in his address book. Both the "Administrative Leave" emails are his and they verge on the bizarre if not libelous.

  12. What bothers me is who was the weasel in the Central Office who LEAKED Dr. Purcell’s letter which she did NOT send to the School Board. Why doesn’t that bother you?

    What Dr. Purcell’s letter shows is that she doesn’t know how to behave like a professional anymore than anyone else in this situation does.

  13. What’s so awful about someone leaking Purnell’s (it’s not Purcell, it’s Purnell) letter when Griffin made the letter itself an issue by releasing the apology? If Purnell did not send it to the School Board, as you say, and only sent it Griffin, then it COULD have remained a matter completely between Griffin and Purnell–no publicity needed if it never reached School Board members. But Griffin seems to have made it a public issue HERSELF by releasing the apology! She could have let this sleeping dog lie if the letter never went to the School Board.

    If I were Purnell, and this "apology" for a letter that I had written were released, you can damn well be sure I’d "leak" that letter to the press so that Griffin’s side of the story isn’t the only side in the public. Without Purnell’s letter before the public, Griffin gets to look like the noble, aggrieved party whom someone is groveling and apologizing to. I can see why Purnell or her supporters might want to counter that image.

  14. Dairy Road had been top heavy with paper pushers and p.r. faces brought in by Dr. Symon. NOT educators! Dr. Symon was the one that cut curriculum knowledgable staffing, yet added Josiah Haig and others to be cheerleaders for the schools. Central Office staffing grew rapidly not only on Dairy Road, but it took over most of the first floor of CHS and several rooms in Jefferson. It was about 8 years ago all pretense of "job descriptions and qualifications" disappeared. When Dr. Symons came to C’ville there was a fairly high LPT pass rate for all students in the 6th grade regardless of race or income. During the time he was leader of the schools the standardized scores plumeted. Not only did free lunch and minorites scores drop, but the students that were measured in the past as "pass advanced" saw a drop in scores. This was especially true his last years of "leadership" at the middle school level. It was during this time, Tantum added a large middle school, and the city saw the birth of the Village middle school for girls. Of course 98-00 Symon did spend the majority of his time on the golf course in Hitlton Head. He wasn’t even a city home owner his last year of leadership. During the past ten years some of the top city teachers have left the city to teach in neighboring counties. To do this, many took substantial paycuts. All of the National Board Certified Teachers at the middle school level are former city middle school teachers. Many of the top administrators in the state are former city teachers and administrators. Because of the lousy reputation of the city school system, school board, etc. it was impossible to hire a superintendent and Ron Hutchinson was asked to put his finger in the leaking dam. He tried! He hired two excellent principals and gave them the authority to turn around their schools. Thanks to Mr. Hutchinson, Johnson Elementary is now fully accredited and Buford is showing steady improvement.

    Dr. Griffin needs to be dismissed and a real educator and leader needs to be hired that can bring the rest of the city schools up to the level of the "fine arts school" on Melbourne Rd.

  15. I find it incredible that when people speak out and have strong opinions about where our most precious things in our lives, our children, spend most of their time, they are called "ridiculous citizens". Evil abounds when good men do nothing. I applaud the people strong enough to lead in what most of us feel needs to be done. We volunteer and help in our schools. We live and work here. Thank God the Constitution doesn’t support you and your condemnation of us having a voice. We are so used to weak Leadership in this city that when somebody tries to lead we are threatened. I am glad somebody is passionate about this budget, our Principals, our teachers and community and is willing to speak up.

  16. What bothers me is who was the weasel in the Central Office who LEAKED Dr. Purcell’s letter which she did NOT send to the School Board.

    If the letter here on cvillenews.com is her’s (and, as I hope I’ve made clear, I’m in no position to authenticate it), she did announce her intention to send it to the school board. But, of course, she could have changed her mind.

  17. Not only making the article really bizarre…but making it the most talked about news in months.

    Someone please post the apology…why doesn’t Dr. Griffin release it…perhaps it was more of an explanation and NOT an apology!

  18. As a teacher who has attended many meetings held this year (be it School Board, PTO, Budget Forum, etc.) I’ve found myself on quite a few different email distribution lists in this brouhaha. I have received a few emails calling for Ms. Smith’s resignation (apparently Mr. Lichtenberger is not alone), an email requesting that the School Board listen to Dr. Purnell’s complaints, and a host of other emails. I (and many of my colleagues) had a copy of Dr. Purnell’s letter the day before excerpts appeared in the paper and before it was posted here.

    While it is possible someone has plugged an administrative leak, and that might explain the lack of the apology floating around, at this stage of the game, I find it extremely odd that with everything else that’s been passed along no one has seen the apology. I’d love to get a look at it myself.

  19. The apology e-mail is quoted in its entirety in the Daily Progress story initially cited in this topic. I went to the DP website and e-mailed the writer requesting a copy which was promptly sent to me.

  20. That has to be one of the weakest defenses of the indefensible that I’ve

    heard so far. I gather from your use of "we" and "I" that you are either

    a member of the school board or city council. Your response fails to

    address a number of the criticisms, focussing only on the Open Court

    Reading program, something which Dr. Griffin’s critics have only touched

    on tangientially. By the way, Dr. Griffin’s critics are hardly limited to

    Art Lichtenburger and other Lewis Mountain Neighborhood parents, although

    it was a fairly shrewd political manouever on your part to try to fan Rick

    Turner’s flames and discredit them by trying to paint them as whiney

    priviledged people.

    Most of the points you make about the current White House’s attacks on

    public education are dead-on. They do very much want to see school

    systems forced into vouchers to support schools like Covenant, the

    Renaissance, St. Anne’s and their ilk (well, frankly, I think they’d

    prefer not to help out the latter two any, as even St. Anne’s isn’t

    exactly their idea of a faith-based approach, Episcopal affiliation

    notwithstanding). And, yes, some serious ‘outside the box’ thinking is in

    order – NONE OF WHICH IS ON DISPLAY WITH Dr. Griffin!

    You do not address the unprofessional environment this toxic whacko has

    created in the system. If this is allowed to continue for any length of

    time, the only people left will in the system will be yes-‘men’,

    brown-nosers and sycophants – we can be assured their first priority will

    be creating a first rate system and solving problems!!! To my mind, this

    is the single biggest problem with your hire, and you’ve not addressed it

    AT ALL. Perhaps the lawyers have instructed you to keep your mouth shut

    while they try to figure out how to get out of the obvious personnel mess

    going on over there.

    You do not address the validity of her budgeting even more people for

    central office. As someone else noted elsewhere in the comments here, Dr.

    Symons was largely reponsible for the incredible expansion of the central

    office bureaucracy during the 90s. However, rather than continuing to

    back away from this, as Ron Hutchinson did, Dr. Griffin appears to be

    further isolating herself from the front line educators and creating more

    central office cruft.

    You do not address the racial politics which only seem to make the

    situation worse.

    Although you are quick to point out the financial tricks employed to keep

    Buford from being sanctioned and costing the system even more money, as a

    way of providing some positive news of Dr. Griffin, but in doing so

    undermine your own argument: what will happen when Dr. Griffin succeeds in

    driving out the demographic in our student population which helps pull the

    CCPS SOLs up? How long can financial tricks be used to "delay and

    minimize" the impacts of NCLB? What about improving student achievement?

    Finally, you actually point to reasons why Dr. Griffin should go: NCLB is

    putting the system under siege – it will not survive unless it starts to

    seriously address the problems with student achievement. This starts with

    serious intervention in the pre-school and elementary programs – that is

    where our money should go. It should NOT go to pack central office with a

    bunch of meeting attendees who ultimately rely on vendors to provide

    turn-key solutions. Indeed, if it really is the case that feds provide an

    approved list of programs, why can’t we cut out he CO middlemen and just

    buy these things. At least then we’re only wasting money on the vendors,

    and not the purchasing process too.

    I for one am deeply insulted by your insistence that these are

    "ridiculous citizen demands". I paid the city over $10k in taxes last

    year, a very significant portion of which goes to the city schools. I

    don’t even have any children. All the more reason we need election-date

    reform for city council and an elected school board!

    I deeply resent my tax dollars being used by an autocratic micro-manager

    to featherbed central office as some kind of spoils system. If things

    continue as they are now, CCPS will ultimately be completely run by people

    who pass a skin-color litmus test (or at least have the stamp of approval

    of Dr. Turner and his ilk), and the upper quartiles will have fled to the

    counties and the private schools.

    You want to talk hard-core NCLB realities? Good luck trying to get passing

    SOL scores after you’ve run off the ‘fine arts’ crowd! Perhaps when we

    have an all black leadership:

    – on the school board

    – on city council

    – in central office

    and the system is still completely failing and broken (a state it’s not

    yet reached), we’ll start looking for the real problems.

    After the city’s pockets have been picked, the entire system is

    sanctioned, and the remaining quality students have left under some

    voucher/school-choice system (mandated by Richmond or DC in reponse to the

    miserable SOL scores) we’ll be stuck with the bill for a useless system

    (one which nobody will want their kids to attend), and Dr. Griffin will be

    metaphorically on the golf course with Dr. Symons.

    Fine Leadership! I am sure the board is now in quite a pickle, having

    backed themselves into a corner by supporting Dr. Griffin in the early

    going – it’s got to be tough to find a way out of this and avoid lawsuits.

    However, real leadership means having the guts to step up, admit and point

    out a mistake, and call for a change in direction. If the board is truly

    committed to CCPS, and not earning political points with ‘the community’,

    they will step up to the plate now. Ms. Smith need not resign, but she

    should be the one delivering Dr. Griffin’s resignation letter.

  21. Taking stock, after quite a bit of time since THE letter was the issue. The Board took no measures to protect Dr Purnell or to remove Dr Griffin as her supervisor. Dr Griffin continued her intimidation of Dr Purnell, threatening to fire her, and actually putting such an action item on the agenda of the school board. The Board, at the end, almost succumed to Dr Griffin’s last act while Superintendent, trying to signficantly cut her salary and job position. In the end, Dr Girffin’s track record of creating untenable work environments and the board’s own inaction of properly investigating the matter forced the board’s hand to do what was right (another settlement behind the scenes that could have been avoided up front by a stronger board that has cost our school system in many ways). Nice to be able to say that Laura Purnell remains in the school system with a new job that takes great advantage of her skills and considerable background, while Dr Griffin is off trying to convince new school systems that last year was just a case of a vindictive politically connected attack. Guess some of those emails and warnings from ‘wacko’ parents were not so off base after all!

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