The most popular story of 2014-
The Tattler broke a story in July that the Emery School District had hired a controversial new principal with a checkered past. A five minute Google search of the principal's previous employment revealed a litany of abuse allegations but apparently the Superintendent at Emery never bothered to check the employment history of the new hire. It was the reader's favorite story of the year and we bring it back now as we look back at 2014.
Teachers Cry Foul:
Anti-Teacher Record Follows New Principal
Summer vacation, normally a quiescent time at the Emery Unified School District is turning out to be a time of great consternation after the Superintendent of the Schools certified the hire of a controversial new school principal last week.
Anna Yates Elementary School teachers are railing against the hiring of the new employee, Dr Russom Mesfun after it was revealed that Mr Mefun was named as a defendant in a successful 2008 lawsuit brought by teachers at his former place of employment, Lodi Unified School District. The charges brought against Mr Mesfun at San Joaquin Superior Court show a administrator hostile to teachers that includes violations of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act for unlawful retaliation and discrimination and also defamation, wrongful termination with negligent hiring supervision and retention among others. Lodi Unified ultimately settled the suit for $750,000.
Mr Mesfun had been Principal at the Central Valley town of Lodi's Christa McAuliffe Middle School before he resigned in the wake of the lawsuit.
Dr Russom Mesfun
The selection of Mr Mesfun at Emery was initiated by two panels consisting of district administrators, three teachers and a School Board member but the School Board as a whole has the final say in the matter.
In a July 17th letter drafted to all the elementary school teachers at Emery after the selection of Mr Mesfun, new Superintendent Dr John Rubio, a champion of Mr Mesfun, said it was important that a "strong leader" be chosen for principle at the school and that there were "no other candidates that came anywhere close to Mr Mesfun in terms of experience and leadership ability."
However, teachers at Anna Yates expressed dismay at the prospect that Emery would hire a new principal with such a polarizing anti-teacher record, pointing to the baleful and divisive tenure of the recently deposed Superintendent of the schools Dr Debbra Lindo. Ms Lindo's anti-teacher tactics brought on a response known as the Teacher's Resolution; a litany of abuses against Emery's teachers at the hand of Ms Lindo.
Teachers at Anna Yates who expressed desire for anonymity told the Tattler they hoped the selection of Mr Mesfun would not mean the start of a new season of anti-teacher culture and action directed at them by Emery Unified. "It doesn't inspire a lot of confidence" one such teacher said after noting the retirement of Ms Lindo had brought hopes of a reset of teacher relations for the administration at Emery.
The San Joaquin County Superior Court complaint against Mr Mesfun may be read HERE.