On May 22, 2017, Montclair resident and parent, Walter Springer, created a petition to raise awareness to the Montclair Board of Education’s personnel decisions.
In a rapid response to the dubious demotions and terminations of several Montclair public school employees last week, local Montclair parent Walter Springer has created a petition to reinstate both Athletic Director Jeff Gannon and Assistant Principal of English Kim Westervelt.
***Update: As of May 30, 2:43 pm, 1,000 people have signed this petition.
Springer’s petition states:
“The 2017-2018 School Budget was passed with the position of High School Athletic Director and Assistant Principal for English funded. The outgoing interim Superintendent for the Montclair Public School system recommended to the Board of Education the removal of the High School staff members who filled these two positions. The Board Of Education has removed Mr. Jeff Gannon (Athletic Director) and Ms. Kim Westervelt (AP of English) from these positions. Prior to being removed these two High School staff members DID not receive an evaluation that detailed a poor performance. These two High School staff members DID not receive an unfavorable evaluation from their direct supervisor. The recommended removal is without cause and is personal in origin. What we the citizens of Montclair would like is the reinstatement of Mr. Jeff Gannon as Athletic Director and the reinstatement of Ms. Kim Westervelt as Assistant Principal in charge of English (Language Arts)”
We reached out to Mr Springer as to the impetus for his recent petition and here is his response this morning
“I think it is vital to our community that we all take an active part in the education of our children. When personnel decisions are made that determine the employment future of any district staff member there needs to be an evaluation process which is transparent and well documented to the staff member. In the adoption of the 2017-2018 school budget a personnel recommendation was made to remove two HS staff educators that was done without an evaluation process. These two changes did not reduce cost as these two positions are budgeted and can be filled. I hope that these decisions will be reviewed by the BOE and the interim superintendent.”
These are some of the quotes from people who signed the change.org petition in favor of a proper and transparent review of the personnel decisions by the Board of Education:
“Lack of due process! How can you dismiss 2 employees without any warning and without any history of negative reviews. This would be a lawsuit in any other industry.” -Lauren Bristow
“These are two very valued assets to the high school. This would be a great disservice to the student body and staff.” -Lindsay Reddington
“Mr. Gannon is not only an asset to the high school, but to the whole community. I am the Bradford PTA President and he helped us immensely with our fundraiser held at the MHS gym – even going so far as to give up his Saturday to help with our event. From HS students I know, they also speak in glowing terms about his commitment and dedication to all students. I urge the BOE to review the reasons for his termination and reinstate him immediately.” -Mary Sue Youn (Bradford School PTA President)
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