Monday, August 27, 2012

Off topic a little. Regarding a travesty in our local school system.

Dear readers,
     I'm sorry I haven't written in a while. I promise I'll be back on the grid shortly. Meanwhile, a dear friend of mine has come to grief with our local school system over what is really beaurocratic red tape and hipocrasy. Please read the below and help out with a letter to the Poudre School District board if you feel so compelled. Don't let my friend Holly become a victim of the crossfire here.

From: Woodard,Woody <>
Sent: Mon, Aug 27, 2012 5:05 pm
Subject: Help!

Hello friends. I hate to come to you with a favor, but I’ve got one. If you have the time and you can support us, I would be so grateful. Feel free to pass on to anyone you think might be able to help our cause. This unfortunately is happening to us and we don’t know what to do.
Dear Friends, Colleagues and Community Members:
HELP! Our names are Holly and Chris Woodard. We and our two young children moved to Fort Collins last year to build ourselves a home in this wonderful community. My husband, Chris Woodard, is the recently hired head swim coach at Colorado State University. I am a 12 year veteran in the Special Education ranks, who was recently hired by Lincoln Middle School for a special educator position and then fired (or not hired, depending on who you ask) from the Poudre School District two months later. I was pulled into Human Resources 4 days prior to the start of school, where I met with the Executive Director and additional staff and told that I was permanently blacklisted in Poudre School District due to a “conflict of interest.”
The conflict was that I had been hired by a family prior to my employment with the district to serve as a consultant and tutor for their young autistic child who is currently in the PSD system. The family is engaged in a contentious legal situation with the district, however, at no point did the district inform the family, nor did district personnel who had contact with me prior to my hiring inform me as to the extent of the situation. I knew about a “partial agreement”, but was not aware that the litigation was still occurring or that it would have such devastating impact on my career. I was simply trying to make some extra money staying home with our infant and three year old, while trying to help out a child with special needs.  We are casualties in the war between the family and PSD. I passed on other jobs to work in the district and at this late date there are no positions available. My stellar reputation is tarnished and any work in another district would likely involve: a potential move for our family; a serious pay cut as most other districts pay significantly less; and we have probably lost another year of salary.
I have done nothing illegal or immoral. We retained a lawyer who wrote a letter to PSD’s general counsel. PSD’s reply to our inquiry was that I had not disclosed that I had worked for this family and “failure to disclose” was the reason for termination. That is simply not true.
Here are the facts:
·         I completed my PSD application in February prior to employment with the family.
·         At the time of my hiring by Lincoln Middle School I had engaged in a grand total of 5 hours of consultation with the family. Hardly something that needs to be detailed on a resume.
·         I also finished her tutoring with the child in July, prior to the start of school. I have had no interaction with the family nor the child since then.
·         In addition, as to our understanding of the law, I would have violated confidentiality if I had indicated the name of the family on my application.
·         I was told directly by the PSD Human Resources, that had the school known of my relationship they would have never hired me; which undoes any claim that I could have been employed had I  “fully disclosed” my employment record. My termination was “an unfortunate situation” according to those officials, who expressed sympathy and told me that I was simply fired for a “conflict of interest.”
·         It was also our understanding that the district suggested this family hire a specialist for their child without any mention that the specialist in question would never be able to apply for work in the district.
We have written general counsel to reconsider and reinstate my position at Lincoln Middle School.  I am an excellent teacher who has taught in 3 states and 4 districts (due to being married to a coach). I was even a nominee for “Teacher of the Year” at my last stop. We don’t want to engage in litigation, nor a public smear campaign; we just want to be able to work and build a home here in Fort Collins. What seemed like the perfect place to raise our two children and build a life for ourselves now seems like a very dark place.
We desperately need your help. Time is of the essence as there is a PSD School Board meeting tomorrow night, August 28th. Please contact the PSD Board via email or phone and tell them this is not right. Fort Collins deserves the best teachers and the best people. We know there are people that care about the community and the people in it. Your voice may just make the difference and I can’t tell you how much that would mean to our family.
PSD Board of Education President         Thomas Balchak     970.223.3319
PSD Board of Education Director            Nancy Tellez           970.282.0492         
PSD Board of Education Director            Patrick Albright       970.232.8257
PSD Board of Education Director            Jim Hayes               970.221.1267
PSD Board of Education Vice-Pres         James Ross             970.310.9326
PSD Board of Education Director            Susan Gotkowsky    970.372.8882
PSD Board of Education Director            Cathy Kipp               970.226.0240
Superintendent of Schools                     Nancy Wright          970.490.3607
Thank you for your consideration and assistance,
Christopher Woodard, Head Swim Coach, Colorado State University and father
Holly Woodard, Licensed Special Educator and mother
Christopher "Woody" Woodard
Head Swim Coach
Colorado State University
970.491.6026 office
970.213.4800 mobile
970.491.7725 fax

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