TUSD Whistleblowers: It is hell working for Heliodoro – HT Sanchez and his flagrant lies

To: Open Letter to TUSD Community Members- 7th Letter

From: Extremely Concerned TUSD Administrators; Teachers and Parents

TUSD Supporters (Please distribute to others who are interested in the welfare of TUSD; teachers- please pass onto peers and parents pass on to other parents)

Subject: Heliodoro Torres Sánchez Jr.’s Flagrant Lies;
More Administrators Escape his Hellish Regime

Heliodoro Torres Sánchez Jr.’s flagrant lies are beyond astonishing. What is even more amazing and absurd is how he gets away with his deceptions with his three gullible Board members- Adelita Grijalva, Krystal Foster, and Cam Juarez. There is not a single fact-checker among the three of them.

Heliodoro stood before the principals at a meeting on March 9, 2015 and avowed that he has not been offered any jobs (as our 5th letter pointed out). Either he lied to those Board members he was bragging to about the jobs he has been offered or he lied to the principals, which makes him a liar, either way. He also proudly declared that the Governing Board IS going to renew his contract. A few (and we do mean a few) of his clueless supporters have been coached to applaud any of his bragging. Predictably, the supporters began their hand clapping after Heliodoro’s performance at the meeting. Heliodoro (Oh, hell let’s shorten it to Hel!) said that he was taking notes on those who were applauding, adding a- ‘just kidding’- clause to prevent any inference of retaliation. But the intended threat hit like thunder, as he scanned the room to see who was putting their hands together for him. Out of self-preservation, many clapped. Hel’s lack of insincerity, causes a deficiency in any type of human sensor to be able to read a crowd. Thus, he grinned with delight from the applause, not comprehending that fear was the motivator for the hand noise; not support.

Perhaps his bullying tendencies inspired his lying as a way to take a jab at those of us in attendance at the March 9th meeting who are part of the “letter group,” as we have become labeled. He cannot aim at a specific target so he just shoots wildly. However, those in our group are onto his head-games and tactics do not work on us. We are still standing (which means writing), growing in number and stronger than ever.

If the Board majority has agreed to renew his contract, we would like to know exactly when this this took place because it has not been on any recent Board agenda that we know about. The decision was probably made via whispers, telephone calls, luncheons, meetings, text messages, etc. We have given Hel his own theme song with some adapted language: “Ain’t no sunshine when you’re HERE” since we all know that the decisions on critical items take place long before the item is placed on a Board agenda without one ray of the sunshine law shining upon it. Krystal Foster, Cam Juarez (two of the majority-go-along with anything Hel recommends Board members) and Mark Stegeman are up for re-election in November. With three Board members up for re-election, it is unthinkable for this Board to deal with anything beyond Hel’s current contract which started on July 1, 2013 and ends on June 30, 2016. The Board does not need to deal with Hel’s contract until spring of 2016. But is sounds to us that Hel’s three have once again been strong-armed to do as he says and get him what he wants. Will the agenda item miraculously find its way onto the next agenda and will the vote be 3 to 2? No; we do not have a Krystal ball. We just know how things work. Please someone, file an open-meeting-law complaint if his contract is renewed as he has boasted.

Lies are told in various forms. One form of lying is blaming, when you know what you are actually the one who is to blame. Another form of lying is talking out of both sides of your mouth. During the April 9th meeting with the principals Hel took another blame-slug at the plaintiffs in the desegregation suit, saying that the budget is on its third draft, totally due to the plaintiffs.

For the last few weeks we have been inundated with Hel’s propaganda on how he has saved the District time and time again through his work with the State Superintendent of Instruction or through his testifying before the Senate Finance Committee and the Appropriations Committee. When he went to Phoenix to testify before the Appropriations Committee, he directed that the video staff go along to film him during his presentation. (We have to purchase school supplies for our students out of pocket, but Hel acts like a movie star with his own camera crew! Incredible.) He has told us via email, video, media releases, etc. that he had no concern about what a forensic audit would find because spending is already closely monitored. He has said that budgets and spending are routinely reviewed by a court-ordered Special Master, the Fisher plaintiffs, the Mendoza plaintiffs, an outside budget operations expert, the Department of Justice and a federal judge. He has repeatedly used this information as a means to convince the legislative committees and the public that all is above-board with the desegregation budget. He even referenced a letter from the Special Master which describes the desegregation oversight over the budget. All of this comes out of one side of his manipulative twisted mouth. But wait for it- wait for it- wait for it- here comes the damnation of the very same oversight and very same plaintiffs- out of the other side of his double-talk mouth. Hel fails to understand that speaking out of both sides of his mouth is- LYING and that all of us can figure this simple truth out. (Wasn’t this the guy who told us he is such a devout Catholic? Another lie because devout Catholics do not habitually lie.)

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Hell! Hel still blames his predecessor, John Pedicone and even the superintendent that served before Pedicone. He has blamed Yousef Awadd for telling us that there was going to be a shortfall and any other issues he wanted to wrongly attribute to him. Afterall, Awaad is not here to defend himself. (Beware Steve Holmes, he is bound to blame you too.) He blames the USP, the plaintiffs and the special master for desegregation, in general, but also for all the specifics that fall under it. If something goes wrong at a school, he immediately blames the principal. He blames the press for stories that expose the facts. He blames Stegeman and Hicks for not agreeing with him. But he never, never, never does any of the blaming while he faces any of the individuals. His attacks are all made in the absence of the people he attacks; bravely behind their backs or muttering under his breath. Hel is not only a liar. He is a wimpy coward.

His new point of attack is State Governor Doug Ducey, whose attacks and cuts on education have been enormous. In many ways, Ducey has done Hel a DOOZY of a favor by giving Hel the most visible and notable of scape goats- himself- and when TUSD soon begins to complain about its financial problems, Hel will point his blame finger strait at Ducey. It will be difficult to decipher how much of the problem is Hel’s own mismanagement of the budget and how much is a result of the Ducey cuts. What we do know is that Hel will tell one doozy of a lie after another to have all blame point away from him and right at Ducey. We can only hope that at least one part of the budget is as scrutinized by the plaintiffs, special master and court as Hel reports but the remainder will be left to Hel to do as he pleases.

Hel is like the 5 year old kid who spills his orange juice, looks up at his mom and says his sister did it, who is not even in the same room. His mom punishes the kid, not for spilling the orange juice but for lying. The problem with Hel is that there really is NO oversight; no consequences and no lessons learned from his on-going lying. Everyone knows that he has boldly lied to the Board time and time again over items such as principal, administrator and teacher contracts and over the budget.

Many administrators are wanting to escape Hel. Steve Holmes has all but left the building since it was announced that he has been appointed as Sunnyside’s Superintendent. It was reported in the news that his Sunnyside contract is $140,000 which cannot be far from what he is now drawing in salary in TUSD, which says a lot about his motivation. Scott Hagerman, Exceptional Education Director has been appointed Superintendent of the Continental School District. A total of FOUR central administrators who have resigned from Hel’s leadership since August and many more are clamoring to get out, including site administrators. As we said in our last letter- it has got to be extremely challenging, and even compromising for someone with values, to work closely with someone who believes he is right all of time, does not tolerate any level of disagreement, is greatly deficient in scruples, acts out his anger in retaliatory ways, and treats all decisions like car deals (wheeling and dealing). We see the opposite of stability under Hel’s lacking leadership.

Hel makes up excuses (lies) for the reason every administrator has left. Strong leadership does not experience the turn-over that TUSD is seeing at its top level. Those who respect and admire a strong leader want to learn from them and demonstrate their loyalty through their own longevity. Strong leadership empowers other leaders. Hel is threatened by anyone else demonstrating leadership. He keeps everyone in check.

Look at Hel’s loyals: His best bud Adrain Vague-ah who he elevated from a high school principal from his former school district in Odessa, Texas to his TUSD Deputy Superintedent; Scott Morrison- a NON-educator who he hired from a background in engineering project management, who currently holds two positions in the District-Director of Project Management- where he charts and graphs EVERYthing pertaining to the USP, not understanding that kids and their education are not assembly parts, and Interim Chief Technology Officer (stepping in for Daman Jackson who fled back to Texas as fast as he could); Ana Gallegos who he pulled out of Title I and elevated to Assistant Superintendent-Elementary and K-8; Eugene Butler- who he elevated from Director of Middle Schools into a few positions and finally into his current positon of Assistant Superintendent of Student Services (and who has shared that he is seeking a position in Florida); Karla Soto who he elevated to Chief Financial Officer from budget directorship, Martha Taylor who also holds two positions. Hel elevated her from her current spot as Director over Advanced Learning to the Interim Senior Desegregation Director (to assume Sam Brown’s positions), making her a shoe-in for the permanent position- just as he had done with Sam. Ana Maiden who he hired as Chief HR Officer from Sunnyside and Abel Morado who is NOT a TUSD employee but a contracted retired TUSD administrator, historically known for his go-along with 1010 attitude. Notice the term elevated throughout these transactions? Hel’s translation: ‘you owe me.’ The loyalty is supposed to be to the students but not from this group of Hel’s angels.

We have said that Hel has never been open to criticism. He has punished many who have disagreed with him. It is not that he holds people accountable; it is that his definition of accountability means agreeing with him regardless of how wrong he may be on issues such as the budget, his poorly thought-out 27:1 staffing ratio, managed curriculum, procurement practices, hiring practices, the use of Title I funds, the use of desegregation funds, the inappropriate use of District resources, the treatment of community members, etc. H.T.’s nasty and unprofessional methodology in pressuring administrators -out or down- in the direction of resignation, retirement or demotion – has provided real insight into the sort of person H.T. is. His tactics have nothing to do with improving performance.

A very short list of administrators who have been pushed out, pushed down or intimidated into submission includes: Teri Melendez, Elizabeth Redondo, Jim Fish, Cara Rene, Lydia Gonzales, Augustine Romero, Yousef Awwad, Jose Figueroa, Jeffrey St. Claire, Maggie Shafer, Candy Egbert, David Scott, Kathyrn Manley-Crocket, Rex Scott, Sam Brown, Brenda Hanna. We can add Steve Holmes, Scott Hageman to the list and perhaps Clarice Clash, if Steve Holmes takes her with him. Many others convey their disdain for what they experience and witness everyday!

We have no confidence in this administration and obviously, we are not the only ones. It is hell working with or for Hel!

No matter how many times we say it- we say it with genuine gratitude. We appreciate you taking the time to read this. We recognize how widely circulated our letters have been and appreciate each of you passing on the letters on to your peers, friends, and family. As we have said previously, our group has grown, inclusive of site administrators, teachers and parents. We thank Three Sonorans for posting every letter! We thank the Arizona Daily Independent for quoting from our letters and posting a few and we also thank the Tucson Weekly for posting one of letters and will continue to send our letters to several members of the media. Media and bloggers have our permission to publish our letters. If you did not receive our previous letters, you can see the posting of our last letter, which includes the links to each of our letters at:

6th Letter

16 comments on “TUSD Whistleblowers: It is hell working for Heliodoro – HT Sanchez and his flagrant lies
  1. Usually you guys n gals are great: this one, not so much, I have to say. For those of us who work in the district, this could have been said in 3 lines, and for those who drink the Kool Aid daily, it will just look like character assassination (the Kool Aid is very strong, clearly!!) I guess I thought that his contract was being renegotiated /renewed at the Executive Session that was titled in that manner (Superintendant’s Contract). It was, I believe, last month or the month before. To me the most important part of this post is at the top–there is not a fact checker among his supporters, (THEY are by and large the people who have been pushed out) and there is no, absolutely NO oversight. Its all like a very personalized handshake deal that is supposed to be based on trust….which may be how they do it in Texas (and the legislature) but its not really how it should be done here. And whether Pedicone or his predecessor’s fault (HT has said many MANY times that he doesn’t know anything about what has happened in TUSD prior to his arrival) the great majority of people do not trust TUSD, and they do not trust the superintendents.

  2. First, Three Sonorans- thank you for posting the letters from this group of brave people.

    Second, the letters affirm to each site administrator, their assistant principals, and teachers that what we are experiencing is system wide. I was at the meeting on March 9th and all that was described in the letter happened. I have worked in TUSD my entire career and have never witnessed such disrespectful disregard for students, parents, employees and members of the public. To say that fear is rampant is an understatement. We know that H.T. Sanchez can ruin a person’s career with little effort. It is either his way or no way at all.

    When he first joined TUSD I got into a conversation with him about the needs at my building pertaining to instruction. I explained that both teachers and I were spending hundreds of dollars out-of-pocket for teaching supplies. He stopped me cold and said that I would need to go through the proper channels with my concerns. His tone was dismissive. This was right after he had said to a group of us that supporting each school was his primary concern as the new superintendent. That was not the case then and it is not the case now! Things at my school have gotten worse; not better. The teachers and I are spending much more on supplies than we were before H. T. became Superintendent. We have no idea what our budgets are which makes it near to impossible to keep track of spending and balances.

    After the meeting, there were a group of us discussing H.T.’s statements. We were all horrified and laughed at the fact that we sheepishly applauded. How could we not, since he was staring at each of us down to see if we were clapping. His ego is enormous.

    So H.T. is an inept superintendent- most know it. The real tragedy is that the Board (Grijalva, Foster, Juarez) stand by and do nothing. Foster thinks she is clever when she approaches each of us at various function and asks about how things are going and about H.T.’s support for us. She is his biggest supporter and we all know it. (I would say she is totally mesmerized by him and everyone I know agrees with me.) Why would anyone confide in her? Cam does not have dialogues with us- it is always a monologue and Adelita’s cheerful, happy attitude is shallow and artificial. I have all but given up hope but believe that something has to come out of the exposure that is being given to TUSD’s evolving demise. Thank you for your part in this Three Sonorans and
    to the “LETTER GROUP”- keep the letters rolling! Many of us love you!

  3. Betts…what the hell do you mean “for those of us who work in the District”? What makes you think that the fact that you have been at your school -part time- (as a non-educator) for all of about one school year gives you the scope of experience and knowledge to question a group that probably includes administrators and teachers with a cumulative of hundreds of years invested in TUSD? Really! I was at the meeting that the 7th letter addresses and have decades in with TUSD… and what needed to be said, could NOT have been said in 3 lines. Do not be so ready to judge when your context is miles away from what is being addressed.

    I met you during the school board campaign and did wind up voting for you for lack of better options. Here is some- get real- observations. You talk more than you listen. You cut people off several times at the event we were at- as they were trying to get their points across. Then you talked over them. You sometimes speak- just to be speaking- without thinking your thoughts through and you come off as thinking that you know more than anyone you are addressing. So, think before you speak and save your critiques for things you really know about. The referenced letters are a stupid target for you to take on and I am offended that you even tried. I am not looking for a debate with you and I do not want to take up space in these comments with a back and forth so- I am done. I hope that the feedback will get through because it is these type of characteristics that will always get in your way, especially if you seek public office again.

  4. I am so glad that three Sonorans has posted these letters, they have gained my respect more than any other media source that has ignored these letters. Local news stations should be all over these letters. I do respect Betts , however it concerns me that she took this position, I hope she is not buying into the Sanchez, Grijalva fantasy . What is happening in TUSD is disgraceful . People do not trust Sanchez or Grijalva , and want their district back. I speak from experience , I had my career and life destroyed by these people. When I talk to friends you are still with the district, they express nothing but fear of Sanchez and the majority .I currently have a petition against TUSD to get them to address my situation. Many people have signed it some tea hers and staff members, and TUSD has ignored it. I fear that they will use it to retaliate against these people, after all that is what Sanchez does best. I have said it before and will again why are the majority not being recalled, they are clearly not doing their job. I have some very dear friends in TUSD from administrators to teachers to support staff,many parents express the same concerns. I will always support the writers of these letters, and hope they will result in the removal of Sanchez, Grijalva,Foster and Juarez. Give back this district, Sanchez get out and go home we the citizens of Tucson don’t want you here. You have destroyed TUSD a very old organization in Tucson. It sickens me that people are no longer talking about change or improvement in TUSD, but its altimate demise . I have said my piece , I stand my ground , I challenge everyone to do so, maybe we can get these people out and take our district back.

  5. After seven letters I have to ask, what do the letter writers want to accomplish? If the goal is to run HT out, that is not working. Maybe the letter writers can address how they plan to connect their rhetoric to action. It looks like there will be another 3-6 years of the Tejas Invasion. Short of generating some action the writers are just griping in the wind.

    • I disagree these letters were meant to inform the public as to what is happening behind closed doors. The letter writers action is to rally the public into action , remember that you are the boards boss, demand that something be done to stop Sanchez, support any recall effort against the majority . Don’t criticize these people for there bravery. Letter writers you have my support , what can I do to help?

    • I believe the letter writers have stated that they will keep writing the letters until it is clear that there has been follow-up on the issues raised. However, I believe that the letters have kept many informed and that the issues raised have become topics of discussion on social media and at a variety of events. There is a great deal of distress within TUSD over the serious neglect the Board majority has shown in addressing serious problems. The letters are correct in showing how H.T. Sanchez is best at blaming and how the Board majority serves no accountability purpose. As readers, I think we each are obligated to do whatever is possible to inform others and get serious about the next Board election. If we, as a community, want change we are going to have to get involved in the election and make sure that those who have failed to serve our community do not wind up back on the Board. Sanchez performs more like a politician than a superintendent and he has out-politicized the entire Board. The only way to deal with him is to change the make-up of the Board. Regardless of what other issues are facing TUSD at the time HT Sanchez will be the key issue during the next election. As a Democrat my biggest disappointment has been in how the Party has conceded to TEA’s poor direction in the endorsement of candidates. It is up to each of us to counter that influence. TEA is defunct; its voices are stale, bitter and they have sold out to hold on to the tiny morsel of power it has left. TEA has caved into H.T. and that should be enough for anyone to know that they are of no value. They do not represent the majority of the teachers in TUSD. I know- I am a teacher in TUSD; I do not belong to TEA and either do any of my friends who are teachers. We value the letters a great deal because they reflect the reality of what is happening.

      My personal plan is to keep talking about what is happening in TUSD with neighbors, friends, family, peers, etc.; keep sharing the letters; and to be totally engaged in the next election! In order to build TUSD back up- people need to know how it is being hollowed out by H.T. Sanchez.

      • Well said everyone knows that HT and the majority are bringing TUSD down
        I do the same thing, talk to neighbors, friends , everyone I can TUSD DOESNT REALIZE HOW FAR THIS HAS GONE. I have a petition against TUSD for what they did to me. I will keep supporting these writer, TUSD knows me well. I just hope we can get rid of HT and the majority before 2016.RECALL

          • No the petition I spoke of at that time was a change.org petition that described what was happening in TUSD and the dirty little secret they’ve kept and fired me for, I am innocent. The Arizona Daily Independent did a story about this almost 2weeks ago and they posted the URL, check it out. Currently I have started a recall against the board majority because of Sanchez raise , we have a web site TUSD recall.com , I will be at the Wilmot library Saturday 9-11 collecting signatures

  6. Kudos to you for allowing your audience to reply without having to log into our Facebook and/or other social media like some other newspapers do now.

    Please look into the story about SUSD

    The school was “supposedly” put on hold pending input from the community and now it appears it may happen anyway, without community comments.

    Thank you ThreeSonorans!

  7. “Do Something” is correct that as long as HT has a board majority not much will change. The letters have helped, but some of the “issues” raised in the letters are not substantial grievances that would change the minds of AG-KF-CJ. At this time of year (budgets and policy decisions) someone in just about every school district is unhappy with something. Someone is also warming up their resume because they fear that they will be next to leave. So, to move beyond the “we don’t like or trust the guy” line of argument, what else do the letter writers have? The letters and the issues they relate have to move to a level that brings these concerns to the mainstream media. No offense intended, but 3S and Az Daily Independent are outlets that do not lie in the middle. The content of the letters have to attract serious attention from ADS, KGUN, KOLD, and the like. The average citizen, what Nixon liked to call the “silent majority”, need to be energized about what is happening in TUSD, in order for change to occur. Only when these people vote will you see that change and a move for a leadership change.

    • I read all these comments , these letter writers are correct . The purpose of their letters is to bring attention , and action to TUSD. It is true that as long as Sanchez and the majority are there nothing will change . I have stated before that the majority should be recalled, and there is your call to action. However I realized that I have expressed support for the writers and made suggestion of my situation and the petition that I currently have against TUSD without revealing it , so here is the URL to that Petition , you don’t have to sign it but it will enlighten you as to what has been happening , and covered up in TUSD. https://www.change.org/p/tucson-unified-school-district-governing-board-reinstate-me-in-my-job? it is a long one I hope you will at lest read it , you may be shocked. Again to the writers of the letters you have my support , and I will do anything to help you. For those you that know how to initiate recall please do.

  8. Thank you for posting this three sonorans. I support the recall efforts. The Grijalvas are corrupt drunks who should not be running government. Adelita has no experience as an educator and is merely using this job as a stepping stone to run for Congress when her dad retires in 4 years. She is a career politician. Paying a superitendent such a high salary in Tucson is plain irresponsible and a slap in the face. Support the recall, it is the right thing for the students of Tucson!

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