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: