Whistleblowers: The Catastrophic State of TUSD

To: The Tucson Community- 22th Open Letter
From:  Whistleblowers– Comprised of a Large Group of Extremely Concerned TUSD Administrators, Teachers, and Parents

 

Subject: 1.The ACTUAL STATE OF TUCSON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT is Nothing But Catastrophic

2. TUSD Legal Crisis- The Chief Legal Counsel, Julie Tolleson Escapes an Arizona State Bar Association Complaint Against Her by Resigning and Her Subordinate- Nancy Woll Also is Bidding Farewell as an Employee

 

The State of TUSD is Catastrophic

The ongoing upheaval within TUSD continues to be ignored by those who comprise the Board majority; Adelita Grijalva, Kristal Foster, and Cam Juarez. Adelita was convinced to run for re-election by HT Sanchez, who needed to hold on to his zombie Board majority. She gained her seat back only because of her dad intervened to salvage her campaign. She won but it was not on merit; not on accomplishments; not because she has served students.  Her dad had his “DC” friends and local political hacks fund her campaign. He called in many favors from the Tucson local political operatives. He maneuvered several endorsements in exchange for favors made or promised. Many said his desperation to have his daughter regain her seat was pathetic. Mission accomplished; she is in for the next thirty-five months.

 

Cam and Kristal do not have the same “machine” behind them and it will be a little more difficult for them to get back in, since most voters have recognized how ineffective they are as governing board members. They are puppets; minions; zombies; mindless “rubber stamps” for everything that HT recommends. There is an opportunity in November to break up the Board majority by cutting the puppet strings of one or both of the gullible board members; Kristel Foster and Cam Juarez.  It will be everyone’s job to ensure that they do NOT return to their seats.

 

The political picture ties into the State of the District due to the extreme lack of oversight by the Governing Board majority over the Superintendent.

 

The District is collapsing as its critical pillars crumble (such as, staffing resources, curriculum, budget/finance, and the desegregation case). All the while, HT Sanchez continues to poison all he touches with his deceit and corruption while Adelita Grijalva, Kristal Foster, and Cam Juarez do nothing to redirect the rookie superintendent they hired and unleased on our children and community.

 

HT Sanchez has added NO value to TUSD or to the Tucson community, which is bad enough, but he has also extracted great value from the District by chasing out many who could have provided perspective and knowledge in the overall administration of Tucson’s largest District. TUSD is now A-Mountain-deep in turmoil. HT has done this with intention, since his fragile ego can’t handle having anyone around him who he believes knows more than he does or anyone who voices any level of disagreement with him.  The end result is the likes of his INTERIM right-hand crew: Abel Morado and Richard Foster who are straight-up “yes” men. HT’s entire central administration team has a vocabulary which is absent the word “no” and which contains no question marks. Problem solving does not exist because HT admits to no problems. HT’s Team functions more like a fear-filled cult than a top level group of administrators. They each know that if they step outside of his very restrictive line, they will face humiliation, isolation and/or will forced to leave their position.

 

And, if as though HT Sanchez were a born-again Confederate loyalist, he has resisted the desegregation court order with the same level of rage and lies that Alabama Governor George Wallace did in the 1960s. Wallace is remembered for his segregationist politics. HT Sanchez’ legacy is being shaped in the very same way and he is rubbing his legacy off on his Board majority who serve very much the same role that the KKK did for Wallace; instilling fear and marching to the racist segregationist beat.  HT’s separatist philosophy started almost immediately after he arrived in our District and since then he has constantly convinced his Board majority, his administration, his TEA, and his political allies that integration is evil. None of them have recognized that the message and its messenger are what is evil. HT’s self-Latino hate is evident. Were HT a white male, perhaps his venomous racism would be more obvious to the Board majority.

 

We interrupt our message about the State of the District with a the topic of TUSD’s legal counsel, however, we will return to the State of the District.

 

TUSD’s Legal Support Team is Decomposing

…the Bell has Tolled for Tolleson and she is a goner!

HT Sanchez hired his Chief Legal Counsel (Julie Tolleson) who brought zero experience to TUSD in Arizona school law and desegregation case law. She has, for three years, taken up HT’s segregationist policy direction. Those of us who sat through the magnet school meetings (and Board meeting discussions on the same topic) painfully watched HT Sanchez promote his big-whopper- of-a-lie about the court order and its integration requirements, while Julie Tolleson nodded her head in agreement. HT has attacked the court, the Judge, the Special Master, the plaintiffs, the USP and the concept of integration, while Julie Tolleson has applauded. She has become one of his most solid conspirators in his lies to the Board and his attack against desegregation. She went as far as denying to the Governing Board that she had any knowledge of the actions, which she knew had taken place in Superintendent HT Sanchez’ presentation of misinformation to magnet school communities. She was present at the meetings and knew exactly what lies he had cooked up.

 

We imagine that she is aware that a complaint with the Arizona State Bar Association was just about to be lodged against her for her unethical conduct as the Chief Legal Counsel for TUSD. She has continually failed to respond to Board minority members about inquiries about the desegregation case in a truthful manner. She has openly lied about the desegregation case and budget matters (administrative contracts, as one example) to Governing Board members, school staffs, parents, and community members. She seems to have led the charge to go after Mike Hicks for informing the Court about the misinformation campaign that took place with the magnet schools. She and Sanchez decided to have him investigated. Hicks just would NOT have it and refused to participate in what he called a “witch hunt.” Of course, Tolleson’s action demonstrated her lack of integrity in serving the Board as a whole. She is responsive primarily to one person and that is HT Sanchez. Hicks again informed the Court of the District’s shenanigans. We guess they were surprised by his astute reaction. They seem to underestimate everyone.

 

The situation, however, has taken a TOLL on TOLLeson and she decided to resign, recognizing that it would end up costing her too much to remain attached and loyal to the biggest liar in Tucson; HT Sanchez. She will go out with her own “spin story,” telling many of us that she simply could no longer work with Mark Stegeman and Mike Hicks and that the desegregation case is too contentious. The truth is: she has alienated Stegeman and Hicks to a point of no return. She has treated them poorly and allowed HT to dictate which Board members would receive information and which ones would not. She has been sarcastic and rude to both Stegeman and Hicks. She, along with her “boss”, have created a contentious situation in dealing with the desegregation case. She has  made it “personal”; just like her mentor (HT). Like HT, she will blame the court, the Judge, the plaintiffs, the Special Master, etc. but she will never admit that she came in not knowing squat about Arizona school law or desegregation and  she will leave with a very corrupted idea about both.


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Julie Tolleson has been the very worst legal counsel that any of us have experienced. She has done very little to support school principals. What is most interesting is that she and Bill Brammer are both disappearing from the TUSD legal scene within months of one another. Brammer is the external legal counsel who recently was replaced with legal counsel from Phoenix; although, as far as we can tell, there are now two external law firms racking up hourly rates on the desegregation case with internal legal counsel also assisting on the case. Imagine, TUSD gets to pay attorneys to argue against integration and support HT’s segregationist platform; all with desegregation dollars.

 

Julie Tolleson has allowed inept teachers to remain in the classroom simply to placate HT so that his twisted relationship with TEA could continue in their shameful favor exchanges. Teachers worth their contracts have little tolerance for incompetent teachers and part of the reason TUSD cannot retain excellent teachers is that good teachers refuse to deal with peers who hate teaching.

 

Let us remind you that HT told his “leadership” team and TEA leadership that he did not like grievances. This has been repeated by the current and former TEA Presidents to union members who have been seeking to file grievances. (Sorry, we just cannot use the term “leadership” in relation to a group of people who couldn’t lead their way out of a wet paper sack! Instead, we have referred to the group as HT’s Team.) Tolleson’s inaction has harmed students, undermined principals and hurt the teaching profession.

 

And as if the situation was not corrupt enough, Tolleson has put in for departure in May, which will allow her to receive health insurance coverage, PAID FOR BY TUSD TAXPAYERS, until the end of August. We see this as a gift of public funds. We see this as more of her (and HT’s) outrageous manipulation of tax dollars.

 

…The TUSD Legal Department is losing two-thirds of its legal counsel;

    which is off the “Woll!”

Nancy Woll, who has been in and out of the Legal Department over the last few years has also decided to call it quits. Another coincidence? We think not. You will recall that Woll was made interim HR Executive Director for a short time. She could stand the heat in HR and begged to be returned to her quiet corner in the Legal Department, where she has pushed and promoted the uniform stripping of employee rights. She fell into the Sanchez regime very well; doing exactly as she was told. Woll has told enough people about her departure for it to be common knowledge. She has also shared with a few that her plan is to return through Education Services, Inc. (ESI),  a company which retreads retired public school employees. The retired individual receives their Arizona State Retirement and gets paid at 75% of the salary for the position. It is cheaper for the District and very beneficial to the double-dippers. No matter how HT cuts it. She is no longer employed by TUSD and we wonder if as an ESI employee she will be able to claim “attorney client privilege”?

 

More on the Sanchez State of the District

On Monday February 22nd,  TUSD’s failing Superintendent, will once again stand up before the public and deliver more gargantuan LIES. He will report on his fantasy accomplishments, focusing on his Self-absorbing Strategic Plan; a plan that does NOT address student retention or retrieval of students who have left TUSD; teacher recruitment and retentioncompliance with the USPreal transparencya vigorous human resources plan which outlines  recruitment, retention and the development of excellent employeesa user friendly budgetand finance practices which gain trust (instead of erode it).

 

HT will fail to report on his lack of follow-through on the recommendations provided in the Curriculum Audit or those made within the Efficiency Audit. The two audits were supposed to have been utilized to develop his Strategic Plan. They were mostly ignored. The two audits have proven to be a waste of time and money and just more HT deception.

 

HT will NOT report on critical matters pertaining to the administration of the District. He will not report on the number of top level administrators that have walked out of the 1010 door due to one person; HT Sanchez. He certainly will not report on the number of teachers who continue to leave TUSD due to the escalating disarray. HT’s blunders are overlooked by the Board majority. He and they always have made excuses for each and every one of his known blunders and most assuredly covered many of them up. He and his Board majority are so very entwined and dependent on one another. It is a sick and unfortunate relationship; it is killing TUSD.

The human resources or employees of any organization are its life blood and top skilled leadership is vital in developing and directing its employees in ways that optimize their skills, support meeting the institution’s goals and acknowledge excellent work. TUSD morale has never been lower. Of course, HT has his regular circus show at Board meetings which acknowledges (with awards, honors, handshakes, pictures, videos, etc.) students, administrators and staff, however, it is mechanical and appears to be nothing more than a “photo op” for the Superintendent who has had more pictures and videos taken of him during his three years with TUSD than all other Superintendents put together. (This may be an exaggeration, but not much of one.) Institutional acknowledgement within TUSD is not genuine; it is just a public relations activity. Organizations that show genuine appreciation to both their employees and customers (students & parents) do not lose them. TUSD is losing its employees, at all levels of the organization and too many students continue to flee TUSD.

HT recognizes that there is a “teacher shortage” and he uses it to explain why so many schools have a spinning use of teacher substitutes. Yet, from our vantage point, he has done nothing to ensure that current teachers are retained. We are losing good teachers at a very high rate and the figures on this are being kept “hush-hush.”  Principals are also escaping the clutches of HT the Tyrant, as fast as they are able.  

HT’s method of managing TUSD’s human resources can be described in few words: punitive, retaliatory and favoritism, cronyism. In order to make way for those he wanted to hire, HT entered TUSD with the objective of getting rid of as many administrators on his cabinet as possible. Of those who served under the previous Superintendent, John Pedicone, there is not a single Superintendent’s cabinet member who remains. (Yes, for those of you TUSD watchers, Abel Morado is still part of the team but he is not an employee. He is there as a retired TUSD retread; paid through ESI. He is a double-dipper. He is earning his contract amount in addition to his state retirement. As far as we are concerned, he should not be counted as an existing employee.) Let us repeat, there is not a single cabinet member left from Pedicone’s era.  Does anyone see the red flags or hear the sirens?

…from Pedicone’s cabinet: Maria Menconi (she left on her own since her commitment was not to TUSD but to Pedicone), Maggie Shafer, Lorrane McPherson, Jim Fish, David Scott (he seems to have been reassigned and buried in the system), Yousef Awwad, (he was promoted by HT to Deputy Superintendent, but left after 1 year in the position), Candy Egbert, Pam Palmo, John Clay, Martha Durkin and Cara Rene..

When HT took over, he went from a single deputy superintendent, as previous superintendents had in place, to two deputy superintendents. Isn’t it remarkable that he hired Adrian Vega (his best buddy or now, former, best buddy) and Yousef Awwad into the deputy spots and that they are both gone? More red flags and more sirens! He also hired Steve Holmes as an assistant superintendent. He is now gone. He hired Damon Jackson, another Texan bud, as the head IT administrator. He too fled. We are just addressing top-level positions. HT has also moved people around from one position to another, as though he is playing a board game. (We will address the moves in a future letter.) Suffice it to say, there is no stability. NONE. No one knows who is on first or who is in charge of what. It is bedlam.

HT wants to make sure that there is a large audience at his State of the District and has used the District’s automatic rob call system to make sure TUSD employees attend as well as TUSD parents. All employees in our group have now received 2 calls. Isn’t interesting how this even has become the priority of the year? None of us have received  alerts like this for anything else!

It will be a night of theater and more lies. 

See more of our letters at: http://threesonorans.com/tusd-whistleblower-archives/

We continue to be grateful to Three Sonorans for publishing every single one of our letter. We appreciate greatly that the Arizona Daily Independent publishes many of our letter and references them within their own posts from time to time.



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