TSON News | Whistleblowers: Post-election shenanigans in TUSD, is change really coming?

Whistleblowers: Post-election shenanigans in TUSD, is change really coming?

Queen Bee Adelita Grijalva Issues Ridiculous Directive to All Principals

If ever we were slapped in the face with why the TUSD majority Board bloc needed to be split, our faces received this type of slap at the Principals’ meeting of December 1, 2016 when Adelita Grijalva showed up to give us (those of us who are principals) a directive. Yes, you read it right. Even though principals do not report to the Board or the Board President, there she was attempting to be friendly to us, while issuing her absurd edict. Her dictate was that if Board members show up at our schools, we are not to drop what we are doing, except to call Mary Alice Wallace and alert her that a Board member has shown up at our school. We guess that Mary Alice then immediately snitches to the Superintendent. Adelita nervously said that she knows how busy we are at our schools and that we should not have to leave our duties due to a Board member’s visit. (But she doesn’t have any idea of this since she has never asked what it is that we do to run our schools.)

  • As a reminder, Mary Alice Wallace is the Director of the Board office. She manages the office that is supposed to support all 5 members. She reports to the Board, as a whole. Up until Mary Alice Wallace assumed her current position the directors who served in the same position had remained neutral. We have asked many people who have been around for decades and it is clear to just about everyone that Mary Alice Wallace has NOT remained neutral. She has contributed to both Adelita’s re-election campaign and Kristel Foster’s re-election campaign (a $300 contribution to Kristel). Her bias, however, has been expressed in many ways other than her several hundred dollar contributions to individual candidates. She displays favoritism toward Adelita and Kristel that obviously impedes her job. She has made snide and negative comments about Mark Stegeman and Mike Hicks to many and does not “press” on any pending requests that they have made to the Superintendent. On the other hand, if Adelita or Kristel make a request, she makes sure that the request is processed immediately.

Why on earth would principals be required to call the Board office and narc on Board members to a high level clerical person who exhibits personal favoritism? Adelita’s directive is not only out of bounds; it is outrageously political and principals do not need to get caught up in her and HT Sanchez’ vendettas.

Adelita stressed that if Board members show up at our buildings we are to basically disregard their presence and continue with what we are “supposed” to be doing at our schools. But isn’t part of what we are “supposed” to be doing is sharing information about our schools with leaders in our community who show up and take time and interest to visit our schools? Board members exceed this classification since they oversee our entire school district.

It is also tremendously hypocritical for Adelita to order us to do what has not been done when she visits schools or when Kristel Foster or Ranger Cam Juarez visit schools. They each have expected tours and a sit down discussion with the principal when they come to our schools. Even more hypocritical, is that during the time that Adelita was last running for re-election, she would show up at schools with pizza and expect devoted attention from teachers and the administration to “chit-chat” with her when we knew all along that all she was doing was campaigning.

We have to believe that HT asked Adelita to attend our meeting and issue the directive so that we would take it more seriously than the number of orders he dishes out at each of our meetings. (As a side note, in his ever growing paranoid state of running the District, he now is the sole speaker at our principals’ meetings, with few exceptions during the last several months.) We all know the Adelita-directive to be absurd since none of us are actually going to ignore any Board member who visits our schools. We each will be professional and we will welcome any of the five Board members who take any interest in our schools. As for calling Mary Alice Wallace, we do not report to her and there is no written policy requiring us to do what Adelita outlined in her directive. An oral dictate like this one shows little back-bone since Adelita and HT did not dare put anything so stupid in writing. Most importantly, Adelita will soon lose her spot as President. It would be sweet, if when she does show up at any of our schools, we make sure that we apply her dictate to her- just because she is so very special.

As for Mary Alice Wallace- well the gig is up. Time for retirement? No one can trust her except for Adelita Grijalva, Kristel Foster and HT Sanchez. The group is getting smaller and the power is shrinking.

Last week an incoming Board member was prevented from attending a parent meeting at Utterback Magnet Middle School. It was under HT’s directive that Rachael Sedgwick was stopped from hearing what concerns the parents had planned to share with the administration. Wonder if Adelita’s directive and HT’s flub with the new Board member were related. Ya think? If any of us thought we had seen the height of meanness from Adelita and Kristel, think again. Mean will soon be on steroids!

The Hope Inspired by a New Board

The November election has brought some real promise for the many changes that must take place in order for TUSD to regain public confidence and trust which has deteriorated over the last several years. The last four years have been particularly bad based on the fact that the Superintendent has unilaterally dictated every decision and administrative action (or inaction) which has been taken. Leadership from the Board majority has been embarrassingly ABSENT and the two minority Board members have been marginalized in all possible ways by their peers and their subordinate, HT Sanchez. The Board majority, comprised of Adelita Grijalva, Kristel Foster and Ranger Cam Juarez, has been derelict in its duties to direct, supervise and evaluate the Superintendent. They allowed HT Sanchez to establish his own performance goals and to essentially evaluate himself which resulted in both salary and merit increases. With almost half a million dollars flowing to HT’s deep pockets, HT earns more than the POTUS, which is another extremely outlandish situation.

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Finally, however, the TUSD Board bloc has been split, although not shattered, as we had hoped would take place. At least one member of the bloc was ousted which split it. None the less, the meanest and most revengeful of the bloc, Kristel Ann Foster, is returning to the Board. Given that she was “endorsed” by most elected Democrats in Pima County, TEA, and other persons whose names she was always more than willing to drop, it is astonishing that she did as poorly as she did. Mark Stegeman easily outnumbered her votes and Rachael Sedgwick, WITHOUT a hefty bank-roll, an arm’s length of so called progressive-endorsements, snooty name dropping or a slimy masked-Grijalva Independent Expenditure Committee behind her- she won her third spot with integrity. She is unmarked by all the political hacking that is responsible for Adelita, Kristal and Ranger Cam being seated on the Board. As the Grijalva-hack machine has gained one seat after another on the Board over the decades, the more dysfunctional and corrosive it has become. The current Board majority has been responsible for total moral bankruptcy within TUSD. Dems can take lots of credit for TUSD’s blatant failures; one right after another. (Our group is comprised of mostly Democrats, with an Independent and Green Party person within the mix and we are all ashamed of our local Dem Party!.)

We are very proud that one of the three candidates who we endorsed won and are very sorry that neither Betts Putman Hidalgo nor Brett Rustand pushed through to a win. The three of them would have brought about swift changes. We are, however, rid of Ranger Juarez, who for four long years did NOTHING but blow lots and lots of hot air during Board meetings. As timing would have it, his new “law enforcement” job (cuz he is, as he reminds everyone, a park ranger who carries a real gun) is plenty to fill his very shallow ego and the loss of his Governing Board gig is not as big an ego kick as might have otherwise been the case. He also tells everyone that he would NOT have run if Adelita had not twisted his arm.

Almost everyone agrees that Cam Juarez just filled an empty seat for four years. It is not likely that his work ethic will change as he earns a nice federal wage as a park ranger. As a Board member he would nod yes, as instructed by Adelita or Sanchez and go on ad nauseam about whatever he “thought” he knew anything. He conspired with HT and his bloc-mates to attack Mark Stegemen, Mike Hicks, and would go as low as attacking those who addressed the Board during call to the audience. As a public servant he would leave the dais the minute anyone who he dislikes would speak during call to the audience. He is not one who took any type of criticism. We are glad to see him gone. (HT and TEA, or rather their pocket linings, will miss him greatly!)

We are very happy that Rachael Sedgwick will be joining the Board in January and believe that she will be someone who will thoroughly study the issues prior to casting her vote. She is an independent elected official with no strings attached. It will be up to her, along with Mark Stegeman and Mike Hicks to hold HT Sanchez accountable for the first time since HT was appointed Superintendent. It will be a marvel to watch.

No doubt, Adelita Grijalva and “Too-bad-she’s back Kristel-Foster” will become obstacles in their ongoing efforts to support HT Sanchez. They will impede the efforts to hold HT accountable and will pull out all of their mean and underhanded tricks to try to protect a Superintendent who has not been accountable to anyone since he arrived in Tucson. The last four years has been a mindless cheering squad of three in support of HT against doing what is best for TUSD kids.

We have a message for Rachael Sedgwick: Congratulations! Remain Independent! Do NOT get sucked in by Adelita Grijalva and Kristel Foster. They will be saccharin sweet at first and when they see it does not work they will flip on their true mean-girl personas. Show the world that you smart, independent, professional and strong female leader. Keep reminding EVERYONE (but most of all HT) that the Superintendent reports to the Board; not the other way around!

The Danger In HT Sanchez Believing that God Sanctions Bad Behavior and Poor Performance

HT Sanchez’ narcissism has been exposed in thousands of ways during his TUSD tenure. Narcissists believe that the world revolves around them and that their opinions are the only ones that count. Classical narcissism, a personality disorder with symptoms which include lack of empathy, grandiose fantasies, excessive need for approval, rage, has been well defined by the psychoanalytical community. Some within the mental health community appropriately refer to narcissism as the “God complex.” HT has told the community of his devotion to Catholicism and at the same time has professed that he is so very special that he believes God has placed him in his position and provided him with guidance. He said recently that his work is not yet done. This message is arrogant and totally void of any authentic respect of any valid concept of God. HT boasts that his actions as TUSD Superintendent have been and will continue to be guided by God, which implies that all he has done and will do as Superintendent is blessed by the highest of powers. This is HT’s narcissism unleashed and at its most harmful.

As HT Sanchez commits deeds that are harmful to students, teachers, administrators, parents and community members he believes that his deeds are not only blessed by God but that he has actually received guidance on his actions- directly from God. Although HT’s acts are not acts of terrorism, his rationale is much like the extremists who commit evil deeds in the name of God. His narcissism has been repeatedly fed by his three enablers, Adelita, Ranger Cam and Kristel. According to his very corrupt view, the many harmful acts that he has taken as Superintendent have been directed and blessed by the highest of powers; God. The following include but a few of his failures/mistakes/poor judgment (they all come with “cover ups” or excuses):

  • His plot to boost and balance the TUSD budget through the inappropriate use of 301 monies and his refusal to release it to those for whom it was intended.
  • His blaming a parent who has spearheaded more attention on bullying. He has banned her from setting foot on any TUSD property. Great for family engagement; don’t you think? Initially he had even kicked out a her son.
    When HT goes after someone he has them investigated with pre-established findings in mind and then exposes the manipulated findings to the world. He has done everything to smear this parent.
  • His moving a principal and assistant principal out of their assignments for reasons that were well out of their control and which were well documented in an audit that was not supposed to have gone public (the real reason for the reassignment was that he had to quickly find some “fall guys”. (Secrist)
  • His terminating a principal who told the truth via the media about what has been taking place with discipline. We have all been told to lower the discipline numbers no matter what! (Booth-Fickett.)
  • His 96% turnover of his top level cabinet his first year and close to the same his second and third year. Competent people do not like working with an unethical and dishonest ego-maniac! Even his best friend, Adrian Vague-ah left him, knowing that HT was about to point his blaming finger at him. His current cabinet is filled with such extremely weak “yes” people that we doubt most will bail. With the competency of top level administrators such as Anna Maiden and Karla Soto, one wonders if any other institution would touch them.
  • His inability to hire and retain teachers in an organized and targeted manner.
  • His gross mismanagement Synergy. We are back in the dark ages at the schools because of his failure to purchase the software needed for a school district the size of TUSD.
  • His ongoing opposition to the desegregation court order, which has resulted in one mess after another! Because of HT’s lack of support to the magnets schools (or at least the ones he really does not care about) 6 magnet schools are destined to lose their magnet status.
  • His giving “bonuses” to high level administrators without Board approval, making it a gift of public funding.
  • His flip-flop and confusing directives about discipline. No one in the District is clear about what is supposed to be happening. It is more confusing than it is clear. Ask three central administrators about discipline and you get three different answers.
  • His opening of two day care centers on the backs of TUSD students. The centers are overseen by TUSD administration, yet their salaries do not reflect any percentage paid to them by the day care centers.
  • His inappropriate relationship with a female administrator. She was passed over for a promotion by one of HT’s buddies, a less qualified candidate. (Marin and Alvarez)
  • His inappropriate and likely illegal involvement in Adelita’s, Kristel’s and Cam’s school board campaigns. He and his wife even attended some of the forums. Previous superintendents have avoided these type of political conflicts.
  • His manipulation and exploitation of people, including his wife, Adelita, Kristel, Ranger Cam, etc.
  • His divisive skills in constantly dividing those of us who work in the District. There is less unity than there has ever been despite what his highly paid propaganda artist, Stephanie Boe, attempts to sell to the Tucson community.
  • His giving an almost $100,000 consulting contract to someone he listed as a reference on his TUSD application.
  • His outright lying to principals, the Governing Board, the US Federal Court, parents, teachers, etc. It is part of the pathology, we guess. He is a pathological liar! If HT tells you what time it is, we suggest you take a look at your watch!

HT is blasphemous in his delusional pronouncements that the God who he believes in has had any hand in his wicked actions. His irreverent actions are his and his alone, blessed only by Adelita Grijalva, Kristel Foster and Ranger Cam Juarez. The reality is that his blessings have now been cut by a third, which strangely enough ends up being the real blessing!

Also published on Medium.

21 comments on “Whistleblowers: Post-election shenanigans in TUSD, is change really coming?
  1. Some one needs to let ALL teachers know that the 301 money vote on Friday is a sham. The amount they are being led to believe is distributable is NOT the complete amount. HT wants the vote BEFORE the audited financials come out and the truth about the REAL amount available is public. This is despicable.

    • Yes, the survey teachers were given as to having a say in how the money is dispersed strikes me as an underhanded way to manufacture consent. The choices were to leave the surplus and keep dispersing the funds as we have been or to spend the entire amount. Spending the entire amount is irresponsible, so how can teachers vote for that option?
      I hope teachers will withhold their vote until they have the complete financial information and better options for dispersement (something between keeping it the way it’s been and spending all of it). It can’t move forward unless 70% of the teachers vote.

      • I agree. TUSD teachers should reject the whole charade. Per the Annual Financial Report to the State, TUSD has a $15 million in 301 performance money it failed to pay teachers, not the $9.5 million TUSD has told teachers.

        Paying out the entire amount is not irresponsible. Every year the entire amount of 301 performance money should be awarded to the teachers who have earned it. By not paying out the entire amount, teachers are being cheated out of both current income and their future retirement pay. That is what TUSD has been doing all along,by withholding the sales tax money Arizonans voted to pay for teacher performance..

        TUSD has been “loaning” the teachers’ 301 performance money to cover Sanchez’s less than thoughtful spending. The size of the “loan” has increased every year under Sanchez. The “loan” had increased to $12.2 million in 2014-15. We won’t know the size of the “loan” for last year , until TUSD choses to let the public see the external audit firm’s comprehensive annual report. It’s anybody’s guess what Sanchez is buying with the “loaned” 301 money.

        Permanently “loaning” the money means it’s not a loan. If it’s a permanent loan that keeps increasing every year, TUSD has been spending the teachers’ 301 money, not loaning it.

        • Thank you for your response Lillian, and for your clear explanation of how 301 funds are supposed to be dispersed. My interpretation of some of the information given to teachers led me to believe that the district usually kept some in surplus and that we should do so in order to keep paying performance pay after 2020 if the tax was not extended. After reading your reply, I see I was misled.

  2. When will someone investigate the 2 child care centers? They have been funded by TUSD monies and miserably managed. They should be closed and the Director fired. A complete misuse of money and no one is watching.

    • AZ Daily Star did a piece last year about how much money the centers had lost. They should do a follow-up piece on it.

  3. Why is a public school district (K-12) “educating” day care students??! It is a misuse of public education money AND these two sites are taking money away from K-12 classrooms and teachers’ pockets. Someone needs to report this to the state of Arizona.

    Rachael, Mark, Adelita, Mike and (alas) Kristel, remember HT works for you, not the other way around!

  4. There are at least 2 more departments that need investigating: Child Care,and Family Resource Centers. While each does noble work, they should not be subsidized/funded by TUSD. Why doesn’t TUSD lease out the facilities, like they have for many others, and let the work be done by the free market. And BTW, the rates should be competitively priced, not like others that have been negotiated at under fair market price. TUSD is subsidizing organizations, yet claim they don”t have enough money for TUSD students. Keep the money for our students. Let the voters or outside donors decide if these other organizations merit funding.
    If I had a day care business, I would have sued immediately; a government organization taking over my business. If I was a young child less teacher, I would complain to TEA that I am subsidizing the child care centers, since I get no benefit. As a tax paying voter, I complain my money is being mis-used.

  5. The above letter says that Ms. Wallace contributed financially to a board member’s political campaign (for a board seat). Seams that Ms. Wallace is in violation of the Hatch Act, I would think that TUSD is subject to the Act as they receive Federal monies. An investigation is certainly in order.

    • The Hatch Act applies only to federal employees. Each governmental body sets its own rules as to employee involvement in elections.

  6. There are many departments/sites in TUSD that should be investigated/closed or personnel changes made when this new Board becomes official in January 2017!

    Human Resources
    Board Office
    Early Childhood Learning Centers
    Communication and Media Relations
    Financial Services/Budget
    Magnet Programs
    Secondary Leadership

    Hopefully, TUSD can finally get back to educating the children of Tucson instead of protecting HT Sanchez, advancing the careers of certain Board members and TEA presidents!

  7. Teachers we need to united! We don’t need that worthless TEA as we have a majority Board who will listen to our plea for 301 money. Jason Freed will not get a coveted administrative position like Frances Banales for her selling us out! Let’s start attending Board meetings and let this new Board know we need sufficient pay for a job well done. This Board can direct HT to be accountable for 301 and Prop 123 moneys that is being hoarded to keep the district financially solvent! HT is making close to $500,000, why can’t we get what is owed to us??!?!

  8. Teachers either need to take back control of TEA or dump it for AFT. As long as TEA exists with Jason Freed and the majority of the current TEA Board members, Superintendent Sanchez will be able to claim that “teachers” have approved anything he wants, no matter how bad it is for teachers.

    A union that agreed to allow some of its members to be moved to a new salary schedule that pays $800 less per year, is not representing employees. Even worse, when Mr. Freed and TUSD’s Director of Employee Relations presented the new contract to the public and the TUSD Board, they “forgot” to present the new salary schedule and inform the Board that the contract included pay cuts for several groups of professional employees..

    Currently, TEA is “negotiating” a better “transition plan.” The “transition plan” ensures that the current nurses, counselors, social workers and others won’t get a pay cuts next year, after all. All the new hires will get nailed with $800 less per year. This is the way TUSD under Sanchez reduces employment, by making pay uncompetitive for all three of these employee groups.

    • Ms. Fox- I have been trying to find out how we can get rid of tea, but no one has been able to give me specifics. Can you?

        • I did that 6 years ago. TEA remains. As there are more non-members, than members, what ARE the steps to remove TEA as our bargaining unit?

        • Usually, unions that are the sole bargaining agent have a contract guaranteeing they have a specific number of members. Unfortunately, the agreement that makes TEA the teachers’. nurses’, counselors’ sole bargaining agent contains no such number. Membership could drop to one person and TEA would still be their bargaining agent.

          Furthermore, if the unhappy teachers who’re paying attention resign from TEA, the present TEA leadership stays in place forever, despite dwindling membership.

          Either the TUSD Board has to vote to remove the part of the Consensus Agreement (TEA agreement) that makes TEA the sole representative, or TEA members have to vote to remove the current TEA leadership. or if enough TUSD teachers join AFT, AFT may be able to challenge TEA.

          The first option is not a good one. In TUSD, teachers desperately need a strong union that represents them.

          TEA teachers have banded together with nonTEA teacher to fight to get their 301 money. Those TEA members are exactly the ones who should dump the present TEA leadership. They may need to persuade their nonTEA allies to join up and clean up TEA.

      • Usually when a union is the sole bargaining agent, there is a contract guaranteeing a minimum number of employees are union members. Unfortunately, TUSD’s agreement with TEA does not contain a guaranteed membership number. Even, if TEA’s membership fell to virtually nothing, TEA would still be the sole bargaining agent.

        If the teachers who’re paying attention resign from TEA, that guarantees that the present TEA leadership can stay in place and further weakens TEA. To effectively represent teachers, TEA leaders needs the clout of having a larger membership standing behind them.

        TUSD’s agreement making TEA the bargaining agent is in the Consent Agreement (TEA agreement.). TEA could be removed as the bargaining agent, if the TUSD Board voted to remove that part of the contract. That would leave teachers with no union, which would be even worse.

        TUSD teachers need a strong union to represent them. Better options would be for TEA’s members to vote to remove the present leadership, including the majority of TEA’s board, or for teachers to join AFT. With enough TUSD members, AFT could push TEA out.

        TEA teachers have joined with nonTEA teachers to fight to get their 301 performance money. Those teachers, TEA and nonTEA, are exactly the leaders who could replace the present TEA leadership.

        The TEA teachers need to convince their nonTEA allies to join the union and fight to put a better, stronger leadership in place. And, work to build a bigger, stronger union to represent TUSD’s teachers. TEA will stay weak, unless it can increase its size.

  9. Wow. Increase TEA membership, to change TEA leadership. The problem with that scenario is; the hard core TEA members that have remained, are indoctrinated- they spiel TEA b.s. about everything! Juarez was teacher friendly, Stegeman is anti-teacher. Hmmmm, could work. All I can do is try!

  10. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is responsible for receiving petitions to decertify a union as a bargaining agent. See this web page:


    “DECERTIFICATION ELECTION: Have a union, but don’t want it anymore, or want a different one? Under certain circumstances, you can vote out or “decertify” your union, or replace it with a different union. At least 30% of your coworkers must sign cards or a petition asking the NLRB to conduct an election. Unless a majority of the votes cast in the election are in favor of union representation, the union it will be decertified. Such elections are barred, however, for one year following the union’s certification by the NLRB. Plus, if your employer and union reach a collective-bargaining agreement, you cannot ask for a decertification election (or an election to bring in another union) during the first three years of that agreement, except during a 30-day “window period.” That period begins 90 days and ends 60 days before the agreement expires (120 and 90 days if your employer is a healthcare institution). After a collective-bargaining agreement passes the three-year mark or expires, you may ask for an election to decertify your union or to vote in another union at any time.”

    Here’s another NLRB web page that answers the question, “What steps are required in order to file a petition with the NLRB to certify or decertify a union?”


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