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Open 51st Open Letter
From: Whistleblowers– Comprised of a Large Group of Extremely Concerned TUSD Administrators, Teachers, Retired Administrators and Parents, Grandparents
Last Tuesday night’s meeting was despicable in every way imaginable!
The MEAN GIRLS- Kristel Foster and Adelita Grijalva- were in full throttle in lashing out their sarcasm; rudely jumping in with their constant interruptions and- in general- showing total disregard for any level of dignity. Neither of them showed any respect for the standard protocol which is followed during Board meetings while making their constant fury-filled interruptions.
Adelita’s speaking was so rapid that at times her own tongue could not keep up with her words. Her voice was very high pitched. As she glugged her big-gulp caffeine the speed in her speech increased and the pitch in her voice heightened. Kristel was just pissed-off and hurt. It was draped all over her. Her attempts to save Sanchez had not worked. The fact that she had cried during the executive session could not be hidden. She was the first one out from executive session, sat herself down at the dais and looked defeated and furious.
Adelita and Kristel tried as hard as they could to pretend that they were correcting Hicks on how to run the meeting while each intentionally ignored going through him, as the Board President, to speak. They were continuously out of order- literally and figuratively. It was a display of such desperation and such rage.
They each showed no respect for any rules of order and put on a spectacular show for THEIR audience who they had gotten to attend through their hysteria, lies, and total EXPLOITATION. Most of the people in the audience had been invited by them or Adelita’s dad. Within the crowd of exploited supporters, two moms stood out. They had been asked to address the Board in support of HT and told what they each should say. Each spoke only in Spanish to acknowledge Sanchez for speaking and meeting with them. One young student wrestled with the words he was reading from a paper which seemed to have been composed for him to compliment Sanchez. The theater was poorly executed. It was embarrassing and it was disgusting. EXPLOITATION!
Both Kristel and Adelita had “worked the room” at every function they had attended for six days prior to the Board meeting. TEA again rounded up their small circle of loyalists to hail to the man who has saved the Union from being decertified based on their lowest membership count in history. (TEA must be replaced by AFT!) Adelita, at one of her most despicable and lowest moments, even approached people to support her plight to hang on to her failing superintendent at Martin Bacal’s funeral services. Regardless of religious background- this was a travesty in showing any level of respect or humanity for Martin and his family. There is no level too low for Adelita to stoop and Kristel reached the lowest level, long ago.
The acts of desperation have included a Sanchez-support petition and a campaign to make employees state that they support him. Last Wednesday, directors and managers were drawn into the mix and told that if Sanchez leaves, those who he has “supported” will not last. They were asked, with a nod and a wink, to go back to their departments and garner support for Sanchez, implying that if he stays, they stay. The use of fear has worked for Sanchez for four years and now he is just turning it up. EXPLOITATION!
These are all behaviors that show political and personal desperation. The panic that has been induced into the community by Foster and Grijalva shows what their priority is to desperately hold on to their power. HT Sanchez symbolizes the power held by the Grijalva machine and extended to those who he has put in their political elected or appointed positions. But HT is a mangled part in what is becoming a rusty and broken down machine. Replacement parts for the machine have been recalled.
It was the Whistleblowers who first identified Adelita Grijalva and Kristel Foster as “MEAN GIRLS” and those within our group, who first made the observation and tagged them as mean girls are all women. Every woman has experienced at least one mean girls in their lives- typically in middle school or the early years of high school. Adelita and Kristel never grew out of their mean girl identities. The entire group supported the label having watched their behavior over many, many months during Board meetings. Adelita and Kristel are both immature and politically malicious in their conduct. They, along with Cam Juarez and HT Sanchez are all DESPICABLE. For those of us who have watched the dynamics over the last years, it is very clear that they have been in collusion with one another to promote HT as a tool to promote their political power. Little they have done has supported TUSD students, teachers, or site administrators. It has been the opposite. EXPLOITATION!
Mike Hicks did not do himself any favors in showing any kind of leadership based on the way that he ran the meeting. He allowed the mean girls to basically take over the meeting by not imposing rules of order and holding to them. Saying “excuse me” is no way to control a meeting. Rachael Sedgwick, as a brand new governing board member, became the mean girls’ punching bag. Instead of attempting to assist her in any way possible, Hicks left her hanging. Sedgwick made every effort to have the Board support the idea of having a committee who would conduct an anonymous survey which would reveal more about the school district’s holes or gaps as a tool to improve it. She was criticized for not providing detail as part of the agenda item. The truth is, most of the time Sanchez’ own agenda items sheets are absent vital details. Her idea was slammed down 3 to 2. Stegeman was the only one who offered any support to Sedgewick. In order for Hicks to show leadership part of his role is to “show the ropes” to the new member; not to hang her by a rope. Of course, Sanchez was not going to lift a finger to support her. We remember the days when Cam Juarez would trip all over himself in trying to express the most basic of ideas. HT would jump in and rescue him time and time again. There was even a time when Cam turned to HT and asked, ‘would you ask my question? ’ He obviously had not rehearsed his lines well enough.
As has already been beat to death, Sedgewick was meeting with a constituent who insisted that Mark Stegeman and Mike Hicks are white supremacists. She told him she did not agree several times but he continued to insist that they are white supremacists. She grew agitated with his aggressive approach and inability to “back off.” Instead of leaving the meeting, she finally flippantly and facetiously said- “white supremacist rule” insinuating that this is the way he sees the world. After the fact, it was discovered that he is a friend and proponent of Foster and Grijalva. Facebook then was used to “share” what had happened from his slanted, biased perspective. Grijalva and Foster picked up on it and “gave” the information to DaMond Holt, a black minister who is politically aligned with Grijalva, Foster and Sanchez. Holt is a magistrate with Teen Court. Adelita Grijalva is the Teen Court Director. The dots are self-connecting.
Sanchez quietly handed Holt a job as the District’s “ombudsman” even though Holt is not an educator. The position was created out of Sanchez’ thin-air volt, from which he pulls out a lot of his tricks, especially, when he is prompted to hire someone’s mother-in-law or magistrate. Holt, with Grijalva and Foster in the background, have all orchestrated an anti-Sedgwick campaign attempting to paint her as a bigot. It is a SINFUL diversion since Holt has not been involved in ANYTHING involving TUSD’s REAL RACISM. He has used his ministry to call upon his minister peers in this modern day lynching. This is just a gigantic diversion to take attention away from the real issue: HT Sanchez’ many failures.
Sure, the Board room was packed with solicited supporters, including those drawn in by Holt, but none had ever spoken about increasing enrollment or improving achievement. Most in the room had not attended a Board meeting anytime lately or ever. None of them have been involved in the desegregation case (except for Brian Flagg and Cesar Aguirre, who have done nothing but fight it). None of them have spoken about the severe discipline problems that have plagued our schools due to Sanchez’ attempts to tamper with the numbers to make him look good (that is until he got caught). He does not care that our schools and classrooms are in chaos.
Several of us received the following letter last Tuesday afternoon. It was distributed to several African Americans, including some of us who are part of the Whistleblowers. Read it carefully. It says all you need to know about how Sanchez, Adelita, Kristel and their new hire, Holt, have twisted an issue to accommodate their need to draw attention away from Sanchez and onto Rachael Sedgwick to the point of turning an entire community against her based on something that has been greatly distorted. It is disgusting! EXPLOITATION!
(Article continued below)
From: Khianna Matteson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tue, Feb 21, 2017 2:35 pm
Subject: URGENT- PLEASE READ- Stop Black Community Leaders From Being Politically Exploited TODAY!!!
As most of you know, Superintendent HT Sanchez’ employment status is being considered at tonight’s Governing Board Meeting, which begins at 4:30 PM at the Duffy Complex- 5145 East Fifth Street. I think that most in the community strongly believe that Sanchez should either be put on a very aggressive performance improvement plan or be terminated. His best option is to resign. He has not served TUSD well. He has worked to divide the TUSD community, which has spilled over to the larger community. He rules through the use of fear or bribery (punishing those who challenge him and advancing those who do his bidding).
My viewpoint is that Sanchez has failed to serve African American, Latino and Native American students. In other words students with black/brown skin have suffered under the Sanchez administration. This is supported by hard data. Achievement levels for the majority of black and brown students is terrible. At a recent meeting I was told that the suspension rate for African American students is outrageously high- something between 15 and 20 times over the number of white students. It is obvious to those who follow the District that the desegregation court order has become the scape goat and punching bag for HT Sanchez. Instead of implementing it, he has 6-8 attorneys fighting it, all paid with desegregation dollars. Yet, we all know that without our constitutional rights that have been upheld by courts throughout the country, African Americans would not have made the gains to this time in history. As an African American woman I am horrified by the continued degree of neglect that has been paid to African American students in TUSD and our community. I am in strong support of Sanchez’ removal from his position.
I have been part of the Black Lives Matter movement since its early beginnings in Florida and challenge anyone in Tucson to show me that HT Sanchez has treated the Lives of Black students who attend TUSD as though they do matter. He has not. Since January 2017 the TUSD Board has changed. Rachael Sedgwick won the seat that was previously filled by Cam Juarez and with her “win” the old block was broken. Juarez, along with Adelita Grijalva and Kristel Foster made up the majority Board and they, along with HT Sanchez are culpable for the dire educational state that TUSD is in. Their block of votes have eroded accountability in TUSD. HT and his block have constantly fought the desegregation court order. Since Rachael joined the Board in January the “new” Board has addressed several accountability issues, with tonight’s agenda being the most pointed and probably one of the most important. However, Adelita Grijalva and Kristel Foster have done everything in their power to detract from tonight’s agenda by calling in many people under very false pretenses. They have done this through what they consider their allies, including African American ministers and leaders from the Tucson Urban League and the local chapter of the NAACP. I believe Sanchez has colluded with Grijalva and Foster in this last ditch effort to rescue his position. I find this act despicable because it is so exploitive of our Black community.
The pretext for having the Black community express “outrage” aimed at Rachael Sedgewick is based on a meeting that she had with a man who aggressively attempted to convince her that Mikes Hicks and Mark Stegeman are white supremacists. She would not blindly accept his judgement and he continued his aggressive, near badgering rhetoric. She attempted to be reasonable and express how helpful both Stegeman and Hicks have been to her as a new Board member. He would reject any counter point she offered, especially when she stated that Grijalva and Foster had not been welcoming or supportive and he again laid into her with the white supremacist accusations. She finally responded in a totally frustrated and facetious way by saying something like, ‘OK- White Supremacists rule.” She has explained that the statement was totally facetious.
My impression of Rachael is that she wants to do right by African American youth and get TUSD going in a positive direction.
I am insulted in seeing how Sanchez, Grijalva, Foster and DaMond T. Holt (who is on the TUSD payroll) have colluded to exploit OUR voices. He has done this as he has gained employment with TUSD and has rushed into judgement without gathering all of the facts. Please do not play into the hands of this racially exploitive move. If they believed that our lives truly matter, they would not be attempting to USE us.
Right now I am a student who is supporting myself through working two part-time jobs. I asked for time off today to attend the meeting so that I could address the Board but was denied. PLEASE, any of you who know how important public education is for our community, show up at the meeting in support of holding HT Sanchez accountable and do what you can to STOP those within our community who have been lied to about Rachael who have been “set up” to attack. It is nothing more than a deflector.
Please forward this to others and anyone is free to copy this and distribute it at the Board meeting.
In God’s Grace,
Black Lives Matter!
Whether Sanchez is removed from his position, resigns or is put on an improvement plan, he has to know that he has failed as a superintendent. He has to know that his trickery, constant lies, ineptness, retaliatory management style, and perhaps even his fraudulent acts have caught up with him. He has to know that for four long years he has further divided our community. He has to know that much of his behavior has not only been inappropriate, it has contradicted his own religious beliefs. This would have no place in our letter except that HT spent a long time convincing us of how devoted he is as a Catholic and that in his viewpoint he was placed “here” by God. We all know that “God don’t like ugly” and was not responsible for HT or his actions; only HT and the former Board majority can account for him and his misdeeds. Free will has a big role in how each of them has decided to act.
Sanchez also has to know that there are some who are on to him and that his hate for these people and groups is nothing but a rejection of the truth. HT does not deal with truth well. At this point, he has lost the battle and he knows it. He has to know it. Those who are pulling on him to stay so that they can hold on to their power will only deplete him of any humility and self-worth that remains. We suggest that he pick up what humility he has left and leave without doing any more damage and EXPLOITING the TUSD budget any more than he has. We are not sure that Sanchez has sufficient self-reflection and savviness within him to be able to figure out what is best for him, much less our community.
As he has been approached by people and asked about the situation, his only response has been that if he is terminated he will sue the District. If these are his words of self-reflection and truth, then he has revealed that what HT has been and is all about is himself and $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. EXPLOITATION!
There has been one very tiring argument presented to retain Sanchez, which is “continuity.” It is a baseless argument in his case because he has offered no stability, no real vision, and no continuous message. He has had no continuity within his own cabinet or legal counsel. His deputy is seen as a weak-do absolutely-nothing waste of space. A so-called leader who is unable to garner any type of loyalty to him by those who work with him at the closest level is not a leader. There has been no long-lasting talent around him. The fact is, these are tell-tale signs that he is not worth for any degree of loyalty and that those with talent cannot work for someone who is void of it. HT brought in his own former Deputy and former head of Technology from Texas. Both were friends. They left, along with many others who he selected for top-level positions. Continuity has to do with more than one person. Sanchez needs to leave NOW. The Board has got to deal with their internal dysfunction and move beyond their personal and political dislike for one another.
Real focus and resources need to be immediately directed in educating our students!
Also published on Medium.