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August 17, 2019

7/10/2019 1:16:00 PM
Schools need strong captain

By Katie Carson
I am concerned. To use the metaphor of a F/V (fishing vessel), our La Conner School District is currently running like a boat whose crew and Captain are misaligned, this of course quite dangerous on many levels. A no confidence vote with the goal to have the Captain leave the boat is extreme. A Captain that does not develop courage and leadership in its crew suffers from a dysfunctional environment. They all experience a loss in morale, and by virtue, income. Worse, they risk the potential sinking of the ship.
I have listened to various entities involved and have spent many hours trying to understand how we got here. My conclusion: It comes down to opaque communication along with the lack of trust. I have an 8th grader in the district and a business. We, as a family within this community, care that this void is filled with the honest intentions of building a healthy and vigorous school district.
I have heard that women in the district who strived for positions of leadership opt now to become “a cog of the wheel,” as to not suffer from recrimination. I have heard directly from the superintendent that this current state of affairs has to do with what is called the “two year syndrome,” for incoming superintendents as they make their way into a district. I have also heard that this type of turmoil is occurring on campuses throughout the state due to the resolve of the McCleary Decision.
I am pleased that the La Conner School Board delayed discussion on salary increase and contract extension under the current situation. I am of the opinion, as far as contract extension of Dr. Meissner’s position goes, to NOT push for a one year extension, to 2022, at this time. She is contracted through 2021, this gives a full school year, 2019/20, to assess change in climate and culture on this particular boat and to witness first hand if the crew (teachers and staff) feel treatment towards their professional development has bettered. This gives the Captain (Dr. Meissner) a year to move past the two year itch. And, it gives the boat (campus) additional time to filter through the changes brought on by the State.
I hope our current La Conner School District leaders, both Superintendent and Board members, can commit to listening and honoring those voices which are very much the strength of this district.
ONE RISES, WE ALL RISE. If it is found that there is a true misfit, that trust has truly been broken, the damage too great – then after a year of work to right the ship perhaps it is best that a new Captain be brought on board.
Katie Carson
This is a letter recently sent to the La Conner School District Board of Directors by a mother of an 8th grade student.


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