There is a new METCO director at Melrose Public Schools, but some parents are unhappy with the district’s decision and perceived lack of transparency during the process.
On Aug. 4, METCO parent Darrelle Boyd, whose daughter is a freshman at Melrose High School, wrote a letter to Melrose Superintendent Cyndy Taymore and other parties on behalf of several METCO parents to voice their displeasure with the school district over the “hiring practices” for the new METCO director and former interim director Amy Jackson.
“Several concerns were raised regarding the cultural needs and well-being of students of color, hiring practices and administrative transparency,” Boyd wrote in the letter. “Throughout the five-month tenure of the interim, many unacceptable events occurred resulting in a vote of no confidence among the parents.”
In February, Taymore selected Jackson as interim director to replace the previous METCO director, Doreen Ward, who had been there for 17 years. Boyd said parents disliked Jackson’s behavior as interim director during her five months.
“A few examples include blatant dishonesty, non-participation in an IEP meeting and the police being called to board an elementary school bus, leaving children afraid they would be arrested if they rode the bus again,” Boyd wrote. “All occurrences were reported directly to Superintendent Mrs. Cyndy Taymore.”
Boyd said parents spoke with Taymore “numerous times” about Jackson, and they told Taymore they didn’t want Jackson to be hired for the permanent role. However, to the parents dismay, Taymore hired Jackson over the summer, and parents don’t believe the school district listened to their concerns.
“Our understanding was [Taymore] wanted [Jackson] regardless,” Boyd said. “For us not to have the only person who is representative of the METCO students be a person who is qualified and we have confidence in is unacceptable. We had no input or involvement in hiring. The parents were not in favor of hiring the interim person and made this very clear to the superintendent, and she hired her anyway.”
Some parents complained Taymore didn’t post the position until the end of the school year, which made “the pool very slim.” In addition, parents claimed Taymore lied to them about reaching out to another candidate during the process, which they said never happened.
“I don’t think [Jackson] was the most qualified applicant, and I don’t think the process to get her there was done with the purest of hearts,” METCO parent Demia Wells said, adding the hiring process was “sneaky and not all forthright.” ”[Taymore] lied to the whole parent body.”
Although Boyd and other parents were strongly against the school district hiring Jackson, they are more frustrated the “cultural needs” of the METCO students were not taken seriously.
“We happened to see the flaws in the hiring process,” said Boyd. “Our issues are not necessarily with [Jackson]. We want our voices heard and taken into consideration.”
Boyd said the METCO director position is crucial for their children’s educational experience.
“The only person [our kids] can go to who can understand what it feels like or what they have to go through as METCO students not being members of the Melrose community is the METCO director,” Boyd said. “If she is not someone we have confidence in or is not qualified, she is not going to meet the needs of the students, and she has already proven that.”
“A set process”
Taymore responded to the parents’ accusations and said the hiring process was the “same process” she has used for the last seven years.
“We have a set process here in Melrose,” Taymore asserted. “They do not like who I chose and I understand that. Given the information I had at the time, I made the choice that was in the best interest of the district and my students.”
Taymore said the district was “caught by surprise” when Ward left, and she said she had to delay all hiring decisions due to an override campaign in the winter.
Then, Taymore said the district had to fill five positions in 10 weeks. They first began hiring two principals, two directors and then the METCO director, and she said she went through the usual sequence of events when filling a position.
“I think it’s a difference in opinion,” Taymore said of the parents frustration. “The previous director may have told them they would have more say in the process than they would have.”
Taymore created a search committee to lead the hiring process, and she said it had “plenty of representation.”
There were two METCO parents and two METCO students on the committee, and Taymore said she listened to the feedback of the parents. However, she emphasized she has “sole authority” for hiring, and School Committee Chair Ed O’Connell believes the process was also performed correctly.
“This is her decision,” O’Connell said. “This is the process we use. If she had not adhered to the process we had adhered to for seven years, I would be concerned.”
Taymore explained she had “meet-and-greets” with parents and staff, and she also had private conversations with each candidate. Taymore said she can’t reveal everything about the other applicants’ background, but she believes Jackson was the right candidate for the job.
“She is a pleasure to work with and cares deeply about our kids,” Taymore said. “She was the best match for the district at this point in time. She brings a lot to the table.”
Taymore only gave Jackson a one-year deal, which Taymore explained is not typical, but she said Jackson is “getting a lot done for the district.” Taymore added her staff will be evaluating and monitoring Jackson in her new permanent role.
O’Connell said a small percentage of parents are criticizing the process because they don’t like the decision. However, he further emphasized it was the standard process, which Taymore followed “faithfully.”
“We want to be responsive,” O’Connell said of the parents’ concerns. “We take all of this seriously. This was an open, honest and fair process.”
More staff leaving the Roosevelt school.
How is KB and SC doing in the high school? Heard the teachers don't respect them for the out come and CT doing nothing but, rewarding them.
Did the school committee pass the vote so CT and her gain can check and fire you if you use her computers and go on face book.
A evil women is worst than a evil man.
I hope neither of the two previous posters is an English teacher!
"This string your able to just type on it and it's not to be graded. "
If this person truly is a teacher, Melrose Schools are in a great deal more trouble than already known.
Hey teacher, it doesn't take an English teacher to know that "your able" is supposed to be "you're able." If this is the writing of a "teacher," this individual is functionally ILLITERATE! "Your" [You're] a true embarrassment who probably couldn't pass the 5th-grade MCAS.
Great Article in Malden News Paper today on Mystiv Valley Charter school. The MTA is representing teachers who MV tried to collect liquidated damages from after taking higher paying jobs at Public Schools. The richest piece of data available is that the Charter has a 29% annual teacher turnover rate since 2009...WTF.
How come CT will let a person that works for the school become a teacher without the full degree. Some say if she knows your a hard worker and she likes you she will hire you for a position. Then she lets you finish school so you have the proper degree. My friend has been trying so hard and never gets the position. Maybe she should go to another city instead of Melrose. Anyone have any ideas on what she should do?
Medford schools are far superior to Melrose, just look at the curriculum.
The teachers, police, fire, should be able to get a make over like the city is in Melrose. It don't matter if its Medford, Melrose, or Malden. Winchester is a great place if you can travel. My friend loves Belmont they are so much for the staff. They have so many programs to have a happy environment in the Belmont Schools.
Over worked and under paid the fire, police and teachers. The respect is so bad for the men and women in these position now. The teachers are just becoming bullies, police ride around doing nothing, the fire department cant wait for their pensions. CT will be soon leaving Melrose with so much depth that Melrose will go close to bankruptcy again. Move on from Melrose if you haven't invest to much time. The teachers are on their cell phones majority of the time I volunteer and see it everyday. Vote yes on question 2.
Please dear God, please tell me this woman is not volunteering in my child's English class.
I'm trying to figure out all these convoluted stories about fraud being committed by school department staff. Why isn't this the big story? We are cutting staff at the High School, cutting services to kids, cutting paras in the kindergarten. And, according to these posters, we have school personnel falsifying time cards and paying staff for days they are not here? That's fraud, and everyone involved should be fired.
I'd love to see the Free Press investigate this.....
Sorry don't depend on administration helping staff that are being bullied in the work place. The bulling that goes on in Melrose is unthinkable. I witnessed the other day teachers planning a strategy to hurt a staff member. This don't matter the teachers will sit and laugh at what is going on. The thing that bothers me is I am a teacher and didn't think this existed. Glad I have not invested time in Melrose and will be looking elsewhere.
Stay for the three years in Melrose. Use the administration like they are using you. Then see if at the end of your third year you get hired. You should not stay in Melrose the pay is much lower than other cities. If your young keep looking for another schools. Its good to get your practice and mistakes in the first three years of teaching. Melrose is loaded with first year teachers. Hope the mentors are being helpful and not wishing for failure. When people say it happens everywhere that is not true in Melrose its worse here.
...goes around. Notice how many teachers give notice in July or August leaving the superintendent and principals in the lurch? This is what happens when an administrators disrespect their teachers. Teachers do talk and then the word gets around the educational community that Melrose administrators disrespect their teachers and students as well as parents. Or they could watch this all play out on MMTV school committee meetings as the school committee chair disparages members of the public who speak during public comment.
When a competent reporter shows up in Melrose and starts reporting the truth about the corruption within city hall and school administration, they are swiftly moved out of town, such as Aaron Leibowitz, who apparently wrote one too many accurate articles about the myriad MPS scandals.
I would report this to the head of the schools which is the superintendent or her assistance. You have a better chance of hearing back from the superintendent. Or go directly to the SC meeting on Tues. at city hall. Tell them quickly whats happening in your school. The problem is you have 5 minutes to speak then you have to stop. With this situation you will be so humiliated from your staff it might not be worth it.
Aaron had a GREAT story about racism and despicable treatment of black mentors and sped students. He had statements from staff and black mentors. What happened you ask? His editor went with him to see Cyndy and the story was killed. Worse, is those mentors who were honor students will no longer assist in SC's class and the racist teacher was brought into MHS by recently promoted CB as Asst. Principal is still there. Those students are left in her grossly incompetent hands.
Did you see a draft? I would love to read it.
bullying (not bulling)
Why would anyone with an ounce of awareness think that calling the very people responsible for promoting and allowing such conduct, responsible for the "racially hostile environment," as the federal investigators have documented, responsible for the pervasive atmosphere of intimidating staff, parents and students, would be the appropriate authorities to call to report more of this? This is craziness.
I would like the proper channels even if its in the school department. I type with my phone and then I leave out letters when I press post. That's not the point of the story and to be critical of that is very child like and needs to get a life.
You might not ever hear from P.W.L. she never returns calls and if your being bullied you are better off to get a Lawyer.
"Get a life" epitomizes the kind of immaturity that goes right along with the bad culture here. No, the person who wrote to "Get" wasn't a bully, just someone being realistic and factual towards someone who isn't mature enough to accept legitimate criticism. Calling "Reality" a bully is just classic projection, done by people who typically are actual bullies themselves. Too many people try to blame their electronic devices for their own sloppiness and poor communication, starting with the top bosses in this school district, who are abysmal communicators and always blame everyone but themselves.
This superintendent needs to go.
Medford schools are far more superior than Melrose. The advantage is the school is Kindergarten through eighth grade. Everyone in the schools adjust better to this type of environment. My uncle works in the McGlynn School in Medford and has a lot of good stories.
But the reporter, Aaron, who was reporting the controversial stories was moved to Malden. I would like to read his behind the scenes tell-all of his time in Melrose.
He was too good for his own good. I imagine it was eye opening for him working the beat here.
Ms. Taymore should be leaving.Not the teacher;s.Not good for are children and families.