Ghysels confirms relationship with principal
Original post made
on Oct 26, 2009
Mountain View Whisman School District Superintendent Maurice Ghysels has acknowledged that he is in a relationship with a district principal, Carmen Mizell.
Read the full story here Web Link
posted Monday, October 26, 2009, 5:36 PM
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Posted by Ray
a resident of Castro City
on Oct 30, 2009 at 8:57 pm
Ray is a registered user.
This whole arrangement by the board is bogus and defies common sense and a grasp of human nature. It will prove to be a disaster for this school district and anyone's ability to lead or maintain a cohesive team or effort. Anyone who thinks a conflict of interest doesn't still exist, doesn't understand the meaning of the term when applied to public office and organizations. It's absolute poison, poison, poison for getting anything done or mobilizing this educational community at a time when it needs it most. I just can't see Ghysels sitting down for coffee with moms in the district and building community, nor with teachers on a professional level. I just can't. This, after he had his wife pushing his agenda and devoting so many hours to volunteer at the schools to read and tutor! How would anyone with a sense of decency even be able to look this guy in the eye after that and get back on his agenda? While apparently the board would, I doubt that the many parents that bring valuable time and money into the district would be able to stomach this deceitful personality. Use and abuse and dump is what it's called. All for his vainglory. If he really cared about the schools and the children, he would never have put the district in this situation. I challenge anyone to deny this fact. It just diminishes everyone else's professionalism, sincerity, and dedication to the schools to get involved with this guy as their leader.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that both the Ghysels and Mizell lack class and a sense of propriety, among other things? What presumption to think that neither one of them should have sought work elsewhere over the summer when their relationship so-called "evolved". What dereliction of public office for the board to not have dismissed one of them. What prevented them from doing so, I cannot guess. Give us all a break here. What kind of gibberish is that? Their sense of entitlement is simply appalling. Their claims to remaining professional is purely self-serving, unauthentic, and unbelievable. What else would they possibly say under such circumstances? The school board's naivety is simply staggering. They had a chance to deal with this over the summer, and they punted. Cowards.
More serious yet, readers should really go to the links provided by the editor in the article and read past statements by Ghysels regarding the hiring and appointments of this principal and consider the "what ifs", since his motivations and statements for past actions are all now tainted and suspect. Everything that has taken place or transpired between these two individuals must be viewed as fruit from the poisonous tree--i.e., any statements they make regarding the length, type, or circumstances of this relationship must be considered suspect. The board should review all hires, appointments, firings, and sexual harassment complaints for inconsistency and undue influence. The HR superintendent clearly is outmatched by this situation, or lacks a spine, or perhaps conveniently has forgotten the difference between right and wrong while she puts her bets on the superintendent for keeping her on the payroll. Of course he will, and everyone else in the "gang of four" for that matter for supporting him in this situation, past, present, and future. It will turn out to be quite a vicious circle. In the meantime, teachers and staff who are all well-informed on this subject by now will just shake off any statements, actions and programs by this superintendent as lacking sincerity. His words will ring hollow while they question how much of his gargantuan ego is involved. The district might as well not even have a superintendent at this point. Confine him to his office or send him on his way with his salary for the rest of the year until his contract ends next summer.
By the way, who wrote this principal's last three evaluations anyway? Sounds as if he did. Do they need to be reviewed and possible rewritten? How do the other principals in this district feel about these special arrangements? And since the board has given a pass to all this, what happens when the relationship that has so-called "evolved" goes suddenly sour? (At least we know she can't be fired since she now has tenure and can stay on as a teacher who hasn't taught for more than 15 years.) Will this piece-of-work of a principal turn the tables on the board and district and claim sexual harassment for the second time? But this time against the superintendent? She has made it quite public at the Landels school site, and to anyone else who lends an ear, that she is battling a health condition. Boy, even I would feel sympathetic if she woke up tomorrow and claimed this whole sordid affair was pushed upon her by the superintendent during a difficult time when her defenses were down and her sense of judgement impaired. And then the board allowed the unprofessional relationship to be perpetuated, officially sanctioned, ect. Is someone going to tell me they all took a pact and promised not to ever think that the fairytale might end? I'd say dump the rascal, girl, and go for the money. Sue the superintendent for sexual harassment and the district for sanctioning it! You've got a golden case.
And what happens when another teacher or principal gets up and starts screaming claims of unfair preferential treatment? Has it not just been built-in and sanctioned by the board? Is not the district opening itself up to lawsuits for preferential treatment? What about new teachers that this principal currently or has once supervised, evaluated, or sought to get rid of? Was there a fast-track arrangement in place to get all her actions sanctioned by the superintendent who then directed Totter to do the dirty work, no questions asked? And as brought up above, what about the applicant who was pushed aside when this principal was hired? Does anyone find it suspicious that one of this principal's first actions during her first year was to level a charge of sexual harassment against a very hard-working and decent man who had long history of volunteering and working at Castro school? What actions has the board taken to investigate those circumstances? Where was the board's new-found sympathetic ear and newly-crafted definitions of professional behavior for those individuals? Or rather, how much dirt has Totter been using to cover up these episodes. Shame on them all. Shame.
Since the school board doesn't have the moral courage to address this on-going conflict of interest for a public official, perhaps a letter to the Civil Grand Jury with this article as proof of the ridiculous statements made by these public officials would get the ball rolling. As for everyone else, get out the popcorn and get ready for a long show, because I would guess we've only seen the beginning of problems stemming from all this!
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Posted by Mo
a resident of another community
on Oct 31, 2009 at 10:58 pm
Mo is a registered user.
Robin, here's an excerpt from a post, previously removed, criticizing CI, and that has been circulating in the school district community the last few days, only to inject some levity and humor into all this. Readers can also find it on the San Jose Mercury News website forum.
Top Ten Key Strategies of Superintendent Letterman's latest CI Deployment Plan
10. Arrives at your school humming Love Train by the O'Jays. (Yes, the Landel's website video actually does have Love Train as the theme song. LOL Don't believe me, check it out for yourself.)
9. Asks you if you'd like an EFWA sticker on your bumper.
8. Gives you personal coaching on how to be a CI "quality employee" and get ahead.
7. Is always talking about his Big Rocks management theory.
6. Ask you to come over to help film a clip for the next "all-hands" meeting.
5. Asks you to come to his office and discuss SMART goals--Stretching, Measurable, Attainable, Rewarding, Timely.
4. Leaves you wondering why he keeps saying "you have to go fast to go slow."
3. Asks you to be on his staff.
2. Reassigns you to a choice position after you've blown your job.
1. Leaves your school on his moped with a smile.
Just goes to show you how the philanderer's credibility and corporate jargon are on the slide down. Doesn't exactly bode well for CI. I'd say the superintendent brought it all on himself.
I wonder what Doctor Phil would say. Maybe we could get these two on the program! Not that I'd ever admit that I watch such trashy TV.
Kinda' nuts that there's no policy on this type of thing. The Voice should do a FOIA for personnel policies. I recall there having been one on this type of issue couple years back--no doubt found it's way to the shredder. Totter seems to be spinning on this one. Someone throw her a line! This is getting too embarrassing. Personnel policy and HR in this district is really getting complicated. Anyone know this year's total for legal fees for all this mismanagement? Quite a culture we got over there at the DO.
BTW, isn't it funny how teachers and staff are always the last to get credit for any improvement in test scores, or school improvement, or when they do, it's with equal helping of credit given (ergo, taken) to/by the supe?
On a similar note, I reviewed Ghysels' articles on his padded MVWSD bio that Robin created a link to. FYI Dr. Ghysels, professional protocol says list your co-authors on the so-called publications you list. On his 3-page "article" in the quite august ACSA newsletter, he conveniently left off his co-author. Tisk, tisk, tisk. Another white lie. But wait a minute, does that ACSA newsletter even really count as a publication? And Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine? Down in LA? Don't tell me it's the online program. Quick, call up tech and let's find out how many times during the work day he's been logging on to that IP address instead of doing the job he was hired to do.
BTW, I hope MVWSD parents understand the "Mmmm. Mmmm, Mmmm" behind Continuous Improvement, otherwise termed "CI" It's historical predecessor is F. W. Taylor's concept of scientific management--quite a controversial subject. It more commonly falls today within corporate American management strategies such as Lean Six Sigma. I know this is off topic, but in light of all this, do we really want teachers and students to be manipulated in such a way? I agree with Robin, and get the feeling this entire CI thing is more about Ghysels setting up for his next big career gig than about truly caring about providing a quality education for students.
(Yawn, it's getting late)
The term professionalism and conflict of interest are getting pretty battered here. Wasn't Ghsyels hired when Gloria Higgins was on the board? And now Ghsyels and Mizell are, or were, in a professional or romantic relationship which is now back to being professional (yes, confusing, I know). And now Mizell hires Higgins to be a teacher. I'm sure they'll be quck to give her tenure as well with all the history and palm greasing among them. How hard would it have been for Higgins to apply to a neighboring school district to avoid the specter of preferential treatment? The Higgins-Ghysels-Mizell thing gives a whole new meaning to the term circle of friends. I'm noticing some disturbing trends and circumstances. Privileges and entitlements all around. Dr. titles bantered about in a community with one of the highest concentrations of MDs, PhDs, EDds, JDs (although I'm left wondering where Trustee Wheeler got her JD given her no fault finding regarding a conflict of interest.)
I think some one said if before; the public is not stupid.
Oh, and lastly, no Don, this is not a repeat post and I do not know Robin or Ray. I am a first time poster. I've posted a few times in the past under some different names on different topics but only because I can never remember the names I've used. I'm not even sure what neighborhood I live in. BTW registering is a real pain. Who's got the time or the interest. Too bad you don't make everyone do it, not just those commenting on Ghysels. It would have been nice if you had given Ms. Polifrone's detractors the same obstacles. And I'm not saying I supported her either. Don't get me wrong, I think I understand your intent and responsibilities as an editor, but not your separate and unequal treatment and the double-standard.
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Posted by Ray
a resident of Castro City
on Nov 3, 2009 at 7:14 pm
Ray is a registered user.
Wheeler: "We had a closed session with an attorney," adding that she can't give specifics on personnel matters discussed in closed session.
Translation: "Even though everyone knows by now that I'm a lawyer, let's just be thankful we have a high-priced lawyer advising us, because this could destroy this district. We'll just take the cost out of school supplies and raises for teachers and staff. 'Closed session' and 'can't give the specifics on personnel matters', saves us every time. Yes, it would have been nice to have saved the public from all the nitty gritty as well, but since the people in Mountain View aren't exactly the kind to ever show up to a school board meeting, or even run for school board, who really cares? Three of the five of us trustees either ran uncontested or were appointed. With that kind of community involvement, we can do and say, or not say, whatever we like. Did I tell you I'm a lawyer too?"
Wheeler: "Maurice told us that he was going to ask another supervisor in our district office to be the supervisor of Carmen."
Translation: "Listen folks, Dr. Ghysels is a god. If he hasn't told you himself, just read his resume and all about his numerous accomplishments. He's got all the answers, all the time. He's everywhere, all the time. He's a member or advisor to MVEF, CHAC, CSA, PAL, Leadership Mountain View--the list goes on--even the local Catholic Church! He's got a brilliant opinion and answer to everything. He sings. He plays the guitar. He bikes to Sacramento. He's a consultant. He's an adjunct professor somewhere. He can do one-handed kart wheels, stand on his head, and sign the national anthem backwards--in Spanish! He can even fly! He is continuously improving! Whatever he says goes."
Wheeler: Noted that the issue was unprecedented for her. "This is the first time it's come up."
Translation: "The safe answer is to pretend this is all just new. Of course, we are all afraid it is not, and that there are other victims of his dalliances still in the closet. Yikes, get back on the phone with that lawyer! And yes, I realize that there is a close parallel with the recent Letterman scandal, and yes I realize that the National Organization of Woman spoke out against Letterman, and would most likely have a few things to say about Ghysels, but hey, who cares what such woman's groups think anyway, particularly when it has to do with education. You'd think the profession was made up mostly of women or something. Geeez"
Wheeler: "From what Maurice has described to me, and what Carmen has described to me, and what I have observed, I think that they have behaved appropriately and done the right thing by informing us."
Translation: "Okay, I'll admit I could have done without all the description. And yes, I had to follow them around and observe them in action (to tell you the truth, I would have much preferred chaperoning a middle school dance). But hey, I hired this guy, I've paraded around with him, drunk the CI Kool-Aid, and tuned-out a lot of loyal, experienced, and hardworking teachers in the process. Beyond that, I don't want to slam any doors on maybe getting a guaranteed job in this district when I get off the board just like Gloria Higgins did, so there is no way I'm going lift the curtain on this guy and put an end to the gravy train. In terms or being either right or wrong, or him having done the 'right thing', it all depends on how Maurice spins it. In this instance, he's right, although I'll admit his wife doesn't necessarily agree. What does it mean to the do the 'right thing' anyway? Our only concern is giving kids an 'education for the world ahead'--EFWA for short if you didn't already know. Let's face it, no one does the 'right thing' anymore these days in this world anyway, so let's not start here. Get over it everybody!"
Wheeler: "We're doing what I think is our due diligence to ensure that they're behaving professionally on the job."
Translation: "Again, my job as trustee is to make sure these two frisky kittens behave. I'm not supposed to hold them accountable or ensure that the public trust is being protected. We have no way of controlling their behavior. But if they are caught misbehaving, they will be spanked and given a time out. I could give a hoot about what the public thinks should happen, or if a conflict of interest still exists."
Totter: "There is no written board policy."
Translation: "I haven't a clue about how to run human resources. I was a teacher and a principal before this job, so cut me some slack already. I make this up as I go. I've got the lawyers on speed-dial. I'll just say 'there is no written baard policy', or 'it's a personnel matter'. That shuts them up every time. It worked when I had to deal with that Polifrone teacher, so it'll work here as well (and what a PAIN that Polifrone issue was--all those parents with opinions and complaints distracting me from my CI goals)."
Totter: Said the district takes its cue on personnel matters from the California School Boards Association, which gives "any updates of any board policies that we're either mandated to have or recommended to have." But the association has provided no guidance on this issue.
Translation: "I couldn't possibly research this any further. I couldn't possibly consider the ethics and morality mixed up in all this. Hello? It's not like I ever really taught school and nutured such out-dated concepts. I don't read the paper or watch the news either. What am I supposed to do, stand up and say, excuse me I disagree with this arrangement? I take my cues from Maurice. He makes me do all the dirty work. When it comes to firing people for no reason at all, other than that he doesn't like them because they don't respond to his mojo, he makes sure I'm right there with him in the process to make it all appear legal and give them the party line that they're "just not the right match" for us. And as far as enforcing board or personnel polices, everyone knows a double-standard exists. If a teacher has an illness, don't believe them. They're all a bunch of liars. Cut them no slack. If you have an afternoon doctor's appointment after school is out, but before contract time is over, make them take a half-day. But if the superintendent's lover has got health issues, we will be there for her. She can go to her doctor's appointments in the morning or afternoon. We won't cut into her sick leave. Get to work at 9 or 10 and leave early. Look, it's really quite simple, administrators don't lie or manipulate things, only teachers do. Gosh at least give me some credit for knowing that!"
Ghysels: "We wanted to make sure that it was handled professionally, and that everyone was sure there was no conflict of interest."
Translation: "We got caught, we are circling the wagons, and conducting damage control. I've reminded my staff that this is a bad economy for them to be looking for a job, so they'd better stick with me or else."
Ghysels: "I changed the reporting structure from Carmen-to-me to Carmen-to-Mary Lairon."
Translation: "I can always count on the people I supervise to do what I tell them otherwise I'd fire them on the spot. Hee, hee, after all, I ultimately call all the shots in this district even if I did just state that the reporting structure has been changed. One thing I insist is that we cover each other's rumps."
Ghysels: "Because we have a personal relationship, it makes more sense that (Mizell) reports directly to Mary," Ghysels said. Now, "Mary evaluates her, Mary supervises her."
Translation: "I've got no problem dragging my staff into my problems and making it theirs. I'm not much of a man to go it alone. It's lonely at the top. Just as we do at beginning of the year during district-wide kick-off meetings, everyone raise your right hand and repeat after me in a chant, 'Mary evaluates Carmen, Mary supervises Carmen. I evaluate Mary, I supervise Mary.' It just doesn't get much better than that. The board, teachers, staff, and public are so lost, they'll never figure this one out."
Ghysels: Is "dedicated to maintaining a professional relationship with Carmen at work."
Translation: "I'll control myself at work, but the gloves come off after hours.
Ghysels: Said that [Mizell's] reassignment, which happened in the early fall of 2008, "wasn't done in isolation. That was a reorganizational move."
Translation: "Get over it folks. She gave me what I wanted, and then she told me what she wanted, and I gave her Landels. And now everyone wants to give me grief about it. Oh please, just spare me the lectures. I've got a divorce lawyer making my life hell if you didn't already know!"
Ghysels: "We played to the strengths of all three administrators. And I think the results speak for themselves. It was a totally agreed-upon move by all three. And it worked."
Translation: "Did I just say 'we'? That's it! I'll say "we" and imply this was all a conspiracy. As far as results, it's all due to the principals and moving them around. Teachers have nothing to do with it. Gosh, if I could just shut-up those teachers. They are such pains, especially the ones that, you know, don't 'respond' to me."
Ghysels: "That's why the reporting structure to Mary is important," he said. "And I'll have to be particularly diligent."
Translation: "I don't know what I'd do without Mary's complicity. I could give a hoot if I'm dragging or involving any of them in all this. I mean, we're talking about ME here! My butt's in a sling. Heck, I could get fired for this! What have I got to lose? I'll hold everyone's feet to the fire. If I go down, you're all coming with me! I just can't believe it was so easy to sway everyone over to my side."
Ghysels: "My professional life remains focused on MY GOALS for the students, for the staff, for the community. And my personal life will not affect my professional aims."
Translation: "Look, MY GOALS for everyone are what is important here, so don't go connecting the way I act with with I got planned for you all. I can't make any guarantees. I'm, well, you know, me. I've got an eye for the ladies. Prior to this I had my wife fully involved in MY GOALS for the community. Okay, I'll admit that one sort of back-fired on me, but hey, she's obviously got issues. I'd better make a clear distinction between my personal and professional life from now on." I'm a professional! I am a professional! So come on y'all, get on board the love train!"
Ghysels: "We have a personal life, and it's private."
Translation: "Look, me and one of my subordinates have been *#&$^#*@ (some call it being "romantically involved"). So I've got to say something. I'd have preferred to have kept it concealed--I mean private--but I needed my 2% raise, so I had to divulge it. Otherwise, if I was found out, I would have been in deep doo-doo. Yes, I know I keep saying it's my personal life and it's private. I basically want it both ways, so stop treating me like a middle-schooler."
Mizell: No comment on record.
Translation: But she certainly turned out to be a perfect role model and example to set for female Hispanics.