The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


April 4, 2014

Menacing at M-W

Four emails that circulated among Ann Murray, president of the Midd-West Education Association; school board President Victor Abate; and school board member Ronald Wilson, show heightened tension within the district:

From: Murray, Ann

Sent: Monday, March 31, 2014 8:41 AM

To: Abate, Victor; Sassaman, Shawn; Wilson, Ronald; Kroh, Nancy; Tittle, Jeremy; Wagner, Sherryl; Smith, Corey

Subject: Concerns

Dear MWSD Board of Directors,

As an employee of the MWSD for 24 years and the President of Midd-West Education Association for the past 8 years I am very concerned about the chaos that has been happening in the district for several months now.  In my 24 years in the district we have never experienced these issues.  I am very proud of our students, faculty, staff and administration.  We are all working very hard in spite of the chaos around us.  I think that this is something that we all need to keep in mind because eventually this will catch up to us.  Our students are making great strides and progress and we need to keep that going.  I heard Mr. Sassaman say at the last board that we are losing some very good teachers and they will be difficult to replace.  I agree.  Think about a new teacher coming out of school right now.  Why would they want to apply to Midd-West?  I have serious concerns about that.

I have a few points to make.  The first is that we need to make decisions and stick to them.  The board is giving so many mixed messages to the staff and students.  Please let administration do their jobs.  Trust that they can do their jobs and make good decisions.  They have many years of education and experience.  You need to believe in them and support them.

My second point is the issue with the charges against Dr. Knapp.  I have no idea if they are true and that’s not for me to decide, but I do know this, as President of MWEA I have responsibilities.  One of those responsibilities is to keep confidential information confidential.  When we have written information that is not for public knowledge it is numbered, collected and then shredded after being read.  If information is leaked you would know exactly who is responsible.  If that was done Mr. Abate would not need to ask how The Daily Item got that information.  Remember that confidential information is your responsibility and should not be leaked to anyone, including teachers or the press.  I hope that you would consider using the number practice in the future.

One of the points that Mrs. Snook made on Friday when speaking with the faculty was about working together.  That’s the message that we need to hear.  And now we are changing again? The faculty was ready to move on.  Many were relieved and glad decisions were made. We have been so concerned about Reader’s Workshop, has anyone asked how things are going at the high school or middle school?  The answer to that is no.  Those buildings have gone through many changes and have accepted them and have been successful.  What is the difference now?  The message needs to be that we are working together for what is the best for our students.  All of this negative publicity and fighting is catching up with us.  Please help to stop that.

Thank you for listening.  If any of you would like to speak to me about any of these issues please feel free to call me.

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