Jacksonville.com

School Board fires superintendent

The Duval County School Board has scheduled a special Tuesday meeting to discuss Superintendent Joseph Wise's contract, which extends through Oct. 31, 2009. Four of seven votes are needed to terminate his employment. Wise has been superintendent since November 2005.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Board Makes Motion to Fire Wise

To begin the meeting, Chairwoman Vicki Drake read a prepared statement outlining her own personal concerns about Superintendent Joseph Wise's conduct and these concerns are the reason today's meeting was called. She then said it would be appropriate at this time for a board member to make a motion to terminate Wise "for cause."

That motion was made by board member Tommy Hazouri and seconded by Vice Chairwoman Betty Burney. Both Drake and Hazouri read from prepared statements. I am working on getting my hands on them, and they will be published when I do.

Now that a motion was on the floor, the public was given a chance to comment. The first person allowed to speak was Wise's legal representation, but Wise said he had none present.

Next up was long time educator, school cluster chief and former principal Jim Williams. His speech was empassioned in defense of Wise, almost to the point of yelling into the microphone. His voice cracked as he told the board they were making the wrong decision.

"You are making a very bad mistake if you intend to go in the direction that I think you're going," Williams said. "I think this district is in the process of making positive changes to educate our young people ... Is this action because of a perception of disrespect or are there legitimate issues?"

Williams then turned his attention to Wise, telling him "never, never, never, never give up."

Public comment will probably take a while. After that, the board will vote on the motion to fire Wise. If that motion carries, the meeting will be recessed, likely until tomorrow, while the board, Wise and the General Counsel's office work on his termination agreement.

In the meantime, Wise and Chief of Staff David Sundstrom will be put on administrative leave, according to the motion Hazouri made. That is to keep them from making any decisions in the interim. Ed Pratt-Dannals, the system's deputy superintendent, will be in charge.

137 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow! They're not wasting any time, are they?

Anonymous said...

Ed Pratt-Danals as the interim? Let's hope he can divorce himself of the tainted ideas and paranoia that have surrounded Wise. He's been pretty in Wise's pocket...

Keep us posted! Great reporting.

Anonymous said...

I hope our city/Board stands firm on the firing "with cause." It will be the final twist of sick irony if Wise gets a big severence...to go with his bonus for nonperformance. Previous reports have indicated that his severence could be as high as $600K without cause, and as low as $70K with cause? Any truth to those numbers?

Anonymous said...

I suppose the school board hired someone they thought would be a puppet. But when Dr. Wise started shaking up their little self-serving apple cart by holding members accountable for their actions,it got uncomfortable. I want to know why the allegations (other than residency) against Ms. Jackson are being ignored, especially her calling him a racist when he vetoed her illegal and unethical requests? If she did indeed call him a racist, what was her basis for her alleged slanderous action? Simply because he told her "no"? And why does the NAACP feel entitled to tell Dr. Wise how to do his job? I would think they would have their hands full with their own problems found in the culture within the black community that have contributed to the problems found within the school system. I still have yet to hear the exact charges against Dr. Wise. What has he done that is so derogatory to the school system??

Anonymous said...

numbers are accurate. expect $500+++. The agreement, amazingly, doesn't address termination without cause and from what has been reported, no cause exists under his agreement. great drafting job..........

Anonymous said...

No, I do not think that Wise presented himself in anyway as one who would be the School Board's puppet, and if so, shame on him for pretending to be something he is not. The blatant disrespect for everyone else's viewpoint--parents, teachers, administrators, school board members--is widely known and discussed. This is shockingly poor leadership. It is not only the school board's right, it is their RESPONSIBILITY, to review any changes in policy and to approve such changes prior to implementation. That is NOT micromanagement. The Superintendent should make his first stop in selling a new vision the Board Member's and be willing to hear their concerns and even consider some alterations based on their wise counsel. That is how you build consensus. They, as a team, supporting the vision, then go out and sell the parents, students, administration, principals, etc...and we all get behind it. Wise's methods of shutting everyone out, running a dictatorship and staffing up tons of new administrative positions while continuing to experience failure of his goals is certainly the perview of the Board.
As far as the charges against Ms. Jackson...most of them appear to be he-said, she-said and regardless, are NOT the perview of the hired staff of our District. For him to stoop to these levels makes my stomach churn.

Anonymous said...

This certainly isn't surprising. Our board needs adult supervision especially if Danials is going to lead. Our board has no experience in education except for one person and it shows. The community needs to take a stand and insist on a change in how our board operates. Getting rid of another sup won't fix this.

Dean

Anonymous said...

If, indeed, there is no "with cause" clause in the contract, shame on us! It's time we begin to look out for our city/children's best interest on this and so many other city/district contracts!!!

Anonymous said...

It sounds like Dr. Wise reinstated the deputy position for Dr. Pratt-Daniels anticipating his firing. And yes, the NAACP has been calling for greater attention to be given to the have nots of our public school system. Dr. Wise had good intentions desiring to move our students toward college. However, there are many students that need training for immediate employement. Mrs. Priestly-Jackson tried very hard to get Dr. Wise to see this dilimna. Therein the rift began.

Anonymous said...

Race ??!!
I would like to speak to the person that brought up the racial issue of blacks in the school system. Take your 1956 attitude and contribute to the development of all children. Dr. Wise has made his bed, let him sleep in it. Before you make slanderous comments about a culture you know nothing about, you should first do some research. For an example, Kirby Smith Middle School, 70 % African American, what school grade did they get this past year? An A. Don’t make this a racial issue. Jacksonville is a progressive community, don’t make us look bad!!!

Anonymous said...

Can we please change our email address back to educationcentral.org?

Anonymous said...

What does this mean as far as the paperwork for the teachers is concerned? More OR Less. Lets focus on what is really at hand, and folks it isn't race or who said what its about the children of our future. And now we as parents and teacher must explain to them what is going on-- and why people say the things they do!!!

Anonymous said...

1956 attitude? Do some research? To say the example of Kirby Smith Middle School is an exeption to the rule is an understatement. We're not talking about one "A" school here are we? Why would that reader presume someone else would know nothing of black culture? The entire city constantly sees the fruit of black culture issues plastered 24/7 across the newspapers and blared from the news channels. Let's see... anyone trying to educate themself is "trying to be white". The flood of fatherless families. Grandparents trying to raise children. Music that preaches everything destructive to youth, responsibility, non-violence, and the family unit. I guess none of these are issues within the black community? And it's not only a black issue, but is found predominately in most black communities. I only brought it up because the NAACP and Mr. Rumlin decided once again to point their fingers everywhere but where the real problems lie and try to tell others their job. I'm not making the school board firing a racial issue. All I'm saying is that if Priestly Jackson really did call Dr. Wise a racist simply for turning down her requests, then there is a huge problem there that will poison the school board as long as she remains a member. If the NAACP thinks it can solve children's problems within the schools by cutting off the head of the school board instead of looking at root, core problems within the failing school's communities, then they will never amount to anything other than a distraction. And to a previous post, if you really want to focus on what is at hand then let's figure out why we have a school board that also wants to blame the failure of the schools within their system on everyone else but themselves. You're wrong, it's not about the children of the future. It's about the children sitting in class today as well as those who come after them. All the school board did today was to reinforce their status quo of failure and ensure they kept their self-serving little cirle of power intact.

Anonymous said...

Im so sorry you feel that way... especially when your referring to a Teacher who is in the classroom everyday and sees what is beneficial and what is not. its people with comments singling others out because of an opinion on nothing but bias.


Jacksonville Thanks for the great reporting- This is Great!!!

Anonymous said...

And where's my stipend!?!

Anonymous said...

For the person that spoke these words

“The entire city constantly sees the fruit of black culture issues plastered 24/7 across the newspapers and blared from the news channels. Let's see... anyone trying to educate themself is "trying to be white". The flood of fatherless families. Grandparents trying to raise children. Music that preaches everything destructive to youth, responsibility, non-violence, and the family unit. I guess none of these are issues within the black community?”

You are a little naive to what’s really going on in the world. You speak about the fruit of the black culture. The media and people in power allow these selected images to make the news. I read the entire paper everyday and can come up with countless examples of how each culture in our community is having issues. You speak about “the flood of fatherless families” let me ask you a simple question, what is the national divorce rate? It’s above 60% and the population breakdown? Come on, open your eyes! How many families are without fathers? This attitude that you are exhibiting is an example of the opinions in our community. I can now understand why there are some many people driving around with confederate flags on their bumpers/license plates. Look at the amount of sexual predators in our community; have you ever done the research on the numbers? You should! Keep the focus on educating our children. Dr. Wise has some issues, just read the comments from the people in his previous district. I am glad you spoke about the NAACP. It’s a shame, we live in the 21century and still need a force like this. Your opinions are an example of why the community still need them.

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