Tag Archives: Tennessee

The Day Former PGCPS Executive Cornered With Corruption Walked Away.

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Metro Schools director Dr. Shawn Joseph (Former PGCPS Executive) ordered his staff not to answer NewsChannel 5’s questions about his hiring practices, planning instead to attack the station’s reporting after a story aired.

That’s according to emails obtained under the Tennessee Public Records Act.

Joseph’s directive came after NewsChannel 5 Investigates questioned the hiring of two individuals with connections to the new schools director.

As previously reported, one of those hires, Kathleen Dawson, was named an executive lead principal to supervise other principals – even though she has never worked a full year as a lead principal in any school. Another hire, Tamika Tasby, was put in charge of professional development for teachers even though she has no classroom experience.

On November 10, in anticipation of that news report, NewsChannel 5 submitted specific questions to the district about the hiring of the two women.

According to the emails, the district’s senior communications director, Janel Lacy, forwarded that request to Joseph and other members of his leadership team.

“I believe it’s in our best interest to respond, since he’s likely to go forward with a story regardless,” Lacy wrote. “The story will be much worse without a response from us.”

Joseph’s chief of staff, Jana Carlisle, responded that same day: “Dr. J is disinclined to engage.”

The next day, Lacy again pushed Joseph’s team to respond to NewsChannel 5’s questions.

“I think at the very least we need to answer whether the positions were posted or not,” she emailed. “If they weren’t posted – and legally didn’t have to be posted – then let’s own that and the decisions to hire them…. Better to address it head on.”

Lacy prepared a draft statement in which Joseph would say he felt “confident that time will show we have the right people in the right places – and that we are moving at a rapid pace to give our students higher quality instruction in every school.”

Joseph responded: “No, I do not like it.”

“I don’t want us to respond,” he continued. “If he does a story, we will follow up with a very direct statement towards his conduct…period.”

JOSEPH: “I DON’T WANT US TO RESPOND” (p. 1)

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It’s not clear what Joseph intended, but the district ignored NewsChannel 5’s questions and never gave any explanation about why no statement was issued.

Since there was no response to our questions, NewsChannel 5 Investigates filed a public records request for the emails in an effort to determine Joseph’s thinking and understand his refusal to respond.

That attitude followed an earlier on-camera interview in which Joseph had become agitated about questions about his use of district employees as chauffeurs.

Ironically, in a separate exchange, emails show that Metro Council member Russ Pulley told the district’s lobbyist that “taxpayers should be more concerned about the money we are spending answering these open record requests from Phil Williams.”

That comment came after NewsChannel 5 Investigates raised questions about spending by the district under Joseph’s leadership.

Pulley shared his response to a constituent about Joseph’s spending. He told the constituent, “I agree the optics of this or [sic] not the greatest, but the reality is we can do a much better job of finding waste other than this.”

But, then, in an email to the district lobbyist, Pulley showed no concern over “the optics.”

“Please let Dr. Joseph know that he has my full and complete support,” Pulley wrote. “And I also have absolutely no problem with how he conducts his business.”

via NewsChannel 5

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Shawn Joseph was the Prince George’s district’s deputy superintendent of the teaching and learning division and oversaw numerous departments, including the early education department that oversaw the Head Start grant in which the federal government revoke a $6.4 million due to teachers mistreating students.

The notice of the revocation, sent to the PGCPS district on Aug. 12, 2016 found that teachers used corporal punishment on children, as well as humiliated them in the county’s Head Start program in the Maryland district, according to a Washington Post report.

Shawn Joseph was not listed in the report or in the notice of revocation. He officially began the Metro Schools job on July 1, 2016 in Nashville. However, emails shared later shown that, Mr. Shawn Joseph was made aware of the issues but failed to act.

The first incident of child neglect was first reported in December 2015, according to the report, and the revocation document says that a 3-year-old boy at a Prince George’s early learning school was forced to mop his urine in wet clothes.

The teacher sent a photo of the student mopping the urine to the parent, the report says. It adds that a family services worker likely discouraged the parent from filing a complaint, which was eventually filed in mid-January 2016.

The deficiencies in reporting the incident of neglect were shown to be corrected in April 2016 during a follow-up visit, according to the report. And Shawn Joseph said the investigation was handled by human resources personnel.

But further incidents occurred on June 10 2016 and June 15, 2016 according to the report, and led to the eventual revocation of the federal Head Start grant. It said efforts to ensure staff followed the standards of conduct training outlined by administrators weren’t effective.

Other issues were also found including during that time where a student left the school’s campus and walked home unnoticed by employees. Staff did not know the child’s whereabouts for more than an hour. Rather than address the issues, Prince George’s County public schools personnel together with others engaged in cover ups rather than address the issues properly.

Just like Tennessee Metro School District under Shawn Joseph,  Prince George’s County Public Schools is run in similar version in which appointments are made based on family or friends without proper regard to their qualifications to positions of authority.

Read more >>>BOE political cronyism-nepotism refresher

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A Look at How PGCPS Executives transferred Corruption to Tennessee.

One of the most frequently voiced objections to school choice is that the free market lacks the “accountability” that governs public education. Public schools are constantly monitored by district administrators, state officials, federal officials, school board members, and throngs of other people tasked with making sure that the schools follow all the rules and regulations governing them. That level of bureaucratic oversight does not exist in the free market, and critics fear choice-based education will be plagued by corruption, poor-quality schools, and failure. In case you are new to the game, back in July,  Prince George’s county Public Schools (PGCPS) Executives led by Dr. Shawn Joseph left the county for greener pastures in Tennessee. Specifically, Nashville got a new Director of Schools, and while there was a sigh of relief that he wasn’t of the reformer ilk, he’s raised plenty of other red flags since he started work there which amounts to transfer of corruption from PGCPS. This is so because, these are the same issues we complained about  long ago within the Prince George’s County  schools. Recently, This past week, even more started to pop up. According to blogger Dad Gone wild, you cannot simply bottle up the truth. >>>Read more here. 

Due to blogging posts in Nashville Tennessee, Phil Williams, an investigative local journalist with Channel 5 News, has begun asking many of the same questions that the bloggers had been asking in the last few months. In an attempt to preempt the potential damage, Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) released a series of communications. The first was under the guise of a“fact checking” sheet. Everybody loves a fact checker these days, but the problem is, this one didn’t counter any facts. Instead, it confirmed that the Chiefs were driving luxury vehicles and commanding much larger salaries than last year. Salaries that were not designated in the budget that was approved just a few months ago. Here’s another hint: justifications that involve how special you are as opposed to everybody else will usually fall on deaf ears.

According to the information received from Nashville School District, Each of the chiefs are also supplied an automobile. In this case, a Chevy Tahoe. A vehicle with a price tag similar to the salary of an MNPS teacher with 7 years of experience and a Master’s degree. District officials, when questioned, claimed that these vehicles were previously used by other administrators in the past. Which would beg the question of who was using them because the previous director drove a Ford Edge and his Number 2 used his own car except on rare occasion. It is also extremely fortuitous that we had 5 Tahoes already in the fleet given that the “Chief” positions are all new positions. Any keen observer will say this opens a lot of questions about their fleet management. It appears as though some of these Chiefs may have returned their Tahoes to the fleet. If true anyone can reading this can  ask, why did they wait until people raised a fuss?

Here is a chart of current salaries for the new Chiefs from PGCPS and Montgomery County  (the 4th Chief began her job after my FOIA request) and the Executive Officers, all of whom are making significantly more than their predecessors:

CHIEF – ACADEMIC OFFICER 7/1/16 185,000.00
CHIEF – FINANCIAL OFFICER 7/1/02 185,000.00
CHIEF – SCHOOLS 7/1/16 185,000.00
EXEC OFCR – SUPPORT SERVICES 8/26/92 159,120.00
EXEC DIR – TALENT STRATEGY 1/22/13 155,000.00
EXEC OFCR – CHARTER SCHOOLS 7/1/16 155,000.00
EXEC OFCR – EQUITY & DIVERSITY 7/1/16 155,000.00
EXEC OFCR – HS 7/21/04 155,000.00
EXEC OFCR – LEADERSHIP DEVELOP 6/1/10 155,000.00
EXEC OFCR – MS 8/9/99 155,000.00
EXEC OFCR – PRE-K & ES 7/15/13 155,000.00
EXEC OFCR – PRIORITY SCHOOLS 7/1/16 155,000.00

Each of the chiefs are also supplied an automobile. In this case, a Chevy Tahoe. (similar to the ones pictured below).  A vehicle with a price tag similar to the salary of an MNPS teacher with 7 years of experience and a Master’s degree. District officials, when questioned, claimed that these vehicles were previously used by other administrators in the past. Which would beg the question of who was using them because according to the records supplied by bloggers there, the previous director drove a Ford Edge and his Number 2 used his own car except on rare occasion. It is also extremely fortuitous that they had 5 Tahoes already in the fleet given that the “Chief” positions are all new positions. Any keen observer would say this opens a lot of questions about their fleet management. It appears as though some of these Chiefs may have returned their Tahoes to the fleet. If true they need  to ask, why did they wait until people raised a fuss?

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Here’s what the previous organizational chart looked like from September 2015:

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Here’s what a new one looks like from August 2016:

In looking at the two charts above, anyone can see there is not a lot of shrinkage happening. In fact the opposite of what the board in that District had been calling for seems to have happened. As any keen observer can see the news reporters in Nashville are not arguing for justification, and shrinking central office may have been the wrong directive, but where is the money coming from? And why is it necessary to pull people from outside of the district to fill those new positions? Did they not have nobody competent enough who was working previously in Nashville? Because that’s the impression being given. It seems like no one in Nashville is good enough, and that is ridiculous considering that there was some exceptional work taking place before Joseph was hired. Pre-K, the Academies, English Language instruction, budget presentation, all were winning national accolades that are now going unrecognized by the current administration in Nashville according to bloggers in that District.

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Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph – He was  Deputy Superintendent of Schools in PGCPS.

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Sito Narcisse, Ed.D was the Associate Superintendent for High School Performance in PGCPS before he left for Tennessee. He left in the middle of the night with Maritza Gonzalez to become the new chief of Schools in the Metro Nashville Public Schools after engaging in misconduct within PGCPS.

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Monique Felder, Ph.D was the Executive Director, Office of the Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning in PGCPS. She is now the Chief Academic Officer in the Metro Nashville Public Schools.

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Moreno E. Carrasco came from Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, where he worked in the Office for School Support. He is now the Executive Officer for Priority schools in the Metro Nashville Public Schools.

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Maritza González  is now married to Sito Narcisse – She previously worked in a key position of Officer for Diversity, Latino/a Affairs in PGCPS. After illicit affair,  She now serves in a similar role as an Executive Officer for Diversity and Equity in the Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Each of the chiefs are also supplied an automobile a Chevy Tahoe at the cost of $55,000 as shown above.

From PGCPS to Metro Nashville Public Schools.

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