After summarily deciding not to renew the contract of superintendent Dianna Vargo with no explanation, board President Shane Mallet cavalierly said they were going in a "new direction"--despite the fact there is no public record of the body ever having any discussion about this unknown "new direction".
When the public overwhelmingly objected to the non-renewal and to the bullying attitudes that went along with it, Mallet reluctantly agreed to get public input into what stakeholders wanted to see in a new superintendent and held a town hall meeting last night. A hastily called event on a Friday night (with a Wheeling Park basketball game at the same time to boot) still brought out a vocal crowd. And what they wanted was Vargo back.
Most of those speaking asked the board directly to rescind its 3-2 vote directing that Vargo's contract not be renewed when it expires June 30. Many, including WPHS Assistant Principal Ken Sexton, spoke directly to the board while addressing concerns. Sexton, hired just after the start of this school year, presented what he termed a lesson in "class" to the board.
"What is class?" he asked. "I would like to say Dianna Vargo is the picture of class. ... What class is not ... it is not something you can bully from somebody else, Mr. Mallett. And it's not something you can buy with oil and gas reserves, Mr. Kestner." (Intelligencer 1/30/16)
The Triad sat stoically, setting rules that allowed them to avoid responses or reactions, hearing speaker after speaker berate them for the way they have acted. While most were calling for Vargo's reinstatement, some just want the board to act like adults and explain what their real motives are.
"Whatever your positions is on Diana even if you just didn't like Diana just come out and say it,because at least you'd be truthful about it," Board Candidate Zach Abraham said. (WTRF.com)
Following the meeting, Mallet had the temerity to criticize the speakers: "It was just a disappointment that we didn't get any additional input and those individuals were strictly there to disrupt the meeting," Mallet said. "Not one of them thought about what qualification they wanted to see in the new superintendent".
You clearly weren't listening, sir. They told you repeatedly --the qualifications they want to see in a superintendent are those exemplified by Dianna Vargo. They took time on a cold Friday night to give you their insight. You didn't want to hear.
You, Mr. Mallet, told us you had a new direction to go in. A new direction you refuse to share with the people of Ohio County, the teachers, students, staff, and parents who are impacted by your action. A new direction that many feel points straight to a hand picked candidate you have intended to hire all along.
Next Thursday--less than a week after the public meeting and just slightly more than a week since the superintendent job was posted on the state website--applications close. I wonder how many qualified candidates beyond the Ohio Valley will even know it's an open post. How many good, energetic, exciting, forward thinking educators with ideas on new directions will not see the posting, not have time to prepare to apply----or who will run away from us once they see the type of shenanigans that go on with this board.
Heels firmly dug into the sand of whatever personal vendetta they are working out, the 3 quickly got up and left last night's gathering to a chorus of boos.
Shane Mallet, Gary Kestner, and Tim Birch--The Gang of Three--truly have no shame.
(posted photo from WTRF.com)