• An Open Letter To The Greenwich Board Of Education

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    By Greenwich Voices for Accountability and Transparency

    Dear Board of Education Members,
    We are writing today to ask that you not renew the contract for Superintendent Dr. Toni Jones. We are Greenwich Voices For Accountability and Transparency, an alliance of taxpayers, concerned residents, grandparents, parents, families, business owners and everyone with a vested interest in our communities in Greenwich who want to preserve and protect our Town through proper governance and engagement. We represent many parents within our organization with children attending schools across the district. We stand united in our resolve to see a change in the school district leadership position of Superintendent.

    The Superintendent of Schools in Greenwich is the educational leader responsible for overseeing the school district and ensuring high-quality education for all students. This individual holds a crucial role in the community, working closely with administrators, teachers, parents, and students to ensure that the district's goals and objectives are met. One of the key responsibilities of the Superintendent is to advocate for the needs of students and ensure that they receive a high-quality education. In order to be successful in this role, the Superintendent must possess strong leadership and communication skills, as well as a deep understanding of educational issues.

    Her tenure and performance as Superintendent has been very concerning and abysmal to say the least and it appears this will continue if she remains in this position. 

    We would like the opportunity to address our concerns:

    Western Middle School:

    As you may be aware, on Wednesday, March 20, 2024, in the early morning, a lockdown was initiated at Western Middle School. Reports state that a 19-year-old male, a former student at WMS, gained entry to the school through the front door while students were being dropped off and proceeding to their destinations within the school. The subject, after entering the doors unchallenged, made his way to the 7th grade bathroom and remained there until he was discovered. It is our understanding that until recently, Dr. Wax, who resigned prior to the incident, greeted students at the door every morning, presumably to ensure the safety of the entering students. However, since his resignation, no staff member had been at the door since his departure. It is our understanding that the Assistant Principal and several staff members are at the door now. This is extremely concerning because a) he was able to gain entry unchallenged, b) continued to be unchallenged as he made his way through the school, c) he was not discovered for over half hour or so and d) he could have been armed. This is unacceptable.  This is not the first occurrence at WMS. On February 24, 2024, WMS initiated a brief shelter in place protocol when a visitor forgot to sign at the front desk upon being granted access into the facility. Again, once entry is gained and unless the person walks over to the office voluntarily to sign in, there is nothing to stop them from proceeding to other areas of the school. There has been a complete lack of transparency when parents were asking details. Dr. Jones has yet to be forthcoming with information. 

    Cos Cob Elementary School:

    In 2022, a video went viral online of Project Veritas, working undercover, recording then Cos Cob Elementary School Assistant Principal Jeremy Boland, remarking about his hiring practices showing discrimination against Catholics, Conservatives and individuals over the age of thirty for teaching positions. Many parents and residents were outraged. Dr. Jones and her Deputy Superintendent Ann Carabillo were never held accountable. 

    Hiring Practices:

    Jones has appointed five new elementary and middle school principals and assistant principals over an 18 month period including Julian Curtis, Cos Cob, Hamilton Avenue, New Lebanon Elementary schools and Eastern and Western Middle Schools (twice at CMS). Why such a high turnover? Why is the district having such a difficult time maintaining administrative leadership positions? We have done our due diligence with regards to these new hires. Dr. Jones appears to be "checking the boxes." These new hires carry with them baggage from their previous employment, many from failing schools. An example of a  most recent hire is Eduardo Calderon as Principal of Julian Curtiss Elementary School. It appears Mr. Calderon has a less than stellar qualification to be appointed to the position. It turns out Mr. Calderón was disciplined for ethics violations by his former employer, the Cornerstone Academy for Social Action Middle School in the Bronx, NY, a position he's held since 2020.  The previous year, Superintendent Jones appointed Dr. Daniel Russo as Principal of the New Lebanon Elementary School in Greenwich according to a May 10, 2023, announcement. What Dr. Jones did not mention was, they were live- in partners and had a shared financial status. In addition, Russo was a direct supervisor of Calderon. The red flags were there. She chose not to see them and opt for diversity hiring instead. With every district vacancy, candidate qualifications take a back seat to diversity and equity hiring. 

    Multitude of controversies surrounding Dr. Jones:

    • Soil remediation issues at Western Middle School.
    • The ballooning cost of building the new Central Middle School.
    • Declining academics and below average reading/writing levels. We outspend many other school districts at over $30,000.00 per pupil. GPS continues to be a significant taxpayer cost within the Town budget.
    • Old Greenwich Elementary School Project.
    • Overall safety and security of all school facilities.
    • CRT continues to pop up in our schools.
    • DEI committee on PTAC (Dr. Jones has repeatedly stated that Greenwich Public Schools does not follow or employ a woke agenda. However, the Greenwich PTA Council, which has its own dedicated page on the GPS website clearly promotes this agenda (and by extension GPS and Dr. Jones support this position). PTAC is pushing to turn our schools into indoctrination centers for their woke ideology. This is completely unacceptable and no parent, student or resident should accept this as the norm. It's unfair to our children who are forced to embrace these ideologies and carry it with them through life. No parent enrolled their children or signed up to have our taxes support these ideologies.  So we ask: Why are our children being influenced with DEI pushed by PTAC? Why Is Dr. Jones ok with this? What educational value does it offer? Why can't GPS keep the woke ideology out of the classrooms? Why is GPS and PTAs making it difficult for students to be students?
    • PTAC: "Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DEI) works with the district to raise awareness of the need for diversity, equity and inclusion in policies and regulations."
    • Gender ideology curriculums being taught, even when parents opt their children out.
    • Other unapproved Curriculum being disseminated. 
    • Dr. Jones' unwarranted removal of a veteran school bus driver.
    • Giving CSG $14,999.00 to keep it under the bid threshold.
    • Mismanagement of CMD ed-specs.
    • Mishandling of Covid (Extended mask wearing for students, following the Weingarten standards of Covid overreach).
    • Violent incidents both on and off campus involving GHS students.
    • Pursuing woke and DEI agenda instead of true academic, artistic and athletic opportunities.
    • Reputation risk for the position of Superintendent, GPS, Board of Education and the Town as a whole.
    • The standards for the position are not being met.

    Clearly, this is a Superintendent gone rogue. 

    The Town of Greenwich and the Board of Education can do better than our current Superintendent. Parents, children and taxpayers expect nothing less than to have the best academics, teachers and leadership, especially with the high salary Dr. Jones has under the current contract. The board of Education has plenty of time to search for a reputable search firm to find the right match for the position.
    The Board of Education should endeavor to be a role model for high achievement and academics for other school districts. We need to return to the core responsibility of learning and teaching the fundamentals of superior academics. 

    We are not getting this with Dr. Jones. 

    Let's get back on track!

    Respectfully,
    The Parents, Residents and Taxpayers of GVAT.

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