Trails in the Sand by Peter Traciet, the Street Detective
Dragging the floors of the Kathleen C. Wright building has been Peter’s priority this week. The Detective thought it was important to dig into the dirt and do some fact finding after two Board members, Debra Hixon and Sara Leonardi, claimed that 90 percent of the people they talked to have said they believe Cartwright is doing a great job and should keep her job?
Unlike these two lagging ladies, Ol’ Pete was intent on tipping his hat and not his hand when it came to revealing his personal thoughts about Cartwright’s future in Broward. When you hold the highest position in the organization, people tend to tell you what you’re want to hear, dirty lies instead of the unfiltered, unadulterated truth.
To Ol’ Pete’s surprise, it didn’t take much for people to start sputtering sand from their mouths and when mixed with saliva, the mudslinging was revealing. Not sure where these two Board members got 90 percent from. The dirt that Traceit uncovered is that Cartwright isn’t worth ten cents as a Super. Might these two Board members have misheard what was actually being said?
Words like arrogant, self-absorbed and narcissist were splattered on Cartwright’s name. One
employee talked about an article that outlined a checklist of narcissistic behaviors and every box was checked when comparing these behaviors to observed conduct from Cartwright. Another employee described Cartwright as having an unhealthy desire for everyone to swear a loyal allegiance to her, however, without any reciprocity. The Super was described as extremely unnerved and becoming unhinged when Executive level members talk to each other or develop working relationships outside of her involvement. When Peter dug for answers as to why Cartwright would not want her team to talk to each other, they whispered that she needs to hold tight reigns over everyone to control the narrative of the lies she tells different people about the same topics.
Ol’ Pete went deep into the soil for an explanation when an employee characterized Cartwright as a “self-loathing narcissist” who has an inflated sense of importance but also hates herself. It seemed like a confusing oxymoron until it was explained in greater detail… only a person who hates her/himself could gut an entire organization for her personal pleasure but at the detriment of children.
The Street Detective dug into the statement about wanting to return to an A district. The Detective was surprised to learn that Broward hasn’t been an A district in more than ten years, not since Dr. Earlean Smiley was Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction (yes, that was a shameless dig in the face of Board members who voted to keep over naming Smiley as interim superintendent). Traceit is told that the Office of Academics (formerly Curriculum and Instruction) is important to the work of digging up and reclaiming the A rating, but equally important is the Office of Professional Learning, led by Michael Walker, who Traceit dug up through other reporting was appointed Executive Director of this department. Walker didn’t apply for the job nor interview for it. And Traceit has learned that he publicly says he doesn’t know what he is doing.
What Traceit has uncovered from the earth is the work done in Walker’s department is the very foundation of work necessary for student success. Teacher Coaching and Induction led by Director; Angela Brown prepares new teachers to successfully enter the classroom. Teacher Professional Learning and Growth helps to sharpen the saw of teachers on course standards and best, research-based teaching practices to help students. Professional Development Standards and Support co-ordinates all professional lear-ning throughout the district for every employee. Leadership Development, led by Christine Semisch, prepares aspiring assistant principals, principals, and district leaders to become leaders in schools and district offices. Walker is the Executive Director who leads the directors of these four departments. The work in these four departments is the underpinning and foundation for teacher and administrator development that leads to student success Yet, Traceit is told Walker says he doesn’t know how he got the job or how to do the job.
Can anyone dig up even a website for the Office of Professional Learning. Each of the four departments under Walker has their own websites; however, walker’s office in professional learning doesn’t seem to have one. Is the man so incompetent that he doesn’t even know that his office of professional learning needs a website that links the other four departments to his office? Ol Peter was thinking that maybe he does know, but he does not want to be found and held accountable.
Cartwright hired him. She hired him as executive director despite knowing he was ill-equipped to handle the job. The Detective is told that this behavior is just another example of many that demonstrates her narcissistic tendencies that are just bad for students and will never result in an A rating for the school district.
As Ol’ Peter glided through the sand tunnels, he could only conclude that there’s other dirty elements at play here in the sand.
90 percent of folk Ol’ Peter spoke to says Cartwright has to go. Hixon and Leonardi say otherwise. Traceit needs to trace the dirty receipts. But in the meantime, the Detective will continue dragging the sands in search for more clues.