Hostile Work Environment

 

Competition Metaphor

What is a hostile work environment?

A hostile work environment exists when an employee experiences workplace harassment and fears going to work because of the offensive, intimidating, or oppressive atmosphere generated by the harasser.

Lets now take that very basic definition, and apply it to the atmosphere in School District 81, and the anger and miss treatment directed towards Dr. Kimberly Boryszewski the Superintendent of the district by either Roy F McCampbell, Patricia Godizewski, or David C Stachura, but before I continue with the negative I want to share a recent letter regarding the nomination of Dr. Boryszewski for the Superintendent of Distinction award.

To: Mike Chamness, IASA Director of Communication

From: Dr. Mark Kuzniewski, IASA West Cook President

RE: Nomination of Dr. Kimberley Boryszewski for Superintendent of

Distinction

It is IASA West Cook Division’s honor to nominate Dr. Kimberly Boryszewski,

Superintendent Schiller Park 81, for this year’s Superintendents of Distinction

award. Her capabilities were recognized early on in her career as she rose

through the ranks of District 81 to become Superintendent. The significant and

remarkable accomplishments of Dr. Boryszewski’s district only provide a small

glimmer of the rationale to select her as this year’s recipient. In a time when

superintendents are challenged the most, Dr. Boryszewski has modeled for all of

her West Cook colleagues a demeanor, attitude, and level of perseverance that is

second to none. In particular, she has managed to maintain her Board of

Education’s focus on student achievement by nurturing positive relationships

among diverse stakeholders. Kim makes the difficult situations we all face

seem routine and the impossible, a reality. Dr. Boryszewski possesses and

demonstrates all the qualities associated with a Superintendent of Distinction.

http://www.sd81.org/about/documents/IASAWestCooknomination.pdf

The Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA) West Cook Division has nominated Schiller Park School District 81 Superintendent, Dr. Kimberly Boryszewski for this year’s Superintendent of Distinction award.  The West Cook membership consists of over fifty superintendents in neighboring Cook County school districts.

Dr. Mark Kuzniewski, IASA West Cook President wrote in the nomination: “In a time when superintendents are challenged the most, Dr. Boryszewski has modeled for all of her West Cook colleagues a demeanor, attitude, and level of perseverance that is second to none.”

Dr. Boryszewski is currently serving in her fourth year as Superintendent, with a career in District 81 that began as a teacher 26 years ago.  Boryszewski credits the collaboration with her learning community for the accomplishments of SD81: We are a collaborative learning community, and I am blessed to work alongside talented and dedicated professionals who consistently keep students at the forefront of decision making. The phenomenal energy in our District is always focused on student achievement and what is best for our children. This nomination is a reflection of our work together.”

Some of School District 81’s recent accomplishments under Boryszewski’s leadership include:

·  Closing the achievement gap between English language learners and their peers.

·  Creating a continuum of services for special education across the district.

  • ·  Providing a learning environment that is rich in technology integration across all grade levels.

· Developing district-wide ELL and Common Core standards committees to ensure a common

experience for students, and progressive momentum as a cohesive unit.

·  Implementing processes that maximize resources and ensure the efficient and effective

organization of the district.

  • ·  Collaborating with families and community members through partnerships, outreach,  
  •    communication programs, and a commitment to participating in activities and events. 
  • ·  Maintaining the Board of Education’s focus on student achievement by nurturing positive  
  •    relationships among diverse stakeholders.

Kuzniewski also honored Boryszewski by writing “Kim makes the difficult situations we all face seem routine and the impossible, a reality.  Dr. Boryszewski possesses and demonstrates all the qualities associated with a Superintendent of Distinction.”

This endorsement by Boryszewski’s West Cook peers serves as a nomination for the Illinois Superintendent of the Year Award.  She and other candidates will be invited to dinner at the Governor’s mansion next year.

Original article posted here

Now on to the negative, and the hostile

 

I am going to share a few emails recently sent to the Superintendant from the School Board Vice President. Original documents found here –> FOIA_JTompson_Response_10.3.14 Please keep in mind the following emails, and letter are just a small piece of the endless bombardment of your children’s Superintendent by the School Board President, and Vice President. Often on behalf of Mr. Roy F McCampbell I am sure (my opinion). If you do not believe me Submit a few F.O.I.A. requests yourself, and do your own research. You can start with almost any email directed at Dr. Kimberly Boryszewski from Patricia Godizewski. The School Board Vice President goes out of her way to make the day to day tasks of the Superintendent very difficult, and often asks for the same information more then once, with continued explanations of the same information. Look at all the accomplishments Dr Boryszewski managed even under this hostile work environment, and then consider what she could get done if allowed to do her job, and not being harassed by the people who are supposed to be supporting her efforts. Ask yourself how could the first half of this post be about the same person as the second half that follows this paragraph? I will answer that for you, it is the same person but the second half is the continued harassment with miss-information that has only continued after the leader of the movement was silenced. Roy F McCampbell has been limited in his contact, but continues through his proxies.

The first email I am sharing is a simple enough question.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 2.05.50 PM

The response that follows was a bit confusing to me, and seemed to be an accusation by the School Board Vice President. If not an accusation then a sign of lack of faith in your superintendent. Even when her ability to do the job has been proven time and time again.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 2.06.09 PM

The response that we all expected. I am confident that any connections would have been freely disclosed prior to any interview.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 2.06.20 PM

Last but not least, Patricia Godizewski’s reason for asking the question.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 2.06.33 PM

Was she really trying to stop any rumors before they were started? or perhaps she was trying to dig more for something that doesn’t exist. I am speaking of the corruption her and her School Board President said was so prevalent when they ran for office, but was never found. Or maybe she was just trying to be “Hostile” as she has been in the past. The letter to the School Board Lawyer comes to mind when I am thinking of Patricia Godizewski’ hostility towards the school’s administration. 1347659_1_Redacted-c <– Admittedly her own words, co-authored by David Stachura.

Nov. 4, 2014

Dear Darcy—

The purpose of this letter is to gain a better understanding of the actions you are apparently advising the Board to approve. Both Dave and I have discussed the situation and do not agree with your viewpoint or your recommendation.

The McCampbells are long-standing taxpaying members of the community. They are parents of children who are educated through the D81 system and are apparently in large part very satisfied with the level of care and schooling both of their children receive. The parents are actively engaged in and publicly supportive of the rich experiences provided their children as well as the school parent community at large (ABC Parent Group, Band, Chorus, field trips, etc.) hey have publicly praised the District teachers and programs offered through the school under the leadership of Dr. Boryszewski and her Administrative team.

In short, by their actions they represent what all school districts hope for in terms of parent engagement.   Where is the huge and overwhelming problem that you think rises to the level of banning these parents from district events and properties and limits their contact with their children’s teachers—which represents the most serious act of isolation a school district can impose on any individual?

As it would seem, although the family is 95% satisfied, there have arisen several ssues within the past 7 years to which they take exception. Since our time on the Board, we have read complaints and have been forwarded posts from social media that describe their perception of poor decisions and actions of various school personnel or their agents. Some have been addressed by other oversight entities including ISBE and other professional licensing agencies. Others have been “investigated” under the guidance of the Uniform Grievance policy.

What has been the impact of these complaints? In some cases, nothing. In others, there have been adjustments to processes (please refer to the decision by the FOIA officer who released 700+pages  of documents pertaining to the McCampbell family to a community member inappropriately). The changes that were prompted by the issues raised by Mr. McCampbell have served to protect other families from similar sub-standard practices.  In our view, Mr. McCampbell provided a service to the District by directly causing these practices to be scrutinized for their integrity. If all was well, they dropped the matter. If not, then they were supportive of the changes.

Were there any repercussions to members of the Administrative team or employees under their supervision?  NO. No one suffered professionally. There are —as far as we know—no letters in anyone’s file, no one lost their job, and all licenses remain intact. No one suffered personally either unless they hold that being ‘outed’ by Mr. McCampbell for a poor decision or action caused them psychological harm.

Have there been any threats from the family toward anyone? NO. To the contrary, Mr. McCampbell and his wife Mary Jane continue to be law-abiding community members who simply want the best educational experiences for their children. They have, however, been the targets of bullying from Board members and community members at meetings, in public and in their neighborhood.

Has anyone provided evidence or even raised the idea that Mr. McCampbell lied about anything he wrote either publicly or through emails/letters to the District? NO. The discomfort that has apparently resulted on the part of the Superintendent is based on….who knows?and Perhaps she doesn’t like to feel that she didn’t handle certain situations as well as someone with more professional experience might have; perhaps she’s paving the way for another buyout suggestion; perhaps she holds a long-standing personal animosity toward members of the McCampbell family; perhaps she’s subject to paranoia and responds defensively at any perceived attack….It’s certainly beyond the scope of anyone’s—including your — professional expertise to ascertain why the Superintendent is feeling “bullied” or “unsafe.”

This brings us to the matter at hand: your email dated October 31, 2014 and attached letter.

So here’s the way this situation seems to have evolved—

Your firm was hired several weeks ago to represent the District. You were responsive (em dated 10/22/14) to Mr. McCampbell’s request to clear the air with the Superintendent and move forward on a positive path of cooperation and communication. Your email dated 10/28/14 outlines the events of that meeting with Mr. McCampbell and you. You provided a mechanism in this email for managing any future concerns that would buffer the interaction between Mr. McCampbell from the Superintendent. Everything in the email (again, dated 10/28/14 7:42 PM) sounded like a true understanding had been reached and agreed to by all concerned. You characterized the meeting as “positive” and indicated that you would be sending a summary email to the McCampbells highlighting the agreements.

As we read this communication from you, I agreed with Dave that it was a good decision to hire your firm …we were finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel and the situation was moving from negative to positive with your help. However, with this dramatic turn of events we are concerned about the emotional toll this will take on the children as well as the predictable billable hours for your firm….All for what?

This whole situation took a big turn for the worse the following day (10/29/14). At some point, Mr. McCampbell alleges that certain community members called his wife resulting in details of the meeting being related to her that could only have been provided by someone in the room at the time. He characterized this situation as a ‘betrayal of trust’ and seems to believe that you (Darcy) will ‘look into the matter.’  He also provided you with a copy of request for mediation through ISBE in deference to his perception of the time commitments you have with other clients in an effort to avoid a time delay in resolving this breach of trust. So far, he has said or written nothing that could be construed as harassing in nature—he simply objects to the attack his wife endured when he hadn’t even received your promised summary so he could review the information with her.

We find it extremely significant that Mr. McCampbell (who through inference in his tone and language) addressed a few additional emails to you—not the Superintendent and not the Board—with a clear plea for support and direction on what to do next. He was abiding by one of the terms of the agreement in that you were one of the contact people he could trust to manage his concerns. You promptly forwarded these emails to the Superintendent who then forwarded them to the Board. Why did you do that?  You established a rapport with Mr. McCampbell, and up to this very moment it would appear that he’s still trusting you to follow through on the promise to look into matters to determine where and how the breach of confidentiality occurred. Instead, you have developed a document and course of action that serves only one person, and that person has her own counsel to advise her.

Mr. McCampbell has been very clear that the focus of his concerns is the well-being of his family, not anything else. However, it appears to be his belief that the cause of his frustration and his family’s anxiety stems from the top. He trusted you to look into the matter of his concerns, and instead you have escalated this to result in his and his wife’s immediate banishment from the District.  Who do you work for? The Board majority? The Superintendent? By whose authority did you prepare the “No Trespass and Communication Directive?” By whose authority is the Special Meeting being called? The President didn’t call for it, and you have provided no email that suggests this was the idea of the required 3 Board members.

Your letter to the Board dated Friday, Oct. 31, 2014 at 4:02 pm is full of assumptions and innuendo.   We believe you may have the wrong person when you accuse Mr. McCampbell of bullying and harassment. That doesn’t seem to be his style—his blogposts bear his name and his ideas, which is not the case with the ‘tool’ calling him/herself “Jim Tompson.” Those in the community who continue to attack the McCampbell family are beneath contempt.

We take strong exception to your actions.  As I said a few days ago, I am unable to attend a Wednesday night meeting due to a prior commitment to my students. <— More on her (Patricia Godziszewski’s educational practices to come) John and Dave will also be unable to attend due to work and family matters. We find it interesting that you consider it good practice to convene a meeting without the President and the Vice-President in lieu of scheduling when it’s convenient for the Secretary and another Board member. There is nothing so urgent that rises to the level that you are putting forth. Please reconsider this idea and let us move forward as a complete Board to discuss your recommendation.

In closing, the letter you sent to the Board strongly infers by innuendo and your deductions that either Dave or I have been sharing confidential information outside closed session. We have customarily ignored these baseless attacks when they came from other Board members, their friends in the audience and the sarcastic, bullying and untrue comments from certain members of the Administration. However, we are not ignoring them coming from you—we resent the implication and would appreciate your support to help us in our role as members of a governing body.

Thank you.

Pat Godziszewski, Board VP

David Stachura, Board President

P.S. This note is sent as a confidential document to you from the President and Vice-President. It is not intended to serve as a discussion between you and the Superintendent or other members of the District. Please do not share, but call if we have any significant part of this wrong.

 

This letter is on the agenda for additional discussion at Wednesday nights meeting, and I am hoping the community gets some answers once and for all as to the motivation for such a letter intended to remain secret.

Meeting agenda for Wednesday night the 17th of December.

 

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