This week's Arnold-Imperial Leader is reporting that former Fox C-6 superintendent Dianne Critchlow is getting invoiced by the district for money that she improperly charged the district. If the community wasn't already mad enough about the fact that she was purchasing meals and personal items using her district credit card, we now learn that she was double dipping. She was getting reimbursed for personal miles while driving a district owned Chevy Tahoe and filling the tank of the Tahoe using her district credit card while raking in more than $260,000 in salary.
It's really hard sometimes to even come up with the words to write after uncovering or learning about all of the things that we have so far about the misdeeds and dishonest things former superintendent Dianne Critchlow did while "leading" the district. She took advantage of the system in just about every possible way she could.
It's obvious that she used intimidation and fear to keep anyone from reporting what was going on inside the district. If you discovered things and you weren't an employee of the district, she sent you Cease and Desist letters to try and stop you from publicly exposing her misdeeds and shedding light on the problems and cover ups by the district. Her deception and obfuscation worked well in hiding the money that she was collecting both in salary and for items she was purchasing for personal use with her district credit card.
It was also reported in the Arnold-Imperial Leader that Critchlow had the district reimburse her for eye glasses even though the district was already paying for her vision insurance. It was like a FREE RIDE using taxpayer dollars.
Demand Letters to Critchlow for Repayment
What little trust anyone had for her should be completely shattered by now. Facts are being uncovered that are irrefutable and indefensible. People can't even make up some of the things she has done because so many of them are so egregious that they are just too incredible to conceive. As a person who was touting on almost every single document sent out by the district and on banners throughout the district how Fox was a National District of Character, she was far from being representative of a person of character.
I commend all of the teachers, staff, volunteers and administrators who have had to put up with the abuse and intimidation that everyone has put up with for the past 9+ years under our former superintendent's reign of fear. I've been told so many stories in the last couple of months and I'm sure that I will hear many more in the years to come as to what went on behind closed doors was kept from being discussed in public through fear and intimidation.
I certainly hope that morale continues to improve as new leadership gets hired and policies protecting employees are put in place. Bad behavior should result in eventual dismissals or demotions and hopefully fear won't be a factor anymore.
In order for an organization like our school district to truly succeed and excel, there must be that feeling of trust that everyone will always do the right thing and will always take the high road no matter what. You can't have people fearing for their jobs or fearing for their safety. They must be able to trust their supervisors, administrators and coworkers to do the right thing.
There must also be a mutual level of respect for everyone in the organization and outside the organization with the community in order to succeed. Otherwise, it will just be a job for many and students, staff and the community will suffer as a whole.
Our district has a lot of great teachers and staff and despite the lack of respect that they have received from Central Office administrators over the years, they have still gone above and beyond expectations and do what's best for the kids. I would like to say thank you for doing what you do every day despite what you've been through for the past 9+ years. I can see that things are improving albeit not as fast as everyone would like. We know it's going to take time and that there will be many challenges ahead that we will have to overcome and we will overcome them.
It's been very rewarding to hear from so many people who work or have worked in our district tell me that they are so glad that things have finally been exposed and brought to the public's attention. They say that many people have known for a long time but were afraid to speak for fear of retaliation.
I've also been told by many in the district that the start of this school year has been one of the best that they've had in years and that morale has improved quite a bit and that's a good thing!
Hearing those types of comments lets me know that all of my work was worthwhile and that I wasn't wasting my time as some may have wanted you to believe. I won't name any names but I'm sure you might know a few people who didn't want anyone to know about what was getting documented on this blog. <g>
I'm glad I could help and I'm glad that many people are now aware of what's been going on. Societal pressure is what's needed in order to maintain a certain level of trust. Most people expect people to always do the right thing but that doesn't always happen as we've learned here at Fox.
Going forward we need to learn by our mistakes of overly trusting those in charge to do the right thing and not listening to those that speak up and try to bring issues to everyone's attention.
There were many times when I felt like I was working on a huge thesis on how school systems should function as demonstrated by other districts and at the same time documenting how badly a district can behave because there was no pressure or oversight to do the right thing. After several years of not getting anywhere you begin to wonder if things will every change. Now we know it can. It just takes lots of perseverance and motivation. It was a lot like running a marathon but a LOT longer. It was probably more like running the 90 miles to Jefferson City on the Katy Trail but over and over again as the years went by.
As we move forward we need to remember and document what happened so we can put measures in place to keep this sort of thing from happening again in the future. We don't want to go down this road again.