Now that Mrs. [LaVonne] Sheffield is gone, along with most of her devoted followers on the board, we have to ask the big question: What now? The list of things that need to be done is long and complicated. For whatever it’s worth, here’s my opinion on where to start.
First, find a new superintendent that is vested in OUR community. Outside talent might have great résumés, but have no stake in Rockford. We’ve seen and are now trying to repair the damage caused by this type of superintendent. Rockford also needs to heal, not only as a school district, but as a community as well. We need someone who cares about the people who currently live here and will still live here for years to come.
Secondly, each and every “re-assignment” of building administrators put forth by Mrs. Sheffield must be re-evaluated. Were her motives in the demotions justified, or arbitrary and capricious? The public outcry from school staff, parents and children at the board meetings concerning these re-assignments speaks volumes. By removing popular and effective principals such as Teresa Schneider at Riverdahl Elementary, Al Gagliano at Kishwaukee Elementary, Ann Rundall at Haskell Elementary and Kye Gaffey at Auburn High School, Mrs. Sheffield has completely demoralized the staffs, parents and students at these schools and effectively stopped any and all progress these administrators have achieved thus far. I firmly believe these administrators are examples of the vindictive nature of Mrs. Sheffield’s decisions.
One of the biggest mistakes the previous superintendent made was promising transparency and not following through. Please be open, honest and above board in all matters. As a result, the community will be more understanding of the tough choices you have to make.
From the May 4-10, 2011 issue