The Trotwood-Madison school board on Thursday approved a contract extension for interim Superintendent Tyrone Olverson, despite the district’s teachers citing worries about Olverson’s leadership.
Teachers union President Angela Bruno said teachers are “concerned” about decisions Olverson has made to remove some support structures for staff and students, while adding new systems.
“There are concerns from staff about decisions that have been made (by Olverson) … and we have not been a part of the decision-making process,” Bruno said while the school board and Olverson were in a closed executive session meeting Thursday.
Dozens of teachers who came to the school board meeting marched out in unison as soon as the board voted to approve Olverson’s contract extension. Bruno would not elaborate on the teachers’ concerns after the board’s vote.
Olverson’s interim contract was to run through Dec. 31. The new deal goes from Jan. 1 through July 31, 2021. District officials would not immediately provide a copy of the contract document Thursday night.
School board President Denise Moore said Thursday night that the board had begun to review the teachers union’s concerns, acknowledging that there were “some questionable items and challenges as well as some serious concerns.”
“We will continue to make sure each and every voice is heard, we will make sure that items are addressed,” Moore said, without going into detail about the complaints. “Also we will make sure that we continue to represent the school district constructively so that it pushes the district forward and most of all helps the students.”
Just three months ago, Trotwood schools were jubilant, as improvement on the state report card was significant enough to avoid the imminent threat of state takeover. On top of the earlier test performance, Moore cited months of hard work, saying Olverson and the board had changed the culture and built a strategic plan “that will take us to the top.”
But now the direction of the district is in question, with the superintendent and teachers at odds. Moore said Thursday that it will take collaboration to move the district forward.
“In any organization you have those who support you and those who may have some contentious attitudes,” Olverson said. “Whenever you’re not really clear about the focus, you’re going to have people not supporting. Now it’s about time to go back out and do a hard reset and explain what our goals are within the district based on our strategic plan.”
Olverson had been hired as interim superintendent just as last spring’s testing window was winding down in April.
In late spring and over the summer, Olverson implemented a turnaround plan with the idea that it could be the new foundation of the district, whether a state takeover happened or not.
Olverson said the district reassigned many staff members, increased teacher training to align classroom approaches and hired social workers to address non-academic problems holding students back.
He said the new contract stabilizes the district for the next two-plus years.
“It also says to the community that now it’s time to continue doing the work,” Olverson said.