Danville school superintendent Ed Newsome almost got fired last night. Nobody else will report it, but SouthsideCentral will. He somehow pulled himself out of the fire and the school took no action after 6 hours worth of meetings. Let’s talk about what happened…
Lots of analyzing to do. Lots of thoughts about it and they’ll be random at times. We’re going to need a Really Big Board…
- First thing to say is that I greatly appreciate all of my SouthsideCentral sources. All of them came together and we got this story out and publicized yesterday. It was publicized against the wishes of a lot of people, and that makes it even better.
- Ed Newsome was definitely in danger of losing his job. However since it’s a “personnel matter”, that will never officially be said unless Newsome decides to talk about it himself. He won’t.
- The Danville School Board has some good people on it. That being said, the whole school board should be ashamed of themselves for pulling this stunt in the last meeting before Steven Gould & Sharon Dones come on the board.
- The school board should be even more ashamed for not letting the incoming members know what was happening. Both Gould & Dones had no idea of these events and that’s totally unacceptable. If Newsome had been fired, the new members would have had to start with no superintendent and immediately start the search process with no chance of having a person hired by the start of the new school year. That would have been horribly unfair and devastating to the teachers, the students and the school system. It would have also proven that the school board was a vengeful dysfunctional group of idiots.
- Ed Newsome does not deserve to be fired at this time. He inherited a school system with big problems that started in the Sue Davis era. He needs more than one year to fix those problems. That’s common sense… but did that matter?
- I’m glad that the school board finally decided to be a rubber stamp for anything that the superintendent wanted (Ahem… Sue Davis), but this stunt was well past the line of rational thinking.
- Don’t get me wrong. Ed Newsome hasn’t been innocent of bad decisions during his first year. You don’t get away directly challenging your employer very often. I think he’s learning the process of how to work with the school board now.
- Good riddance to the two outgoing members of the board, Rebecca Bolton & George Wilson. Bolton has the personality of a moldy rock and Wilson simply looks clueless at times.
- I’m not indicting the entire school board though. Chairman Ed Polhamus and the returning incumbent Philip Campbell are doing a great job and they really care about what’s going on.
- I’m surprised that this edition of the school board is intimidated by crowds of citizens and the media. If you’re an appointed or elected public official, you’ve got to quickly learn how to handle criticism and outrage. That’s not the case here. Some of the school board members were borderline hostile yesterday and I found that amusing. They’re used to having meetings with very few citizens present and it shows in their mannerisms.
- Ed Newsome is safe for now. This version of the school board is done. I believe that the new makeup of the board will give Newsome another year to improve the situation, but Newsome now knows he’s on a very short leash.
- What saved Newsome? Here’s my thoughts on how it worked out. There were six members present at the final closed session (George Wilson was out of town). Newsome had to have three supporters because a 3-3 vote to fire him would have failed because of the tie. I know Renee Hughes was one of the supporters and I’m betting Philip Campbell was one. Ed Polhamus is a smart and sane man, so I believe that he was the third supporter. He’s smart enough to know that firing Newsome would cost the school system a lot of money that they didn’t available to spend. With those 3 votes against his firing, the school board would never have actually taken that vote in open session and that’s why they took “no action”. If the anti-Newsome faction would have had to vote against him in an open session, it would have exposed who they were to the hostile crowd.
- Yes, that’s all conjecture but it’s the most logical analysis of what happened. If I’m wrong, so be it.
- Ed Newsome is a smart man. He hired Glenn Berger, one of the best attorneys in the state to represent him. Berger doesn’t come cheap. Newsome had confidence and a bit of swagger. That attitude changed near the end of the meeting as the closed session was about to begin, but that’s understandable. The final closed session took over 80 minutes and that’s when Newsome’s attorney had to have earned his pay.
So that happened. Ed Newsome survives a direct threat to his job. He comes out stronger because of this and the school board looks bad because of this stunt. The sad thing is that nobody will ever tell exactly what happened.