I’m halfway sorry to have to smack a vocal minority of Halifax County residents in the face with that headline.
You may remember that Halifax County Public Schools Superintendent Merle Herndon has been in the recent headlines for her decision to demote Halifax County High School principal Albert Randolph then her reversal of that decision after Randolph “apologized”.
Well, some Halifax County residents don’t like her job performance, her decisions or simply her and want her to be fired from her job. They’re wrong.
Here’s the latest development in those people’s efforts…
The signs along Herndon’s driving route are a perfect example of “free speech” and I’ve got no problem with people . That “free speech” ends when somebody goes to Herndon’s property with the obvious attempt to harass and intimidate her. The incident is rightfully being investigated by the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office. There’s no special treatment by the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office in investigating this incident because let’s face it… a crime was committed. Maybe not so much as the littering aspect, but once you add the “graffiti” that was disparaging to Herndon on it, it becomes at attempt at intimidation. That’s totally unacceptable and the wrong way for Herndon’s detractors to act. The entire anti-Herndon movement is smeared by the deeds on (hopefully just) one person.
Former Halifax County school board member Joe Bailey has said that a high-ranking member of the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office came to his house, but only spoke to his father. I’ve found out that the investigator did not mention why he was there and left his business card. Joe Bailey has been a vocal leader in the anti-Herndon movement and it’s only natural that an investigator would want to ask him questions about if he knew anybody that would possibly do this intimidation effort. I’ve also found out that WSET’s Heather Rosenbaum interviewed Joe Bailey today for a news story and it will be interesting to see what that’s all about.
Now let’s get back to the headline… “Merle Herndon Ain’t Goin’ Anywhere”.
Before I get started on that analysis, I want to make it clear that I haven’t agreed with everything that Herndon has ever done or the ways she’s done things. She’s not perfect and her decision have been quite abrasive to people at times. That being said, she’s doing a damn good job overall and I’ll tell you why she’s not going anywhere with the assistance of a Big Board.
- First and most important of all: She has the support of the school board. With the exception of Walter Potts (who always seems to be an exception to everything), Merle Herndon has strong confidence from the school board. That’s unlike the situation in Danville where the majority of the school board was against Ed Newsome. Merle Herndon sure as hell isn’t going to resign, so you’d need a majority of the school board to be against her to get her out. That’s not the case.
- Merle Herndon is the Anti-Paul Stapleton. The Halifax County school system was marginalized by the previous superintendent who used cronyism and good-ol-boy tactics in getting his way. Once the school board transitioned into a group who went against Stapleton’s ways, he “retired”. News Flash: He might as well have “retired”. He wasn’t going to get another job contract from the school board.
- Merle Herndon is doing part of her job by acting like the Chief Executive Officer of a major corporation. If you want a high-ranking position in a company, you’d damn well better show loyalty to the current CEO. Albert Randolph got a case of the ass against Herndon and she busted him down. Now that I’ve heard Randolph’s “apology letter”, I’m more and more in favor of what Herndon did. It brought Randolph back in “the company line” and showed who was the boss.
- Merle Herndon is also acting like the Chief Financial Officer of a major a major corporation. Her instant elimination of LORP was justified because it was a program born in Paul Stapleton Cronyism and it was way too expensive to run. She saw that as a CFO and killed it like a CEO would do in the interest of “her stakeholders”. Hell yes, she could have shown compassion and caring but letting it go one final year, but she knew that doing that would cost money that the school system could use in other ways. Remember when Tultex and O’ Sullivan closed their plants because they were losing money? Did they say “Hey, we’re spending way too much money and getting little return, but we’ll stay open one more year.” Heck no, they didn’t. They shut down as quickly as they could.
- Merle Herndon is tough. Merle Herndon can be intimidating to her employees. Good. You don’t want to be brought into the boss’s office for having problems. If the educational system continues to improve under her command, she’s doing her job whether you like her or not. She isn’t going to make everybody happy and she’s going to directly offend people at times. That’s how business works.
I’ve spoken to Herndon before. To me, she’s got a “Margaret Thatcher” type of personality. She’s tough as nails but you can see that she really cares about the job she’s been hired to do. If you’ve got a problem with her personally, there’s nothing that I can say to change your mind… but understand you’re in the minority with that view. After everything I’ve seen recently with Danville’s semi-dysfunctional school system, it would be a blessing for her to go there as superintendent.
Two years with Herndon at the helm, the Halifax County School System is performing rather well operationally, financially and most of all educationally.
Face it. Like her or dislike her, Merle Herndon ain’t goin’ anywhere.