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Merle Herndon Ain’t Goin’ Anywhere

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…

Officials probing ‘deposit’ of sign

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.

40 comments to Merle Herndon Ain’t Goin’ Anywhere

  • Citizen 189

    Your post brings light to one very real fact, the school board does not represent the community in which they serve. Though Herndon may very well finish her contract, the school board will more than likely be swept clean next election. The majority of this county, I would argue, does not support Henrdon.


    I would have to argue that the majority of the county either supports Herdon , doesn’t really care, or doesn’t even know who Herdon is, or what happened. But as with most issues in this county, you only hear the loud people.

  • Cheryl

    Love this article and couldn’t agree more!!!

  • Your Minority

    The last time I checked, there hasn’t been a poll taken on the matter so you truly can’t speak on what is or is not the minority stake. Also, if the sign was placed within the VDOT Right of Way, there’s no trespassing, littering, or intimidation factor there as that property is owned by the Commonwealth and NOT Merle Herndon. Ask yourself this – what was a Campbell County Officer doing in Halifax County (outside of his jurisdiction) conducting an investigation without a Halifax County Sheriff’s Officer present? Enough of that though….lets get back to your headline “Merle Herndon Ain’t Goin’ Anywhere”. You may be right, but one thing is certain, our voice will be heard.

    • I can truly speak on anything I want to. It’s my website.

      The sign wasn’t placed in the right-of-way, it was on Herndon’s property. If it was in the VDOT right-of-way, it would have been illegal there too. It’s the writing on the sign and the intimidation (that you conveniently don’t talk about) that’s the problem.

      Who are “you” and “your voice”? You’re hiding behind an anonymous name and the person responsible for the sign movement won’t step forward either.

      • Your Minority

        I am the unsilent, nonconforming minority you proclaim to be smacking in the face with your headline. You don’t need to know my identity as the only thing that should concern you is that I am a citizen of Halifax County. My child is enrolled in the school system and that gives me a voice in this matter. It is quite obvious that this is your website, strewn with your one sided opinions and rants on topics that you obviously have no interest in obtaining the actual facts. You simply strive to strike a nerve with whomever will acknowledge your remedial existence. Bad mouthing those effected by injustice and mistreatment, then attempting to justify the bully doing such deeds shows your true discontent with yourself.

        Intimidation is used by Merle Herndon every day, its about time she got a taste of her own medicine. There is no intimidation in placing a sign or message in front of her house. Its no different than protesting an abortion clinic or marching down the street with picket signs. Simply sending a message to the people and ensuring the recipient of said message receives it. If you’re going to believe that a sign placed on VDOT ROW is illegal, then I expect to see you complaining to HCSD when election time comes as there are dozens of candidates breaking the law. What’s good for the gander is certainly good for the goose. Flamingo Road doesn’t run my neighborhood Mr. Hedrick, I’m not about to kiss anyone’s hind end to be politically correct. Merle Herndon has bullied employees long enough. She’s robbed them of vacation time that they earned, mistreated workers, and abused the power of her position. Albert Randolph wasn’t the first, he was just the first that decided he’d had enough. The School Board let your Margaret Thatcher impersonator loose, its time for them to reign her in. If she doesn’t go, the voice of the minority may grow silent for now but in 16 months, it will grow very loud once again.

        In closing, I wish you well.

  • Your Minority

    Keeping the focus on Joe Bailey only clouds the issue to cover Herndon’s abuse of her position. He’s being used as a pawn because he spoke out adamantly at the School Board meeting addressing the issue with Mr. Randolph.

  • This superintendent I call her one time to speak to her on the issues with a school and the wrong doing of my child and she said she would look into it and call me back. I recieved no call back so I called her again and her response was that nothing was going to be done basically and defended the people who picked on my child and unfairly took his awards that he had earned. She is supposed to be looking out for the children not firing people reporting wrong doing and turning her head when thing are clearly corrupt.

  • Noname

    Didn’t Paul Stapleton come “out of retirement” to take the job with Halifax County? And ask Mrs. Herdon how many times she has called him since she has been superintendent to ask for advice.

  • Jerry

    Southside Central,

    Does it ever amaze you that if you go to an everyday School Board meeting in any of the Southside localities, there is usually no one there unless kids are being recognized….then their parents/grandparents are there, but leave immediately after the kid is honored? And yet, what stories seem to drive the most traffic on your site? School stories.

    In Danville and Halifax this summer, we’ve seen enormous amounts of comments about schools.

  • Herndonwillfireme

    Personally I think you are only posting these thoughts to bring some sort of traffic to your otherwise vacant blog. I guess being controversial and making obviously incorrect statements worked for you however, Bravo.

    • Otherwise vacant? I’ll have what you’re having because this is the most content I’ve ever had on SouthsideCentral. Personally, you’re quite wrong.

      See what I did? I expressed my disagreement with your position and put forward facts to prove my side of the debate.

  • Herndonwillfireme

    Was referring to people actually paying attention to your opinions….. Not the amount of opinions posted.

  • Herndonwillfireme

    You are most welcome sir.

  • Lee Hammack

    To be given credibility I believe “Your Minority” and “No Name” should identify themselves.
    By the way . . . Who is “Southside Central”?

    • Look up in the Our Mission link. Other people may write articles, but those names will be in the byline.

      SouthsideCentral fuses news and opinion together to give you something that’s never been offered before. Now that I’m working on it more than ever, the readership continues to grow. I don’t expect you to agree with everything I say and I encourage everyone to comment on the articles. We’re looking at bringing a real measage forum online soon as part of the build-out plans.

      I’m Bruce Hedrick and I stand behind my opinions and articles.

  • Herndonefiresthosewhooppose

    Asking for peoples names here means you have almost no understanding of why Herndon is such an issue.

  • Herndonefiresthosewhooppose

    This is our children’s education, not some corporate business model. If she ran it as effectively as you like to make it sound, our school system would still have books…..

    • It’s education, money and a corporate business model all in one. The job of the corporate business model is to produce a good quality product (quality education). It’s a new (to Halifax County) concept on how to run a function of government and the resistance to change is showing.

      What’s the “books” issue that you’re talking about?

  • Herndonefiresthosewhooppose

    Your opinions all seem to come from a great principle, yet I don’t think you’ve ever sat down to actually speak with a staff member who knows whats actually going on. Maybe you should.

    • Contact me or have someone else contact me. I protect all of my sources 100%.

      I’m very willing to change my mind and my position on issues. You get strong words and opinions on SouthsideCentral, but you also get an open mind.

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