Every parent who has children in the public school system is familiar with Superintendent Susie Earllette. She is known for her no-nonsense approach to helping struggling schools. Her methods have won praise and respect not only by the parents of her students, but also by the members of the Jacksonville School board. In fact, she is one of the most popular speakers in the Jacksonville school district.
Unfortunately, it is hard not to be critical of what she does. I know as a parent myself that she is not without her faults. However, if you were to ask me, other parents and students alike, about my concerns about her leadership at the Jacksonville school district, I would ask you to think about those same things with regard to your concerns about her leadership at your child’s school.
The problem with most teachers in the public school system is that they do not seem to recognize the uniqueness of students. In other words, teachers do not seem to realize that each of their students is an individual. That is to say, that each of their personalities is different and should be dealt with differently. This is especially true in the case of teenagers and children with behavioral problems. It is also true of students who are academically challenged.
However, the problem becomes even bigger when we consider that Susie Earllette has been in charge of the troubled school district for the last eight years. During this period, there have been a lot of scandals and problems. For instance, she allowed a teacher with a sexual addiction to teach the class. There have been accusations of poor handling of troubled teens and inappropriate relationships with students.
As a result of these and other concerns, many parents have lost faith in this superintendent. They feel that she is not effective in dealing with the problems facing the school district. They also question her motives for staying on. Is she just looking out for herself or does she genuinely care about the students? This all adds to the doubts of many people regarding this hard-headed woman.
It appears that in this regard, some people are right. Parents of troubled kids know that it will be tough for them to send their kids to a school where the teacher can be trusted. But others think that she may have made some big mistakes and created a very unhealthy school environment.
Whatever your views on Susie Earllette, one thing is clear. The school board needs to take responsibility for the disastrous situation she has helped create. She must go. And if anybody else is available to take over her position, then the kids should be safe in her absence.
That will be a beginning. Who will replace her? And if anyone else is available, should he be trusted with the kids? These are serious issues that must be addressed by the school administration and the parents of the students concerned. Please consider all this.
What’s even more important than these questions is the attitude of the leadership in the district. How can you trust someone who lets the school goes downhill instead of climbing back to quality? How can you trust him to bring in the changes that must be made? Why didn’t the school board warn Susie Earllette that they were concerned about the problems she was creating? Why didn’t she get fired as the problems just got worse?
When you’re the district leader, shouldn’t you be concerned about the kids’ future? Of course you should. But if you are, then you also need to protect the schools you serve from being adversely affected by someone who doesn’t care about the students, the teachers, or the parents. If Susie Earllette is allowed to stay on as interim district leader, then somebody else should take her place.
That someone should be someone who has classroom experience. Someone who has worked with kids from different socio-economic status and backgrounds. Someone who understands how to bring change through constructive discipline methods, without having to resort to corporal punishment and expulsions. Someone who has seen it all and done it all – that’s exactly what teachers are supposed to do.
But Susie Earllette didn’t have that experience. She made one mistake after another. She made the same mistakes year after year. By the end of one year as interim leader, she was basically a one-term leader. Imagine the damage that would be done when she tried to implement some positive changes in the school next year. And the damage that would be done when she tried to implement some positive changes in the next year…