Exclusive: Patrik Williams Threatens Smyrna Teachers Union

Smyrna School District Superintendent Patrik Williams found himself in the hot seat yet again. This time it was with the Delaware Public Employment Relations Board.

In a case filed by the Smyrna Educators Association (SEA) against the Smyrna School District Board of Education concerning payment for part-time custodians during the Covid shutdown in Spring of 2020, the Relations Board ultimately ruled in the district’s favor but not without completely blasting Williams communications to the SEA. It appears Williams’ obnoxious and arrogant way of communicating in any situation knows no bounds. Not only does he lambasted the union over the situation but he doesn’t hide a direct threat to them either. As quoted from the final decision, rendered 2/15//2021:

The tenor of the Superintendent’s emails to the union representatives was unusually caustic.

In the last paragraph of the Superintendent’s last email he states he will not be bashful about sharing his opinion of SEA and DSEA”where (he) travels” and warns that “we won’t forget”.

Williams has been under fire for the past six months due to Twitter comments made last summer and fall concerning controversial comments made in tweets. As a result, State Senator Dave Lawson and several Smyrna citizens have led an effort for the belligerent Superintendent to resign. While Lawson and I don’t see eye to eye on many issues this is one I have to get behind.

I will say this to teachers and staff at the Smyrna School District: Now is the time to unify. I know there are more stories to tell about Patrik Williams. It is time to make your voices heard. It is time to put this man in his place and either force him to resign or have the board terminate him. If enough of you make enough noise the fear and intimidation he has placed in your hearts will no longer have power.

I have posted several articles about Williams’ unprofessional demeanor over the years, stemming back to his time to his role as Assistant Superintendent to the present. In my opinion he is a ticking time-bomb with no ability to filter himself or to deal with anything in a professional manner. He has impacted the lives of district students, teachers, staff and parents unnecessarily and his conduct in no way is fitting for a district Superintendent.

The below document is a must-read for ALL Delaware teachers, staff, students, and parents. If you have been on the fence about Williams this may just tip you over to the side of right. If you have been experiencing the same thing in districts or charters aside from Smyrna you need to know you have a voice. We are at a tipping point in Delaware education and this kind of behavior should not be tolerated at any level.

School Board Candidate Blasts District, Superintendent, & Board In Explosive Public Comment

At the last school board meeting on Wednesday, February 17th for the Smyrna Board of Education, Diane Eastburn gave a public comment for the ages. While announcing she would be running for the open seat on the school board, Eastburn trashed the district. Eastburn is a frequent advocate for students with disabilities in IEP meetings. She also served on the IEP Task Force led by former Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn in 2014. Eastburn’s public comment was cut off due to a three minute restriction but she posted the rest in various Facebook groups yesterday.

I am informing you that I am filing the needed papers to run for the open school board position – because change is in our futures. Some of you, may spread more lies, you may continue to challenge my character and good name with lies, but you will no longer get a free pass. I will start challenging legally those who attempt to damage my reputation, good name, and my standing in the community with lies. I may not win, that’s okay, because at least the dirty laundry and lies that have glued this district together will be out for the community to judge you all! I am not done – I have just begun to fight for our students – staff – parents – taxpayers and community members. If that makes me a trouble maker – so be it!

Back in August, I was watching the board meeting. I have been on the receiving end of hateful, hurtful, and flat out lies that have been written about me and false statements made about my character and integrity by so called leaders of this district. However, I was one of the few – who when a public apology was made, I accepted the fact a lesson was learned and a wrong was righted. I was wrong.I am done sitting in board meeting after board meeting where the public questions or statements go unanswered! Where the administration tramples over students and parents’ rights unchallenged and uncorrected. I am tired of staff and students being mistreated and bullied. I am tired of staff complaining they are forced to teach ideology instead of teaching students core subjects.

I now speak to you as a tax paying member of this district who is tired. Tired of an apology out one side of the mouth while changing platforms to continue to attack people. I am tired of leadership who says – do as I say not as I do! I am tired of fake IEP meetings, I am tired of faked documents, I am tired of altered documents, I am tired of fake data or no data. I am tired of illegal change of placements made to students. I am tired of parents being told security cameras purchased with taxpayers dollars are private property of the district and a parent can not view their child’s attack – yet those very same cameras are used by the district to go after students. I am tired of staff that lives in fear – of the wrath of one PERSON! I AM TIRED OF BEING LIED TO AND HAVING TO GET PROOF OF THE LIES THROUGH FOIA REQUESTS!

You want truth – how about an elementary age child who was falsely accused of being arrested by this administration, then months after being informed the accusations were false by the police – a staff member telling a parent not to allow her child to play with that kid because he had been arrested! You want truth – after reporting discrimination against a student with special needs on a field trip by the hosts of the events (yes this has happened more than once) – you send more kids to the very same people after it was reported to the administration and the school board. You want truth – how about failing to report legally required restraint reports to DOE & parents! You want truth – how about an elementary child man-handled by administration! (I believe this is as far as I got to read the rest was to be as follows) You want truth – how about a student restrained for over 40 minutes because he stepped on a staffers foot when they walked past – NO IMMINENT DANGER TO STAFF – STUDENTS OR SELF! PURE RETALIATION! Yet – unreported to DOE! You want truth – I am tired of students’ rights violated – I am tired of parents’ rights violated – like when parents are NOT given writeups by administration – then told they can not appeal a punishment without the needed document. I am tired of a superintendent (administrator) refusing to meet with a parent to resolve a matter – then he cries to others that I don’t follow the chain of command! You want truth – how about a child removed from a building and the parent not contacted for hours – then lied to about who witnessed it! You want truth – I don’t think so – because that clearly shows the total incompetence and bad behaviors of this administration and board!

That is certainly one way to announce your candidacy for a local school board race! As of press time there was no filings announced by the Delaware Department of Elections for the Smyrna School District Board of Education board seat.

75% Of Delaware Legislators Write Letter To Secretary Bunting Urging Delaware To Request Waiver From US DOE For Smarter Balanced Assessment

On February 5th, led by Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams and State Rep. William Bush, 46 out of the 62 Delaware state legislators wrote Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting requesting Delaware seeks a waiver from the United States Department of Education in implementing the state assessment in Delaware for the 2020-2021 school year. The test was waived last year due to the Covid pandemic. I highly salute all of these legislators on BOTH sides of the aisle for doing this!!! When it comes to education, our legislators need to put away partisan politics and do what is right for kids and this is an awesome way to do it. Of course, Bunting needs to acquiesce to their request and that has yet to be determined. And then the United States Department of Education needs to grant those waivers. Still a lot to happen here with a small window of opportunity for the Smarter Balanced Assessment to go away this year. But the legislators stepped up!

February 5, 2021

The Hon. Dr. Susan Bunting
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal St.
Dover, DE 19901

RE: U.S. Department of Education ESEA/ESSA assessment waiver request

Dear Secretary Bunting:

It has recently come to our attention that the U.S. Department of Education has been accepting applications from State Education Agencies to waive certain requirements under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), with respect to student assessments. It also has been reported that U.S. DOE sent correspondence to all state chief school officers in recent weeks advising the extension of the waiver application period beyond Feb. 1, and that several of your colleagues in other states have already availed themselves of this opportunity to request a standardized testing waiver for this school year.

We strongly urge you to request an ESEA/ESSA assessment waiver for the state of Delaware as soon as practicable and without delay.

As you well know, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a tremendous toll on Delaware educators, administrators, school support personnel, students and their families. Although U.S. DOE may waive the testing requirement for accountability purposes, it is also our firm belief that the state should forego plans to implement the shortened Smarter Balanced Assessment as indicated by your department during the Jan. 26 meeting of the ESSA Advisory Committee. Any attempt to administer required standardized tests in the current school environment would create an extreme hardship for our school communities and jeopardize the fairness and equity of the testing structure itself. Even if our talented education professionals were able to create a testing plan that would comport with the health and welfare restrictions in place to control the spread of the virus, the resulting testing data would almost certainly be flawed for a variety of reasons.

We believe the time required for testing could be better spent by educators in continuing to provide instruction and screen students at the district and building level to inform summer intervention programs and prepare for instruction in the fall.

We know there is no guarantee that a request for a waiver would be granted, however we also know that U.S. DOE is more likely to facilitate waivers if a significant number of states make similar requests. If you wish to discuss this matter further, please don!t hesitate to contact us directly. Thank you for your kind attention.

Sincerely,

Kimberly Williams
State Representative, 19th District
Chair, House Education Committee

William Bush
State Representative, 29th District
House Education Committee

Peter C. Schwartzkopf
State Representative, 14th District
Speaker of the House

John L. Mitchell
State Representative, 13th District
House Majority Whip

Valerie Longhurst
State Representative, 15th District
House Majority Leader

Nnamdi Chukwuocha
State Representative, 1st District
Vice-Chair, House Education Committee

Debra Heffernan
State Representative, 6th District
House Education Committee

Sherae’a Moore
State Representative, 8th District
House Education Committee

Kevin S. Hensley
State Representative, 9th District
House Education Committee

Sean Matthews
State Representative, 10th District
House Education Committee

Michael Ramone
State Representative, 21st District
House Education Committee

Michael F. Smith
State Representative, 22nd District
House Education Committee

Edward S. Osienski
State Representative, 24th District
House Education Committee

John A. Kowalko
State Representative, 25th District
House Education Committee

Eric Morrison
State Representative, 27th District
House Education Committee

Sean M. Lynn
State Representative, 31st District
House Education Committee

Ruth Briggs King
State Representative, 37th District
House Education Committee

Laura V. Sturgeon
State Senator, 4th District
Chair, Senate Education Committee

S. Elizabeth Lockman
State Senator, 3rd District
Majority Whip
Vice-Chair, Senate Education Committee

David P. Sokola
State Senator, 8th District
President Pro Tempore of the Senate
Senate Education Committee

Bryan Townsend
State Senator, 11th District
Majority Leader
Senate Education Committee

Sherry Dorsey Walker
State Representative, 3rd District

Gerald L. Brady
State Representative, 4th District

Kendra Johnson
State Representative, 5th District

Larry Lambert
State Representative, 7th District

Jeffrey N. Spiegelman
State Representative, 11th District

Krista Griffith
State Representative, 12th District

Franklin D. Cooke
State Representative, 16th District

Melissa Minor-Brown
State Representative, 17th District

David Bentz
State Representative, 18th District

Paul S. Baumbach
State Representative, 23rd District

Madinah Wilson-Anton
State Representative, 26th District

William J. Carson
State Representative, 28th District

Andria L. Bennett
State Representative, 32nd District

Lyndon D. Yearick
State Representative, 34th District

Ronald E. Gray
State Representative, 38th District

Daniel B. Short
State Representative, 39th District
House Minority Leader

Timothy D. Dukes
State Representative, 40th District
House Minority Whip

Sarah McBride
State Senator, 1st District

Kyle Evans Gay
State Senator, 5th District

Spiros Mantzavinos
State Senator, 7th District

John “Jack” Walsh
State Senator, 9th District

Stephanie L. Hansen
State Senator, 10th District

Nicole Poore
State Senator, 12th District

Bruce C. Ennis
State Senator, 14th District

Trey Paradee
State Senator, 17th District

Muzzle Alert: Capital HR Director and Union President Put On Radio Silence, A Very Clever Veiled Threat, & When A Termination Is Not A Termination

WDEL followed up on their story about the Capital School District and Dover High School today. It piggybacked off the article I put up a week ago which mainly dealt with the Capital Educators Association’s role in the Covid/ADA accommodations debacle. In the original article from WDEL there were extensive quotes from Capital’s Human Resources Director Mary Cooke and the CEA Union President, Lisa Whiteman. For the new article, instead of Cooke, Interim Capital Superintendent Dr. Sylvia Henderson was given the microphone. As well, Whiteman “declined comment” and instead free reign was given to the Capital UniServ Director Mike Hoffman who is employed by the Delaware State Education Association (DSEA).

Continue reading

Christina Superintendent Dan Shelton And Board Members Get Bad Apple Award From Badass Teachers Association

Dan Shelton had a bad month in January. Not only did he have to deal with teachers holding a press conference against school reopenings during a board meeting but he also compared those teachers to the Capitol rioters. For the last part Shelton earned a Bad Apple award for January, 2021 from the Badass Teachers Association. In addition, Christina board members Claire O’Neal and Keeley Powell won the award as well.

Christina School District Board Members Claire O’Neal, Keeley Powell and Superintendent Dan Shelton in Wilmington, Delaware compared educators peacefully exercising their first amendment rights in concern for safety to a violent, ignorant, unlawful mob of insurrectionists.

I would say congrats to Shelton, O’Neal, and Powell but I think the award speaks for itself. Shame on them. Winning friends all over the place, aren’t you Dan?

The Badass Teachers Association has a mission statement and they are my kind of people!

We, the members of the Badass Teachers Association, reject racially and socially oppressive profit-driven education reform and through our advocacy demand:

  • Equitable student driven policies and systems that are also equitably funded to meet the needs of ALL students and schools, that include highly qualified and certified educational professionals
  • Elimination of high stakes standardized testing as we recognize its roots in racism, arbitrary cut scores, and value-added accountability systems used to evaluate children, educators and their schools
  • Educator evaluations designed to grow professional practice, without punitive measures
  • Protection of balanced, student-centered curriculum which includes, but is not limited to, Performing and Visual Arts, Physical Education, Library, World Languages, Ethnic Studies developed with/by local affinity groups, Career and Technical Education, Unstructured Play and Recess
  • Developmentally sound best practices and programs which augment the experiences of students with special needs, LGBTQIA+ students, students with complex trauma, students who experience institutional racism, students marginalized for socio-economic status, immigrants and those learning the English language
  • Educator-designed policies, standards, and curricula that are supported by peer-reviewed research, as well as input from experienced classroom experts that includes voices from BIPoC, LGBTQIA+, and dis/abled educator communities.  
  • Academic freedom for educators and students, thus ensuring the best possible learning, teaching, and working environment
  • Excellent public education for all students, regardless of economic status, race, nationality, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or dis/ability
  • School cultures rooted in equitable practices including the hiring and retention of BIPoC educators, that honor the culture and history of all students and strive to heal and transform past and current oppressive systems
  • Safe and equitable technology – recommended screen time and content limits ensuring safe privacy practice for students and educators
  • Safe, clean, well-maintained, uncrowded professional workplace environments, free from bullying and harassment of students and educators as well as freedom from threats of violence
  • Collective bargaining rights, due process, and job protections
  • Legislation that unequivocally directs accountability and transparency for charter schools, and maintains the vision of public funds for public institutions, disqualifying vouchers, rebates, and tax credits that divert those funds
  • Democratically elected school boards that solicit and openly work to include the input of the entire community they serve

Capital & Indian River Websites Down, Sussex Tech’s Only For Staff Access

It appears a few school districts in Delaware are having website issues. Both Capital and Indian River’s websites are showing an error message. Sussex Tech’s opens but you have to log in as a staff member. I reached out to the Capital School District on their Facebook page and they responded with the following:

Our website provider is experiencing a nationwide outage. You may see multiple school district websites not working this morning. They are working to resolve it.

I did a check on ALL the district websites and those three were the only ones that aren’t working. This has been going on since late last evening. Hope the problem gets fixed!

Updated, 10:31am: Capital’s Office of Technology reached out to me and gave the same explanation but did want to add that this does not affect the platforms used for teachers and staff so this will not affect instruction. The websites are still down as of this writing.

Free Webinar Dealing With Learning Disabilities In Delaware On February 10th

The Learning Disabilities Association of Delaware (LDADE) is holding a seminar for parents on February 10th, 2021 from 7:00-8:30pm. The speakers will include Fern Goldstein (President of LDADE), Maureen Keeney (former Delaware State Education Association President), and Caitlin McAndrews (Special Education Attorney from McAndrews, Mehalick, Connolly, Hulse, and Ryan P.C.). Having been to these they are an excellent resource for parents wondering if their child might have a learning disability. They are also good for parents of already identified special education students. It is always important for parents to know everything they can about the law with special education. Whether a student is on an IEP or a 504 Plan, there are laws attached to these programs. Parents are always the best advocate for their children!

Is Patrik Williams Resigning As Superintendent Of Smyrna School District Today?

Multiple sources are telling me that Patrik Williams, Superintendent of the Smyrna School District, will be resigning before the district’s special board meeting tonight. Rumors are also circulating around staff members crafting a vote of no confidence in Williams’ ability to lead the district.

This is following the events of last week when State Senator David Lawson connected with folks in the district asking for Williams to resign. Tonight their Board of Education will meet in a special meeting with the sole item on their agenda:

SMYRNA SCHOOL DISTRICT
Central Office
6:00 P.M.
The Board will entertain a motion to adjourn to Executive Session to address a personnel issue.
***This issue arose suddenly and cannot be deferred to a regular meeting of the Board. It is anticipated the Board will adjourn from Executive Session and not return to Open Session.

Updated, 10:34pm: There has been no word about anything from the Smyrna Board of Education’s Executive Session tonight. If Williams did resign I’m guessing it would be announced tomorrow. If he didn’t it will be business as usual… until the next board meeting.