by The Albatross
A superintendent of a school district is probably the most powerful person in the district. He controls the money. He keeps schools open or closes them. He creates positions or eliminates them. He creates programs and gets rid of them. He siphons off tax money. Every year, he needs a massive tax increase. Every year, he bleeds the taxpayer.
The goal of every superintendent in this country is to spend more and more money. They want as much money as possible poured into the trough of public education, and as many people as possible feeding at that trough for as long as possible. A superintendent keeps the spigot turned on by perpetually creating new administrative positions. The Hamden School District has been corrupted by the search for more and more money instead of holding students accountable and educating them.
The Hamden School District devotes more resources to busy work jobs than they do to teaching students. Leeches proliferate in this district. The Hamden taxpayer is like a swimmer coming out of a lake, finding leeches attached to his leg, wormy parasites that are sucking his blood.
Ten years ago, Hamden High School had department chairs. They ran department meetings and made the schedules. They got a stipend, generally about $5000 a year.
In 2013, Jody Goeler became superintendent. Under Jody, administrative jobs multiplied. Jody got rid of the department chair positions. He hired nine leeches, nine directors at a $150,000 each including benefits, costing the Hamden taxpayer more than a healthy million dollars a year. Jody was always more interested in creating administrative positions than he was in actually helping students improve themselves.
There are a lot of other leeches in Hamden. Facilitators. Coordinators. Specialists. Jody had a gift for creating pointless jobs. Two years ago, Jody created a 504 coordinator position and an IEP coordinator position to manage the high school’s special education caseload. He also created two climate specialists to contain and control the mayhem in the school.
Being an administrator carries with it tremendous benefits aside from salary, medical benefits, and generous vacation time. An administrator is out of the classroom. No more students and their parents, just teachers upon whom to keep a close watch. Many people in education would trade an organ for that sort of job.
Administrators, directors, facilitators, coordinators, specialists, whatever you would like to call these very well-paid people, should make the school district a sensational success.
That they somehow make the Hamden school district better is ridiculous. They are irrelevant to education. They are outliers, doing nothing except attending meetings, producing nothing except digital paperwork. They make up things to do in order to justify their jobs. Sometimes The Albatross sees them roaming the halls, looking as though they are looking for something to do.
There is nothing productive about a leech.
Heather Wachter, Director of Language Arts; Jen Vinneau, Director of Social Studies; Beth Chapman, Director of World Languages, Leslie del Valle, Director of Arts, Amanda Forcucci, Director of Health, Dan Cocchiola, Director of HECA, Stacey Stockwell, Director of Science, Darce DaCosta, Director of HCLC, comprise this power elite, but they make nothing happen in Hamden. If administrators made things happen, then scores would not be down. Fights would not be happening. No benefits, not intellectual, emotional, psychological, exist from having all these people on the payroll. Students don’t even know who these people are. Parents do not know either. Taxpayers have nothing to gain from this inefficient use of their money.
Were Language Arts Director Heather Wachter’s position to be eliminated, the department would be no worse off. The curriculum is written. Nothing good and constructive has ever come out of the hour and forty five minute monthly faculty meetings she holds, meetings so bad that Heather should apologize for holding them. We just spin their wheels.
Heather and the other directors have nothing to do but hang on the coat tails of teachers, speak the same educational jargon, spout the latest educational research, give Power Point presentations that will never be seen beyond the department, and bleed the taxpayer.
Purging Hamden of administrators can only make the town better. If nine out of every ten administrators were dismissed, Hamden’s tax bill could be lowered accordingly. But that won’t happen.
“We need more,” said Principal Nadine Gannon at the November 3 faculty meeting. “They are trying to fix us as we are flying.”
No, Nadine. Hamden High School cannot be redeemed by more leeches.
No school district should have an administration as gigantic and superfluous as Hamden does. The core function of a school district is to teach. In Hamden, the spigot never runs dry. The Albatross predicts that Superintendent Gary Highsmith will hire assistant directors to support the directors. All these directors will need a secretarial staff. The bleeding will only continue.