I was interviewed for the Academic Distress Committee for Lorain City Schools. If I had been selected I would not have been able to run for school board as it’s a commitment of three years. The interview process was little like an interview. I asked most of the questions and talked mainly to Superintendent Tucker. As a former educator I discussed my feeling that we need to return to the basics. That we need to make sure teachers are teaching for all learning modalities. I discussed the cultural disconnect our teachers have with our black population of students. And suggested sensitivity training for teachers. I was given documents provided by the state in regards to the purpose of the distress committee.
I found Tom Tucker to be passionate, intelligent and likable. He mentioned at one point in the interview he had been told about me prior to the meeting and said he actually agreed with me on a lot of issues. He also asked me if I wanted to be involved with the school district in another capacity should I not be selected for the committee.
I was not selected for the committee. I knew before I interviewed I had no chance of being selected. Instead the school district attorney’s (Giardini) partner was selected, Henry Patterson and former school board member Raul Ramos. This has been with much public scrutiny as the attorney for the district is supposed to be the city law director. Giardini is an unneeded expense the district really cant afford. This assures Giardini will be part of the process.
Ramos has been criticized as being a retread that may have contributed to the shape the district is in. Make sure you read the comments.
Ironically the Patterson Gairdini connection has been around for a while. In the Chronicle Telegram “Giardini said the central committee endorsed his challenge of Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern. Giardini, an attorney who represents the Lorain Board of Education, said if he were to defeat Redfern, he’d consider having attorney Henry Patterson, a colleague at Giardini, Cook & Nicol, assume his school board responsibilities.”
In June of 2012, Lorain mayor Chase Ritenauer apparently wanted to appoint Giardini as superintendent of schools.
Patterson ran for Lorain city council in 2005 and 2003 and he served as a Legislative Aide for two State Representatives as part of the Legislative Service Commission in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1997-1998. He is a political character to say the least.
Raul Ramos extended Cheryl Atkinson’s contract and gave her a raise twice and a $5,000 bonus when were were on Academic Watch. When a surprise vote to hire Giardini as the Districts counsel, Ramos voted no because he felt the board should have been given a written recommendation. He also thought it might be a conflict of interest since at the time Giardini was the superintendent’s landlord. Ramos was endorsed by the Morning Journal for school board. He continually voted to lay off teachers during his tenure and not administrators.
This tainted committee has not passed the smell test.