Greg Dixson: Dr. D must resign
In the fall of 2002, Strawberry Park Elementary was at risk of losing an effective and dedicated Principal, John DeVincentis, due to strained relationship with Superintendent Cyndy Simms and how she and the board operated under the governance process. Several parents “Parents for Dr. D” joined in support of him to ensure one of two possible outcomes. We wanted to see that either his contract be renewed as principal of Strawberry Park Elementary or that he had a fair package for retirement as compensation for his long-time commitment to the district. We invested considerable time and energy attempting to protect a principal we believed was good for the kids and staff. The end result was that John was able to serve as Principal and retire on his own terms, and Simms was able to accept opportunities elsewhere. At that time, I believed we were doing the right thing for the kids and teachers in the district. Had I known what would transpire later, my personal choice to support John might have steered me in another direction.
The recent disclosure of e-mails referenced in Friday’s Steamboat Today illustrated the animosity and bad feelings owned by John were deep and festering and at an unhealthy level.
It’s irrelevant how and why the e-mails were disclosed. For me, the content is the only issue to address today. Given the vindictive nature of what these e-mails contained coupled with my involvement in supporting John a few years ago, I am compelled to speak out publicly and ask him to resign his position as School Board member. Simply put, the distractions are too great for the board to function effectively. The focus should be about the stability and health of our schools, and our board’s attention shouldn’t be diverted by allegations and blame. I know John DeVincentis has a deep and sincere passion for the kids and school district staff evidenced by the success at Strawberry Park Elementary. However, if he doesn’t resign, what he has successfully accomplished will not be why he is remembered.
As a parent of four school-aged kids, I ask John to tender his resignation from the School Board immediately. Doing this could reaffirm his commitment to education and clear the way for the district to successfully progress beyond these problems.
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Emma Harmon, of Durango, is pictured with journals she has kept about her mental health challenges. She said Axis Health System would not help her when in crisis. “The way things seem to work there, you’d actually have to have killed yourself before they’d meet with you.” | Jerry McBride/Durango Herald