Nov 20 2007
08:50 am
By: WhitesCreek

The Roane County News article said that School Board member Frank Mee told Director of Roane County Schools, Dr. Toni McGriff, that people had complained about her being rude, and that he was voting against extending her contract. Mee didn't mention one thing about how the Schools were doing, progress-wise, all he did was use his position for a poorly thought out personal attack.

Dr. McGriff, it seems, has committed the unpardonable sin of telling prominant people something they don't like to hear... "No."

From what I've seen and heard, Dr. McGriff has made decisions based on what is best for the students of Roane County and by so doing, she's stirred up the personal fifedoms of some of the old guard, two of which voted against her. The vote went in Dr. McGriff's favor, 7-3, which is pretty good for a sitting Director.

Judging from the names of the folks who voted against her, I'm fine with the School Board's action. Mr. Mee is the former School Board Chairman of the Harriman School System which was deep in debt when it was taken over by the County.

Brillo Miller is a friend of mine, Mayor of Rockwood, and gives a ton of time back to his community. He overwhelmningly supported Dr. McGriff when she was hired to clean up and fix a number of ills but he doesn't seem to like her doing her job in Rockwood.

I don't know Mr. Taylor, but everybody makes mistakes.

Board Member Earl Nall said it best, "Everything She does is for the good of this County and for the good of our kids."

Board Member Everett Massengill had a couple of nice things to say about Dr. McGriff but he also said something about Frank Mee making a personal attack from a public platform...

"That was sorry."

Sorry I don't have a link

The Roane County News chose not to post the article.


We're setting records again, WC!

In agreeing with each other, that is...

I think the phenomenon you note is common in lots of things where people have jobs to do that requires decisions to be made. If one does the job, some decision some time somewhere is not going to be the decision some critic would have made. Especially when one is at the top - as McGriff is.

Earl Nall also mentioned that he didn't agree with all that she's done - and I'm glad he said that. She's done a few things I've thought were... well let's just say I disagreed. But Earl's point is well made - and one all of us could stand to keep in mind when we're ready to condemn some official outright. She HAD made mistakes. Even in how she has dealt with some people (sometimes the error is not in saying "no," rather in HOW one says no). Yet, the trust is still there that, mistakes and all, everything she does has been motivated by a desire to do the best for the students. That desire doesn't guarantee perfection. But it is very important when you can trust the motivation of someone in a job like this. As long as that trust is there, it's very important.

Can the BOE nudge her in certain directions when it comes to how she might interact with her taxpaying customers? You betcha! Should they do that? You betcha? But fire her now? Nah. The BOE supervises her as more closely than anyone else, and should know her. While I'm not sure I wouldn't have voted to let her continue and serve out her present contract before making a new one, I'm don't believe the Mee solution to the issue was the best tack to take.


I understand the Contract situation

Without knowing the details, it is not uncommon for upper level managers to receive contract review, renegotiation, and extension prior to the end of the contract. That keeps surprises to a minimum. If I were dealing with this Board, I would be demanding a close session review and contract evaluation. Allowing a contract to end usually winds up as a disaster for both sides.

Since Dr. McGriff received a 7-3 vote of confidence, that puts her in a strong position to do what has to be done without having to wear body armour on her back.


Maybe this 7-3 vote will <!--break-->help Dr. McGriff feel she is backed and therefore can take some chances. I have made no secret of the fact that I feel my kid has not received a fair deal from the school systems he has been in. There are some special circumstances and maybe it would not have mattered where we were, I would still feel the same way. Who knows?

What I do know is that every time I have been in a place that Dr. McGriff responds to an issue, she has been on the defensive. You only get that way when you feel you are not supported. I have been doing a lot of thinking on the school issues after a very lengthy conversation with a BOE member. Here are the things I have noticed...

1) Dr. McGriff is always passionate when defending our schools. She is not indifferent to the plight of our children.

2) She is intelligent. This means she knows when she makes a decision that is not going to be popular. She often does it anyway. She has courage and would rather act than be popular.

3) She does not like anything that reflects poorly on our system or degrades our system. She will go to bat for our kids.

I may not always like her choices or the things going on in our schools, but you gotta respect Dr. McGriff. She has a "hard row to hoe" and has not laid down that hoe!

I would like to see what happened to our school system if she felt less on the defense and more able to tackle our issues offensively. I remember when she first came here, thinking she has some great ideas for our kids. It is hard to bring about change in a community that is quick to criticize the current situation while fighting you with every breath to prevent change.

Good Luck Dr. McGriff,

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