Monday, February 10, 2014

Breaking News!!! Dr. Schuster Resigns: Last Day With D181 will be June 30, 2014

Tonight, President Marty Turek announced that Dr. Schuster’s submitted her resignation effective June 30, 2014. The reason provided was so she could move back to Missouri for family reasons.  

Stay tuned for further details…


Anonymous said...

Mr. Wick - I'm surprised you didn't attend the BOE meeting this evening. Any comments now that Schuster is out?

I'm hopeful that the rest of her foot soldiers will follow right behind her and we can get this district back on the right track again.

Anonymous said...

So let's see, will they bring back Bob Sabatino as Interim or maybe just go right to Kevin Russell? Or maybe Mary Tichnor or Janet Stutz want to come back?

As much as I won't miss Dr. Schuster, I hope BOE will not look to any of the above.

Anonymous said...

Promoting any of the assistant superintendents would be a huge mistake. Having approved $38,000 tonight for a new "punch card" system to clock the janitors in and out of work, let's hope the board is willing to pay the $25,000 or so it will cost to hire a search firm to conduct a legitimate search and find a proven experienced superintendent to run D181. God knows our students and teachers deserve it.

Anonymous said...

All I have to say is thank God!

Anonymous said...

It may be a mistake, but here is how that comes to be:

1 -Hire a search firm
2 -Search firm says "No Way" can we find a candidate by July 1
3 - Appoint Russell "Interim"
4 - Russell submits to be considered by search firm
5 - Russell comes out as best candidate because he now has "experience" running the District.

Since when does the BOE not make mistakes?

Anonymous said...

Even though Schuster is out, she has left a huge mess to clean up. Kevin Russell is not qualified to fix this. He has helped create it. 25% of 4th graders needing grade level tutoring is unacceptable. And we don't even know what criteria was needed so students were provided this service. I'm sure it was the most conservatitive approach ever. What 4th grader who was slammed through 3rd and 4th grade math wouldn't need extra help. The parents are already doing it. Growth in MAP scores will be a reflection on parental/professional tutoring. ALP/LFA does not meet the needs of every student. It does not work. It doesn't work for the truly advanced student and it doesn't work for the average or below average student. How can it work for any student when units are skipped and concepts are cherry picked. No, Kevin Russell is not qualified to run the learning department, much less adding on the responsibilities of the entire district. How on earth would he be able to address the issues surrounding HMS? There is a reason that Dr Schuster resigned. She drove this district into the ditch and knows it. And instead of fixing it, she wanted to cut and run. Well, that's fine with me, but I expect the Board to find a qualified interim and then a rock star. Someone who truly cares about the students and this town. Someone who can get the bus out of the ditch!

Dirk Diggler said...

This is a good start. No more cover for the incompetent Kevin Russell, Dawn Benaitis, Christine Igoe, et. al. Take a hint and hit the bricks. We deserve better.

Anonymous said...

This is a good time for the K-boys (Kevin and Kurt) to take their Learning for all plan to a different place far far away.
No more experimental education!

Dirk Diggler said...

Pardon me for forgetting Kurt Schneider. In my defense, he is entirely forgettable.

Anonymous said...

The Parents are very slow to post an update of last night's meeting. Now that you've gotten your way and the superintendent is gone, maybe you should address the obnoxious way Ms. Mayer addressed the BOE and the community last night.

Anonymous said...

What is Anonymous talking about? Mrs. Mayer was not obnoxious to the board or the community. She was spot on in her criticism of Mr. Turek and Mr. Nelson. She outed Mr. Turek for the hyprocrite and bully that he has become and called for his resignation as board president. She outed Mr. Nelson for not attending board meetings and behaving like the curtained wizard in the wizard of Oz. She called for his resignation. Thank you Mrs. Mayer for saying out loud what many of us in the community have been thinking. She showed guts and courage standing up to these "elected officials" who are full of themselves and should step aside along with Dr. Schuster. I can only guess which one of them posted this ridiculous comment? Everyone should listen to the public comments from last night. Mrs. Mayer, former board Member Ann Mueller and Parent Matt Bousquette all spoke out. They should be commended and not criticized for exercising their first amendment freedom of speech. It is too bad that more people don't do the same thing.

The Parents said...

Anonymous: The short post from last night addressed the main event from last night's meeting. We have no more information at this time on the topic of Dr. Schuster's resignation. We will post a summary of the rest of the meeting in the next couple of days. Sorry if we are not turning the news around fast enough for you. Not seeing anything covered by the local press, either.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

So, somebody stands up a board meeting and they are immediately flamed. Nice. If you want to know why we like to be anonymous, its because if you put your name out front you will be abused.

Eddie Cajun

Anonymous said...

The district has a history of administrative turnover. When you look at comments that are said verbally or electronically it is punishing to work in that environment. When the School Board interviewed candidates, Renee Schuster stood out amongst all of the other choices and was immediately hired with an enthusiastic 7-0 vote. You can look up the membership to see who voted yes.

Since Dr. Schuster has joined the district, the Gifted Program has been repurposed from its "indefensible" standing, special education has been transformed and the district received state endorsement to withdraw from LADSE improving services and lowering costs. Differentiation has improved in the classroom. Three Asst. Superintendents have been hired by other districts as Superintendents, an endorsement of the district's performance and people development and two Asst. Superintendents have been promoted from within. The district's finances have remained on track and the schools are well within budget and there has been no need for a referendum.

The HMS situation and the weather have been challenging for all concerned. Hopefully, that is past us as well.

When I joined the Board, Administrators did not want to work in District 181 due to the treatment that they received and administrative turnover was extremely high which limited organizational effectiveness. Potential candidates for Superintendent will read your blog and listen to the podcasts of the meetings and will decline consideration for the position.
It is truly disappointing that we have lost Renee Schuster who is a fine educator and a fine person. Our School Board now faces the burden of a Superintendent search which is a lengthy and challenging process following their substantial efforts during the HMS situation. As I have said many times, School Boards are like Bears Quarterbacks. People think the current one isnt working out, but that next one is going to be the answer. Everyone has the opportunity to step up and volunteer to serve as a School Board member, and in doing so can take responsibility for every important issue.

I have called Marty Turek in the past few weeks to thank him and the Board for their service.

I have no hesitation in signing this, and will consider the source of any comments that will undoubtedly follow. I have kept a copy of my remarks to ensure that if they are posted, they are posted accurately.

Marc Monyek

Anonymous said...

After all Yvonne Mayer has been through in this district, she should be commended for her resilience. She has been lied to and mistreated over and over again. She was physically assaulted in a BOE meeting while Turek and Nelson witnessed it, yet then, denied it happened. She has filed FOIAs on behalf of our children when those same board members and administrators tried to thwart the truth from coming to light. People have even ridiculed her for all of this, yet she never gave up in trying to do the best for ALL of our children, no matter how emotionally painful and trying this has been. The fact that she did all of this, as a volunteer - no salary or pension in sight, shows that she is not self serving in the slightest bit. I respect her and hope that if my children are ever treated the way she was, that they will find the strength and the grit within themselves to stand up to the bullies like Mrs. Meyer did.

If blaming the victim for fighting back for her (and our) children's and her own behalf, and exposing the awful, yet soft spoken, smiling people who treated her like dirt is considered obnoxious, I would hate to see what the critical anonymous poster thinks is civil. Perhaps he would advise Yvonne to meekly accept injustice and say, "Yes sir, may I have another"? What century do you live in? That is the opposite of democracy and transparency.

Lesser people would have given up or resorted to backstabbing gossip a long time ago. The fact that Mrs. Meyer expressed her frustration directly to the people who caused it should be "celebrated", not ridiculed. If we can celebrate mold, but can not celebrate the democratic process, what kind of a world do we live in? If Mrs. Meyer, and others, had not been treated obnoxiously by the district and the BOE for YEARS, then she never would have spoken to them like that. But "when in Rome", you have to speak in a language that the natives understand. Dr. Schuster finally got the message. Hopefully Nelson, Turek, and the other administrators will, too.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Monyek,

Your drinking the cool aid. Any high achieving district is probably more challenging to work in, but if your intelligent, have clarity in your leadership and the curriculum is proven, you will be respected and treated well, most likely more than well. This district is made up of some amazing parents and kids. I hope potential candidates read through this blog so they understand what many in this district do not want. We don't want made up programs, last minute decisions, spin. We want the bar raised. I strongly disagree with you that differentiation has improved. I've seen no evidence of this whatsoever-and I don't blame the teachers because the lack of direction is appalling.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Matt Bousquette and Yvonne Mayer for being so passionate about ALL our children's education in D181.

Anonymous said...

For those of us who remember when Mark Monyek served on the D181 BOE, especially when he was the president of the board, it would be no genuine compliment to have him tell you that you were doing a good job. Monyek did nothing but demean community members when they would speak during public comment and bully individuals that didn't agree with him. Doesn't surprise me that Monyek thinks Schuster and Turek have done a good job. And, by the way, the high turnover in D181 administrators back when Monyek was on the BOE (along with Lisa Armonda, Mary Beth Tamm and Kitty Delany) was a case of people running away from a nasty, unreasonable BOE. Get your facts straight, Mark.

Anonymous said...


What are your qualifications to make such broad statements in support of how our special education department works now, in comparison to the past? I have a postgraduate degree in education, and have worked with children in schools for 20 years. Plus, I had children in the district when the highly respected LADSE was place, and still have them in the district now. The drop in quality, teacher support, and services under the watch of Christine Igoe and Dr. Kurt Schneider has been terrible.

Ask anyone whose children have IEPs or 504s, and you will get a similar response. Sometimes, when these parents are the "squeaky wheels" and threaten to sue or file complaints with the ISBE about treatment, those same parents are instantly rewarded with laptops, or the services they initially asked for. Igoe and Russick give in only because they know they will be made to comply anyway.

There are no longer any standards and parents are forced to hire lawyers or advocates when they go to meetings. And the RTI process is one thing on paper, but a VERY different animal when parents an teachers try to put it in action. There are not enough differentiating specialists to support it. All words and no substance or follow through.

The most shocking thing is how Christine Igoe bullies parents, teachers and principals into compliance, even when they know she is wrong. But, for fear of their jobs, they stand down and submit to her and Donna Rusick's poor decisions. Even when we come in with professional reports, from people who are much more qualified than some of those therapists that serve as our district's special ed advisors, D181 quickly dismiss them. The situation has gotten worse. Losing LADSE was just an example of how this district did away with standards and fairness just so our administrators could get push their own agendas and have no one contradict them at meetings.

And as far as differentiation goes, Mr. Monyek, again, you clearly do not have any real knowledge or background to know what you are talking about. You are probably just relying on your own, limited experience of you with your own children, but have no idea what real differentiation should, and does, look like in other places. Anyone who hired Renee Schuster to run our district was duped, or made a huge mistake. It is okay to admit it. It happens all the time. But there is no way that any team would have kept Renee on as quarterback for another season.

Stick to the football, Mark. You clearly have no clue about education.

181 Parent

Anonymous said...

Well said.

(on a different topic) I don't know anything about when the BOE had committees, but if this would help vet out ideas, goals, community vision, then it should be looked at again. I'm sure being on the BOE is extremely time consuming (if your doing your job) that if the community can help-let us help!

Anonymous said...

181 Parent, you are spot on.

As the parent of a child with an IEP, I have watched with utter disbelief the way Christine Igoe and Donna Russick operate.

The decision to drop LADSE was predominately budget-driven (and to a lesser extent, a power grab). What you have in its place is a half-assed process with inexperienced, clueless people in charge that are more concerned about advancing their careers than providing required services. "Cut $2 million in costs" sounds better on an administrator's resume than "I provided the necessary resources to help a child succeed."

My other child sits in elementary school bored out of her mind. She is so not challenged and there are no resources in place to do so.

How Marty Turek can say that we are better off because of Schuster is laughable.

And bravo to Yvonne Mayer for standing tall. There are many of us who admire and appreciate your courage.

jay_wick said...

While I ought to be very last person to agree with Mr. Monyek, the fact is his comments are spot-on about what will happen when any sane / competent superintendent or other administrative candidates uses google to do some basic research on the kind of situation they might expect in the district -- they will run from this toxicity.

Honestly if any of you put more than a moments thought into the portrait painted here you might realize that when folks with WIDELY divergent views of the district's direction agree that the noise here is non-productive maybe there is something more important than venting at stake.

Think too of what sorts of administrators will go forward with the selection process with this kind of criticism in full flame -- mercenary hacks, yes men that know full well that the only folks they have to keep happy are the current majority of the BOE, folks that have already shown what low standards they have.

Continue your rantings. I can do a lot more good more for my own kids and the broader community rejecting the silliness offered up here and attending the BOE meetings in person / listening to streamed meeting. I would urge others to do the same.

Grateful Parent said...

Part 1 of 2. Mr. Monyek and Mr. Wick: As a parent who has attended many board meetings over the years, has met with board members, met with administrators, gone to community engagement meetings and followed D181 issues quite carefully, I think you are both wrong that this blog will drive potential applicants away. This blog exists because no other forum was available for concerned parents to voice their concerns and have someone really listen and engage them in discussions. Having personally tried all the avenues I listed above, I know from personal experience that this current administration and majority of the board don't seem willing or capable of even having a basic public discussion regarding parent concerns for their students. If someone does their research on D181, including an internet search, they will find this blog, but also find many news articles written about the very issues the bloggers are reporting on. A potential applicant will only need to read the blog to realize it is a relatively new source of information, started last summer after parents became fed up with the lack of responsiveness by the administrators and majority of board members to important issues they wanted discussed, all to no avail. A potential applicant will realize that the D181 community is crying out for a responsive leader who will do more than try to revolutionize a system that while not perfect, was not broken, the way some of the current administrators like to suggest as justification for ramming a social justice philosophy down everyone's throats and forcing a gifted acceleration model on all students, regardless of ability. Much harm has been done to many students in this district as a result of the curriculum changes brought by the current administration. There has been no accountability for this damage and no willingness by the board to discuss the data or issues or concerns raised by parents whose students are hurting and whose self-esteem is being destroyed.

Grateful Parent said...

Part 2 of 2:
Only two board members have asked for data, and but for their questions, the board would not have learned yesterday that 25% of the 4th grade students are in need of after school tutoring in the accelerated math model. Neither Dr. Schuster, Dr. Schneider, Dr. Russell, Ms. Igoe or Ms. Benaitis brought this information to the board on their own. A single board member had to ask for it. That is not right. And once presented, the board did not even discuss the damning data. I hope that an applicant is out there who will take the time to read this blog and realize that now D181 is broken in many areas and needs someone with maturity, experience and a willingness to be transparent and truly engage the community -- not just pretend to in orchestrated community engagement sessions. Last time around, the naysayers said superintendent candidates would not apply to fill the opening left by Jim Tenbusch and then filled temporarily for 2 years by Interim Superintendent Sabatino (a decision I believe was made by the board rather than conduct a search right after Tenbush left 11 months after he was hired). Back then it wasn't bloggers, but nasty vicious board members who were pursuing personal agendas and who systematically drove out over a dozen administrators who caused the "negativity.". However, when the search was finally conducted, all the "negative energy" didn't stop many administrators from applying for the superintendents job. There were plenty of candidates. There will be candidates this time around as well, and if there aren't as many, it won't be because of this blog. It will be because a candidate makes a decision that the "mess" D181 finds itself in is not something they want to step into. This is not a mess created by bloggers or concerned parents. It is a mess created by the people running the district. Now we need someone to come in and help get the district get back on track. We need someone who will right the ship, so to speak, that is sinking with many children floundering with it, not because of concerns raised by parents, but because of inappropriate and educationally irresponsible curriculum changes made by the current administration. If someone with experience, who is open, transparent and reasonable is hired, and undertakes to ensure that all students are taught at their appropriate level, I am confident the community, parents, staff and teachers will embrace him/her. But right now, that is not happening, and as much as you want to bash the bloggers or parents who submit comments on the blog, the reality is that change was needed, and I for one am grateful that it is going to happen.

Anonymous said...

Very true, Grateful Parent. I think it's an ideal time for anyone to come in. It would be hard to look bad after what Schusschneirussigoeitis has done to us! Even if someone came in, admitting that they knew nothing, but that they were willing to base their decisions on evidence based research they just pulled off any national educational websites, or, that they are willing to consider what any more successful district in the country is doing, it would be a major improvement! Let's not sell ourselves short. Administrators and teachers around the world are salivating for the chance to work here.

The Parents said...

We have been asked to remove certain comments from this blog. We will do so, as we have always done when requested to.

Anonymous said...

Well said grateful parent!!! I hope Mr. Monyek and Mr. ________ take your words to heart

Anonymous said...

Why did you remove comments?

Anonymous said...

She's leaving because of D181 Blog parents? I thought she said she was leaving because of HER parents. More lack of transparency?

The Parents said...

Anonymous: We were asked to remove any comments that reference a name of someone in the community. We will respect that individual's desire to remain anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Schuster is has said she is leaving because of care associated with her parents, seems more specific than the oft heard political cop out of "spend more with family".

Maybe some things ought to be off limits. Having dealt with parents with age related maladies I can't say that I would wish that anyone...

Dig Dirkler

Anonymous said...

No comments on this?

District 181 staff harassed by anonymous Facebook posts Hmm wonder where anyone gets such ideas?

Ragin' Cajon

not so obtuse after all said...

So, J Wick loves to taunt us all for being anonymous, but he freaks out when we figure out his true identity?

Anonymous said...

Post 1 of 2 Parts

Why the folks on this blog will ultimately fail to do anything positive for themselves, their children or the community:

Researchers show false beliefs immune to corrective facts.

Futility of online arguments.

Why internet forums are ruled by trolls.

Win a place in the internet hall of fame.

For those who've already stated they see life as an opportunity to eat popcorn on the sidelines it is no wonder why they continue to waste unlimited time on pointless arguments that are clearly outside their control.

Concerned Adult

Anonymous said...

Part 2 of 2 part post.

Ultimately the pitfalls of posting on a site that allows selective editing of posts and encourages anonymous posting should not just be frowned on but abhorred when the stated purpose of such a site is the betterment of education; numerous tragic examples of such anonymity should cause any rational adult to avoid any such site.

Gatehouse newspapers make right choice to require only real identities in comments section.

UK's daily The Independent moves to comment system that requires real identity

Anonymous posts drive teen to tragic end

Concerned Adult

The Parents said...

Concerned Parent: Just to be clear. We do not "selectively edit" anything. Yesterday, at the request of a community member we removed any comment that referenced his name. We "edited" his name out of one such comment that also dealt with other things. We have refused to publish very few (less than five) comments that were -- to use your words -- so "abhorrent" that we chose to delete them.

Everyone can make a personal decision on whether or not to read this blog.

Anonymous said...

As the above links clearly show it is of course impossible to win and argument with an online bully.

I would only encourage other parents to read those links, understand the massive pitfalls of continuing to utilize this site and its phony system of anonymity so that they can protect themselves and their children from its life threatening dangers.

Don't Talk To Stranger Online | Attorney General

Concerned Adult

Parent Who Supports This Blog said...

Concerned Parent: There is a difference between cyber-bullying and a politically based blog that is intended to address "public" issues. As the bloggers already reminded you, everyone can personally decide whether to read this site or not. I have no problem with what is on this site because it is allowing people to exercise their freedom of speech rights to address problems they see with a publicly, tax payer funded entity (that also has elected officials, many of whom are refusing to do their jobs), that in their opinion are causing harm to students. Parents who are advocating for a public school system that does not end up hurting their students have every right to be vocal. Clearly, the board president tries to shut public discourse down during the public meetings. There are no Town Halls set up that allow people to be "seen," identified or heard, despite repeated requests by community members and even some former board members for such a forum. "Lunch and Learns" are hardly a substitute. Perhaps when the board and administration start behaving in an open, transparent and accountable fashion, making themselves available to actually discuss the issues of the day, the bloggers and all of us concerned parents out there will stand down. You may not like my opinion, but I have as much right as you to have one. I plan to continue reading this blog and I know many other parents who will also.

Parent Who Also Supports this Blog said...

Concerned Adult: I agree with the comment of Parent Who Supports this Blog. I would add that maybe when the real bullies -- Turek, Nelson and might I add, even Yaeger --stop their tactics, there would be less political criticism of their behavior. As a parent who has had the door essentially slammed in my face when I have tried to voice concerns with sitting administrators, I appreciate this blog opening the door for me to vent, along with others -- including teachers!

Anonymous said...

To those that "support" this blog:

You may feel that 'venting' is your right, and you may very well be correct however I would warn you that many people are on the internet only as a means of annoying inciting others:

Assessing Web Safety | Palo Alto Medical Foundation

Concerned Adult

The Parents said...

Concerned Adult: You are right that there are people who only use the internet to annoy and incite others. Guess we'll have to agree to disagree that the sole purpose of this blog is to do that. It certainly is not.

Anonymous said...

There are many serious concerns in our school district. This silly dialogue concerning whether people should or should not be reading this blog is an annoying distraction. Please stop reading this blog if all you are concerned with is names of contributors and the dangers of the Internet. Let's please stay on the topics that concern our children.
I most respectfully request that the Mr's start their own blog and vent away concerning the dangers of free and public discourse.
Our children's education is far to important to allow these silly people to get us off course.

The Parents said...

We agree with the last statement from Anonymous and our exercising our right as the Bloggers to no longer publish comments that are off topic. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Let's really understand more about who is slamming the door in whose face.

If the blog owner truly belives in free speach and the rights of people to big abuses to light perhaps they should practice what they preach

My post above was edited to remove pertinent link.

Tips for Internet Arguements

Perhaps the site owner is too thin skinned to post when some of the descriptions hit close to home:

They know all there is to know about whatever tedious subject it is that the particular forum board deals with. They are recognised as the board guru and are proud of their status. They will become more and more pompous as a result of this position. A little pricking of that pomposity is no bad thing.

Or perhaps:

Immune to reason, devoid of intelligence, but with an unshakeable belief in the rightness of his argument.

If the heat is too hot in this kitchen when these simple posts show how petty and arbitary The Parents can be perhaps others will understand way anonymous posting cannot help but divide people.

When these curious delitions come to light on other forums the true natue of the owners of this site will come to light...

Concerned Adult

The Parents said...

Concerned Adult: We have published your most recent comment because we are outraged that you would suggest that we edited out a link. We did no such thing. Perhaps you are now fabricating these accusations in order to try and make us look like have censored your speech. Up to this point in time, we have not done so, however, we have decided that we will no longer publish links that are unrelated to D181 issues. If you would like to do so, then take the suggestion of the last anonymous parent and set up your own blog. Mr. "Wick" has already done so, so maybe you can join forces. As for us, we will continue to blog and if you don't like what we post, then don't read it.

Anonymous said...

To Wick/Concerned Adult:

If you have such a problem with this blog, do everyone(including yourself) a favor and get off.

Your hypocritical statements about the evils of anonymous posts are just nonsense. You are not adding to the dialogue about transparency or how to make our school district better, at all.

If you post again, I am outing you on this blog, and any other blog I can get my hands on. I suggest everyone else do the same. I do not think anyone should protect his identity any more.
He doesn't' deserve it.