Written by: Jeremy Baumhower
It’s been over 48 hours since the first Freedom Of Information ACT (FOIA) request was sent to Washington Local School’s Dr. Susan Hayward. A WLS taxpayer was wanting to receive a copy of an email sent to Dr. Hayward and members of the board of education sent by a former employee who worked for 30 years, and was hired by the district in 2009. The email was sent at 11:55 pm on January 29th from Sharon Giles, the former administrative secretary to the superintendent.
There have been additional FOIA requests (by other residents) asking for the same communication sent by Giles.
The 48-hour delay (and counting) FOIA response is a stark contrast when compared to other requests by residents and media entities. The reason is content.
Sharon Giles’ scathing email sheds light on Dr. Hayward’s alleged behavior, and even alleges a previously undisclosed potential conflict between Dr. Hayward and WLS treasurer, Jeffrey Fouke.
Dr. Hayward had requested her contract be given an 3-year extension at the January board meeting. She still has 1.5 years remaining on the current agreement. Her request was voted down 3-2, with David Hunter and Thomas Ilstrup voting in favor and Lisa Canales, Patrick Hickey and Mark Hughes abstaining.
iHeartGlassCity has obtained the email authored by Giles and is making it public for the first time. It was sent in response to Hayward’s contract extension request.
“Dear Susan and WLS Board of Education Members:
Thank you very much for providing me with fifteen months of full pay, district-paid health benefits and district-paid retirement system contributions with no commitment to work for Washington Local Schools. Those fifteen months allowed me to be with my father-in-law during his last few months alive. It also provided me with a great opportunity to use my skills and talents as a volunteer Executive Assistant at a faith-based organization. My work, in turn, saved that organization thousands of dollars, so your generosity and that of the WLS taxpayers has not gone unnoticed. That time also gave me 30 years in the SERS system and has allowed me to retire.
Four short years ago, Washington Local was named a 2014 Top Workplace. This was all due to a lengthy process and confidential survey conducted by an independent agency. The true intentions of certain Board members became apparent with that designation as, they insisted that the staff members were pressured by the superintendent at the time to answer the questions in the anonymous survey in a positive manner. That was the first sign of the evil that was to take over the district.
Over the last four years and currently, Board members have drastically misplaced the focus of their elected positions. When they should have been working together and supporting the district and its leadership, they took a lead in destruction. Since 2014, Board members have shared confidential information, made unilateral decisions and given directives based on their hate for a certain individual. Pat Carmean unilaterally directed Susan to remove ALL videos that Patrick was in from the website, including Opening Day, Annual Memories and State of the District (August 6, 2016 email). Jim Langenderfer is an expert at working his evil behind the scenes and using others to cause destruction. Eric Kiser, mentored as a Board member by Tom Ilstrup, spent much time making appearances and disrupting schools and offices so he could be seen, but had little else to offer during his time on the Board. Eric and Pat continue to use social media to spread and promote hate and destruction. David Hunter directed me to meet Patrick off Lincolnshire grounds to retrieve his resignation in December, 2015—what a cowardly act. He also individually directed all pictures of Patrick on the Lincolnshire hallway graphic display (other than the biography) and the mention of him being named the #1 Leader to be covered up—at a cost to taxpayers. Lisa Canales, who admitted to me in January of 2016 that the Board wanted to get rid of me, vowed that she had my back—empty words from someone who aspires to be a politician. Tom Ilstrup chose not to communicate with me for the last several months of 2015 when he served as Board president, finally admitting to me that he “didn’t know what to say.” How cowardly, evil and spiteful these individuals are. YOU are the people who created and continue to create chaos and instigate hate within the Washington Local district and community.
I challenge each of you to examine yourself, the past Board, and the damage that has been done. Evil has spread with rumors, allegations, and personal attacks at Board meetings (which have not been allowed in the past)—all with no attempt from the Board to reign it in. It appears that the evildoers, including Tom Ilstrup who, as a Board member ranted for ten minutes at the organizational meeting spewing hate for Patrick and who, along with Eric Kiser and Pat Carmean, continues to fuel the fire on social media, are the ones who keep this at the forefront and hinder the ability of the district to move on. When will this Board step up and have the courage to say enough is enough and begin to lead and focus on the Washington Local Schools instead of on one individual?
I have little faith that the leadership of this Board or the superintendent has the desire, ethics, honesty, integrity, courage or skills to heal this district. Tom has assigned David and himself to be Board representatives for negotiations. How unethical! These are the only two Board members who have a vested family interest in the contracts, each having multiple children who teach in the district.
It was unbelievable to me that Tom, as a newly seated Board member, requested that his fellow Board members extend contracts for the treasurer—a month BEFORE his evaluation—and the treasurer’s aunt, the superintendent—whom he has never worked with! Does Tom even realize that behind closed doors the only three Board members who were in favor of hiring Susan are now no longer on the Board? A few weeks into her tenure when a difficult situation arose with the Board, I asked Susan if she would have still taken this position if she knew what the Board was like. She said when Patty and Jim visited Beavercreek, they told her everything that was going on. Eric Kiser, one of the three Board members who supported hiring Susan, was “mentored” by Tom Ilstrup, so I suppose it shouldn’t be such a surprise that Tom is pushing for a contract extension without even working with her. I applaud the three Board members who abstained on the motion to extend the superintendent’s contract to give them time to work with and evaluate her before agreeing to her continued leadership in Washington Local Schools.
On May 25, 2016, during the Superintendent Candidates Introduction (the video is available on the WLS website), Susan told the audience that she has a servant’s heart. She mentioned that her mom taught her to “treat people with great respect and fairness” and “she lived that throughout her childhood and still takes that very serious today.” Having worked with Susan Hayward for seven weeks, I can assure you that her words are empty and there is no credibility to her statements. My experience with her showed me how devious, mean-spirited and deficient she is as a true leader. Leadership matters in the success— or failure—of an organization!
I was forewarned about Susan in an anonymous voicemail (recording available upon request) from someone at Beavercreek who, among other things, stated that Susan is “a cancer” to their district and as her secretary, I should “watch my back” and “probably want to look for another job.” After I shared the voicemail with Susan, she said that the caller was the wife of a Beavercreek Board member who has done this sort of thing in the past. Susan was extremely upset and immediately went into her office to call Beavercreek to demand that they handle this person.
Susan often mentions that she is an “educational leader,” but I believe she is a dictator who lacks the skills to be an effective leader. It was evident to me within the first few weeks of Susan’s employment at Washington Local that her management style was drastically different from what the district was accustomed to. Comments she made to me spoke volumes about her leadership style: “There will be no more of that site-based management”; “If I fail this year, it will be because of the principals, not me”; and if any of the principals are heard speaking against what I say, they will immediately be sitting in this office. These comments are indicative of someone who instills fear, but doesn’t work with people or empower others to succeed.
Susan directs others to do her work. She instructed me on two occasions to speak to administrators and inform them of her displeasure with their actions or work. When an EMIS form needed the superintendent’s signature on short notice, she instructed me to inform the EMIS Coordinator that “this” will not happen again, meaning the short notice. She also had me call the Director of Information Services and inform him of her displeasure with a situation. Susan directed me to write some of her emails to the staff and send them from her account. Although acknowledging that sympathy cards needed to be sent, she commented that there are too many and she had no idea what to write in the cards. Therefore, she directed me to draft the text for her so she could write the words inside the cards. For Board meetings, I was directed to write a script for the entire meeting that she could read word for word. I managed her Twitter account, captioning and posting pictures that she sent to me.
Susan boasted on more than one occasion how at Beavercreek every staff member in the administration building was new during her time there, alluding to her replacing staff members. Susan began replacing WLS staff members within seven weeks of beginning her employment. I was the first to go even though she was very complimentary of my work, telling me that she’s so glad I’m her secretary because I can follow what she says as quickly as she says it and that there’s no way she could have (name available upon request) as her secretary. In her first week in the district, Susan wrote me a thank you note saying “…I can’t express how grateful I am to have you as my secretary. Your experience, knowledge and skill set is invaluable to me! I am very lucky to have you as we travel through this journey together!” Shortly afterwards, she told me that every time she talks with David Hunter, he asks how I’m doing and how we’re getting along. She said she always speaks positively. I explained to her that I’m on the “hit list” and she assured me that I’m doing a great job and will remain as her secretary and that she would tell Mr. Hunter to stop asking. Susan sent me the following texts: “Without you, my transition would have been very stressful! I appreciate all your knowledge and skills!!!!” (August 3, 2016) and “You are a rock star” (August 12, 2016). Complimenting an employee and then removing the employee from their position four weeks later shows a complete lack of sincerity in her words and a lack of credibility.
When Susan mentioned to me that she could reassign a certain Central Office secretary for insubordination, I reminded her that the secretary is a friend to Pat Carmean, Board member. Susan said that didn’t matter and all she would do is call Pat and tell her that she reassigned this secretary due to insubordination. Although she boasted that in Beavercreek she did behind-the-scenes work “save” teachers their jobs when termination was being pursued, that’s not the case in Washington Local when several teachers were removed instead of disciplined in response to an incident at camp. The trend continued as the HR Director was reassigned. I would caution everyone in the district, just as the anonymous caller did for me: watch your back and you might want to look for a new job!
Susan has an attitude of superiority that is evident in statements that she’s made and the tone of her voice. She told me that the Director of Technology’s title in his signature is incorrect because the EdD didn’t have the periods. She said he is incompetent, asked if he got his degree online, said she will never refer to him as “Doctor,” and asked me if I think he knows she doesn’t like him. At the 2016 golf outing, I was providing her with background information on the Board members. When I informed her that David had been in the seminary, she said, “David should have stayed in the seminary.” Prior to purchasing a home in the district, Susan rented a home in the district from her relative, Frank. Many times she told me, “Frank is poor,” and even said that she accidently broke a knick knack in his home and that is was cheap and probably from the dollar store. Leadership matters and putting others down is not the sign of a successful leader.
Susan had no idea about the WLS pride and public relations when she began her tenure. She asked me at one point if Washington Local is inner city. Had she done her homework on the district, she would have known the demographics of the students and community. She had no idea that the district had a Facebook account and didn’t even know the district’s website address. She had no idea what the mission statement was and when I mentioned one of the non-negotiables to her, she asked what those were. Upon providing them to her, she said she will create new ones. Several years ago, after much research, the district logo and tagline were created by the students and trademarked, thus branding the district. Susan couldn’t understand why an educational institution wouldn’t “properly” capitalize their tagline. That is all part of the branding! The district website now is using the tagline with capital letters. What happened to the pride in using the logo and tagline as it is trademarked and the protection of such?
Over the last several years, Washington Local has worked hard to be transparent to the students, staff, and community, but transparency is not what the Board has recently embraced. I noticed within days of Susan’s tenure that she rarely used email and would respond to my emails with brief and sometimes one-word responses. After I forwarded an email to her that was sent to all OAPSE staff to ensure that she was aware of the information it contained, she told me that I am to print union emails for her, but not forward them because it would appear that she was not upfront with the unions should a public records request be made. Additionally, she informed me that she was directed by the Board not to put anything in writing so it doesn’t become public record.
Susan’s questions and comments early in her tenure showed her true character and her lack of dedication to the WLS district and her position. When she found out about Victory Day and it being on a weekend, she commented that there are too many activities after hours and on weekends. When discussing her attendance at a football game early in the season, she asked if I thought anyone would notice if she stayed for 15 minutes and left. Susan’s cell phone number intentionally isn’t on her business card because she doesn’t want people calling her on it.
Shortly before I was “reassigned,” Susan made a comment to me that “Patrick has information that would only come from Central Office. I told the Board that it didn’t come from this office.” I thanked her for standing up for me and I assured her that I would not do anything to jeopardize my career. However, on September 12, 2016, I was called into Susan’s office, along with Cherie Mourlam, where Susan said, “I know you need only 11⁄2 years to retire.” She told me that she was “reassigning” me to DIS and that I would be given a Last Chance Agreement. I have never had written or verbal discipline in any of my jobs, yet the Last Chance Agreement—written by the expensive Columbus law firm— required me to be an “active participant” in counseling to address insubordination and disloyalty. Susan stated in our meeting on September 12, 2016, that she was “reassigning” me because (1) she had no confidence in my work, (2) my lack of loyalty to her, and (3) the Board and staff were complaining about me.
(1) Susan said that she lacked confidence in my work because of an email that I composed for her and sent from her email account at her request to all staff on September 2, 2016 with her weekly message where I misspelled superintendent in the subject line. I didn’t mind setting up and managing her Twitter account for her or composing and sending her all-staff emails, but to be told that one error shows lack of confidence in my work was incomprehensible. Everyone makes mistakes: my Separation Agreement—written by the expensive Columbus law firm—had three typos that I requested the district’s attorney fix; for several days, the WLS website had incorrect dates posted for the Candlelight Walk; and the annual calendar has numerous typos in it.
(2) Susan informed me that I lacked loyalty to her. She based this on the fact that I began following Patrick’s Intagram account in April of 2016 (four months prior to her tenure); that I “liked” a photo in June 2016 (two months prior to her tenure) that Patrick posted of himself and Mr. Erme; and was blind copied on an email that Patrick sent to Susan, the Board and several teachers and principals on August 29, 2016, and I didn’t inform her of that (Lisa Canales, Board Vice President at the time, was aware that I was blind copied on the email).
‘From: Patrick Hickey <firstname.lastname@example.org> Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 3:36 PM
To: “Yount, Sue” <email@example.com>
Cc: Hickey Sue <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Ann Burkart <ABurkart@wls4kids.org>, Carrie Wray <CWray@wls4kids.org>, email@example.com, Laura Geronimo-Riggs <LGeronimo-Riggs@wls4kids.org>, Ryan Brown <RBrown@wls4kids.org>, Joshua Adams <JAdams@wls4kids.org>, Krista Balwinski <KBalwinski@wls4kids.org>, firstname.lastname@example.org, Melissa Hieronimus <MHieronimus@wls4kids.org>, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Cherie Mourlam <CMourlam@wls4kids.org>, Treasurer Jeffery Fouke <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Brandon Bosch <BBosch@wls4kids.org>, Martin Kristie <KMartin@wls4kids.org>, Bert Bernhardt <ABernhardt@wls4kids.org>, Snook Tom <TSnook@wls4kids.org>, Lori Berryman <LBerryman@wls4kids.org>, Cassandra Studnicha-Kusic <CStudnicha-Kusic@wls4kids.org>, Colon Bill <WColon@wls4kids.org>, Amy Franco <AFranco@wls4kids.org>, Gerald Bell <GBell@wls4kids.org>, Brian Meyer <BMeyer@wls4kids.org>, Christine Williams <CWilliams@wls4kids.org>, Bill Magginis <WMagginis@wls4kids.org>, Kimberly Dedo <KDedo@wls4kids.org>, Lisa Morse <LMorse@wls4kids.org>
Dear Ms. Yount,
I am emailing to let you know I will be donating a sizable sum to the Panther Prowl 5k run as well as pushing a wheelchairbound student in this public race on public streets.
I still request permission to finish the final 100 yards on district property. Please advise as to this request.
I am also requesting permission to attend my daughters parent teacher conferences. As a parent and a taxpayer I will also contact her teachers, coaches, and any other district employee in relation to my daughter as I see fit. If the district fails to allow me on school property for parent teacher conferences, I will demand that these meetings occur off campus so I may be kept apprise of her progress and address any issues as they occur over the next three years. As you know I would also like to attend her basketball, softball, as well as any other extracurricular activity in which she participates. I will attend every away contest but I am, again, requesting to attend all home events where she participates.
Please be aware that I have been asked by numerous parents and employees to run for a board of education seat in 2017. It is never too early to begin campaigning and when I do so, I will be sure to ask for permission for access to functions in equal proportion to other candidates. In the short term I will avail myself to public sidewalks that may, or may not, be located on school property. I will remain on public sidewalks until I hear about other access.
I am copying this email to my wife, the board President, Vice President, Superintendent, Treasurer, Superintendent for Transition, Director of Security, organizers of the Panther Prowl (due to my participation and sponsorship donation to that event), the parent of the wheelchair bound student, my daughter Abby’s teachers and coaches (to keep them aware of my desire to be involved in her education curricularly and extra-curricularly), and all Principals in the school district (due to campaigning at their public events as well as the Principals where my daughter attends school).
As a taxpayer and Dad of a WLS student I am committed to my daughter and to the school district where she matriculates. I have received numerous requests to speak to the local media about WLS including an invitation yesterday to appear on 105.5’s morning show. I have declined these interviews for months and took down my social media presence that included over 6,000 followers months ago. I did these things in good faith and to allow time to heal the district.
It is my hope that granting the requests I have outlined in this email will allow the district to move forward and for me to be as involved in our amazing school district in equal proportion to the 14,000 other Moms and Dads who choose to send their children to our schools.
Please respond to my requests as soon as you are able. Sincerely,
I am still unclear as to how any of the events mentioned show disloyalty toward Susan, especially since the first two were prior to her tenure and the last I had no control over. On the contrary, my loyalty to Susan was quite evident on several occasions:
– 5/27/16 met with Eric Kiser, Board member, per his request to provide feedback on the superintendent candidates. I said that although I could work for any of the candidates, I thought Susan Hayward was the strongest one due to often mentioning “individualized” instruction and that she seemed to be the one most focused on kids.
-Sent Susan texts to ensure that she arrived back home safely after an interview and congratulated her on her hire.
– Met Susan on Sunday, July 10, 2016, at 2:00 pm to open building and assist her in moving her items from truck into C.O. (left a family function for this; unpaid time)
– Provided a month-by-month list of district and important events
-Provided a quick reference picture directory of administrators, secretaries and C.O. staff,
including relationships with each other and Board members and friendships
– Gave her a “Welcome to WLS” gift of $30 Foodie Cards
– When she mentioned that she could reassign one of the central office secretaries for
insubordination, I reminded her that the secretary is a friend to Pat Carmean, Board member. Susan said that didn’t matter and all she would do is call Pat and tell her that she reassigned the person due to insubordination.
-Drove her around area looking at houses to purchase; as directed by Susan, tracked down the owner of a house that she liked and called the owner to inquire if she wanted to sell her home.
– Drove her to golf outing and made introductions to staff (7/29/16)
– Stayed with her when her car broke down after golf outing which made me late for a prior
– Provided a word-for-word script for her for the Board meetings
– Spent my lunch hour shopping for Whitmer t-shirts for Victoria and Lewis (8/26/16)
– Set up and managed Susan’s Twitter account and posted Tweets during and after work hours
when she sent me pictures
– Spent four hours on Sunday night, August 28, 2016, working in the office while my husband and
I assembled 12 conference room chairs for Susan’s office
(3) Susan also mentioned that the Board and staff were complaining about me. However, when asked who and why, she had no response.
The day after I was “reassigned,” someone asked my husband at his workplace, “Why did they fire your wife?” In my position, I took great pride in maintaining confidentiality and can assure you that I told no one of my situation. I have no doubt that within days of my “reassignment,” the Board members realized that the “leak” of confidential information to social media was not done by me, but someone close to the situation—perhaps Susan herself. How would anyone know that I was “booted” (which I wasn’t) or “copped attitude” (which I didn’t) other than Susan Hayward and Cherie Mourlam who were the only two in the “reassignment” meeting?
In the face of evil and hatred over the last four years, I know that the Washington Local staff has continued to love and lift up kids—that’s the culture that was instilled in the staff. I hope that this Board recognizes what their focus should be and that it finds the courage to address the evil people who continue to attack and hinder the district from moving forward. I also hope this Board makes a leadership change and brings in a superintendent who can return WLS to a place of transparency, mutual respect and empowerment that it was when it was named the Top Workplace and was led by the #1 Leader in the region. Leadership matters and it’s in your hands.
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