FAIRFIELD — A teacher described as “the rock of Fairfield High School” resigned Thursday and told Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees, “I can’t work for this district anymore.”
“I just don’t think I can work for a district that I think is morally and ethically wrong,” said Gretchen Schwab, 36.
She praised Tim Halloran, the Fairfield High School principal who resigned this month.
“We had the leadership of an amazing principal,” Schwab told trustees – and added, “You don’t listen to us.”
Halloran, 54, has said secrecy is the norm in the school district managed by fear, intimidation and bullying – and that Fairfield-Suisun district administrators harassed him out of his job.
Statements made Thursday by Schwab and other teachers, as well as students, came during the public comment portion of the meeting.
Judi Honeychurch, president-elect of the board, said trustees don’t comment about statements made during that part of the school board meeting.
Before teachers and students spoke to support Halloran, the school district superintendent, board president and Honeychurch made statements about the Fairfield-Suisun district with a student enrollment of about 21,500.
David Isom, board president, said in a statement read Thursday that the school district was receiving a lot of negative attention, said he supported Superintendent Kris Corey and other district administrators and that all of the gossip he’s heard is just that – gossip.
He said all will be well if the media and others fueling negative energy focused on Fairfield-Suisun’s mission.
Honeychurch said the school board has an excellent superintendent and urged people to be role models for students. Corey said blogs have become a socially accepted form for cyberbullying and said she hopes adults will promote kindness.
During public comment, Fairfield High teacher Mary Llewelyn thanked Halloran for all his hard work. She said she was a skeptic when the principal arrived two years ago but became a believer.
Now, Llewelyn said, “We at Fairfield High School are left in a cloud of anxiety and uncertainty.”
Cynthia Coble told trustees she’s been teaching at the school for seven years and that Fairfield High has come so far – but keeps getting kicked and knocked down. She said she hopes Kristen Witt, named Thursday as the new principal, can follow in Halloran’s footsteps.
Environmental science teacher Jill Bolduc said Fairfield High had a school administration that supported its staff.
“I’m sad to see that ending,” Bolduc said.
Student Malcom Tyson said of Halloran, “We appreciate everything he’s done,” and asked how the school district could bully Halloran until he decided to quit.
Public comment didn’t begin until 90 minutes into the meeting and Fairfield High teacher Beth Traub said the Vallejo School District moves up such statements to the first hour – especially when students wish to speak.
Traub said the delay didn’t deter the youths.
“These kids are not going to leave until they have their say,” she said.
Kelsi Savko, student body president at Fairfield High, after the meeting described teacher Schwab as the rock of the school, said she’s saddened by her resignation and praised principal Halloran’s work.
“You see such a positive change,” Savko said of the school. And then, she said, referring to the school district administration, “It’s taken away by the snap of a finger.”
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