Letter to the Editor

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Letter to the Editor

My name is Dena May and I recently retired from New Boston ISD after teaching there for 29 years. Most of those years were a tremendous blessing. I walked away from the last 3 years  questioning  in my heart if I wanted to continue in education.


     I will get to the point. I became dismayed with my job as a teacher after watching Dr. Neshyba devastate the campus I considered home. The day she removed Jennifer Cokeley as principal was the beginning of the end. Now that Patty Green has resigned there is not ONE administrator who was here when Dr. Neshyba came. The Special Education director, Athletic Director, each principal and assistant principal have all left in spades.


    This isn’t news to you. You know it. What you may NOT realize is that the chaos caused by poor leadership brings fewer great teachers to the district. The ones who are strong see the dysfunction, and leave. Prior to Dr. Neshyba taking the reigns as superintendent, I had never seen a teacher resign mid year. Now, it seems to be a common occurrence.  I saw two teachers leave mid year in one  5th class. I was moved to that position in January and ended my career for New Boston with that amazing group of students who had been in uncertainty the first half of the  year.  Look back on the past three years. New Boston ISD used to  be known as one of the top schools in the area. Now, it’s known as the district with a large staff turnover and public debacles that have shocked staff and students.


    Jennifer Cokeley was an amazing principal. I worked for her and know how she loved and succeeded in  leading our campus. Angela Hastings was another fantastic leader. The strain of staff turnover and unrealistic expectations from above was too much. You lost TWO of the best principals  in Bowie County at one campus within three years.


     I’ve heard the blame repeatedly cast on the high poverty level in the district.  That didn’t happen overnight, but what did seem to happen was the mass exodus of students from higher income families to neighboring school districts. I’ve already been contacted by a friend today who wants to move her children to another district. When the families from working parents remove their children, the poverty level is even more noticable. High income families are leaving because of the chaos. I wish I had another word but it is the only one that fits.


     I have a right to be concerned because I have three grandchildren in New Boston Schools. I have a right to  be hurt because I loved the district and felt it was my home. I have a right to be upset that Patty Green is no longer employed, on my grandson’s campus. I have worked for her and I know the dedication, organization, and leadership she exhibits daily. Personally, I don’t know how she has lasted this long under the current leadership. I would beg you to bring Patty back and remove Dr. Neshyba of all duties.


   I used to worry about speaking out about this issue. My concern outweighs my fear. I’m afraid this will be the rock bottom that New Boston has been heading for and it will take forever to rebuild. I beg you to look at the facts. Then, look at the real people who are hurt by the poor decision making. Look at the  students. My 5th grade class from last year is a perfect example. The seniors who tell me they have had a new principal each year is another example. So are the band students with 4 band directors in 3 years as are the administrators who feel they have PTSD after working for New Boston ISD.  The teachers are the silent victims in this mess.  Most are unable to speak out for fear of retribution, yet working harder than ever to keep up with growing demands.


   When Dr. Neshyba was hired, I was approached by a friend from Red Lick. She told me that our district would be destroyed. She said they had a prayer circle to get rid of her as superintendent. I believed she was exaggerating. In hindsight, I know it to be true. The district has been destroyed and I blame Dr. Neshyba. If you allow this to continue, I blame you.


   Patty Green does not deserve what has happened to her. Nor do the teachers  or students on Oakview campus. I can tell you from experience the teachers  are shaken and unsure of their future. The campus is broken.   You can not repair the damage from the past three years but you can repair this. Please try.


Dena May
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