24 October 2015
DELIVERED VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL
Ms. Kathleen Christy, Assistant Superintendent
℅ Department of Educational Equity Salt Lake City School District
440 East 100 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
Re: Letter of Apology
Dear Dr. Christy,
I am writing to apologize for the way that Superintendent McKell Withers treated you this past week when he announced the restructure of the superintendence’s office. While I do not speak for the man, you should know that I do not support his current recommendation (see attached).
Furthermore, in making the announcement this past Wednesday at the General Administrators Meeting (GAM), Mr. Withers acted outside of the bounds of his role. I was also told by those that were present that he stated words to the effect that he had not yet spoken to you but would get with you after the meeting to let you know “where you fit in”. That is so sad and ignorant.
Nevertheless, the authority to create and authorize new positions within the District rest with the Board of Education. The Board has not had the opportunity to sit in council and deliberate on this weighty matter. To that end, I have requested that this issue be placed on the Boards, November 3, 2015, meeting agenda.
Moreover, I object to the proposed appointment of an all WHITE District leadership within the Superintendent’s Office. I object to the appointment of all WHITE principals at the District’s five High Schools. Mr. Withers seems to ignore the fact that we are a MAJORITY, ethnic-minority school district! By my count, I find 18 adults of Color, currently employed by the District that have the same level of education or higher, than the three recommended appointees to the superintendency.
I find it significant, that all of the people of Color in my count, have or now serve as a Principal or Assistant Principal. In contrast, one of Mr. Wither’s recommended appointments has never served as a principal, another of the proposed appointees has only served as a Principal of a Charter school. Is that really enough experience to supervise administrators that have spent years working in Title I Schools? In this proposed restructure, what justification does Mr. Withers give for placing an African American women with an Ed.D into a subordinate position to a Caucasian man with a Masters degree? These are questions people within and out of the District are asking and they deserve to receive answers.
To date, my questions to the Mr. Withers have been met with scorn, disdain and accusations as though I am another one his employees of Color. As the representative voice of the people of West Salt Lake City, I have made my position clear on this matter. I have also consistently demonstrated, that ignoring and belittling me when I raise questions does not make the issue go away nor does it slow me down.
I was recently, wisely counseled, the time for holding out the “begging bowl” is now past. To that end, I am in the process of filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. The basis of the complaint is that that the Superintendent’s Disparate Treatment of the ethnic minority administrators has a Disparate Impact on the students of Color.
In closing, I want to thank you for your professionalism, courage, and forthright example of dignity. I admire your ability to work within an organization that offers you so very little of the virtues you so richly demonstrate.
J. Michael Clára
Board Member, District 2
cc: Pastor France A. Davis – Vice Chair, Board of Regents
Senator Escamilla, Representative Romero, Representative Hollins, Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck
Equity Leadership Team, SLCSD & SLSA
CMAC, USOE & U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights
IMAGE de NU, La RAZA of Utah, LULAC, NAACP, National Tongan American Society, Proyecto Latino
Current Administrators of Color in the SLCSD – List Compiled by Michael Clára
Linda Barth [Hispanic] –Assistant Principal, Bryant Middle School
Frances Battle [African American]—Principal, Nibley Park Elementary
Sandra Buendia, Ed.D [Hispanic]—Assistant Principal, East High School
David Chavez [Hispanic]—Assistant Principal, Horizonte
Dahlia Cordova [Hispanic]—Principal, Bennion Elementary School
Kathleen Christy, Ed.D [African American]–Equity/Advocacy Director
Paula Espinoza-Wells [Hispanic]— Assistant Principal, Escalante Elementary School
Jenny Mayer-Glenn [Hispanic]—Assistant Principal, Mountain View Elementary School
Liz Gonzalez [Hispanic] —Principal, Escalante Elementary School
Joyce Gray [African American] – Principal, Riley Elementary
Betty Jimenez [Hispanic] –District Equity/Advocacy, ALS Coordinator
Bobbie Kirby Ed.D [African American]—Principal, Ensign Electuary School
Haloti Liava’a [Pacific Islander]—Assistant Principal, Horizonte Alternative High School
Rae Louie [Asian American]—Principal, Beacon Heights Elementary School
Claustina Mahon-Reynolds Ph.D candidate [African American]—Assistant Principal, Northwest Middle School
Lamar Spotted Elk [American Indian]—Assistant Principal, Jackson Elementary School
Mele Taukei’aho Ph.D [Pacific Islander]—Assistant Principal, West High School
James Yapias [Hispanic]—Principal, Bryant Middle School