By: Peter Larocque – May, 2011
When words in our English Language are used without any adherence to their meaning or definition, the result is meaningless! Please allow me to explain. To put things in perspective, here’s a little timeline without re-hashing all the details. Former Lawrence School Superintendent Dr. Laboy went on sick leave around May, 2009 and that is when the Lawrence School Committee appointed Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bergeron as ACTING Superintendent.
The next significant event took place in April 2010 when the Lawrence School Committee fired Superintendent Dr. Laboy. Then just two months later in June of 2010, Lawrence School Committee Member Mr. Mark Gray failed in his motion to fire Acting Superintendent Dr. Bergeron due to a lack of a second. During this same meeting in June of 2010 the Lawrence School Committee appointed Dr. Bergeron as INTERIM Superintendent. Continuing on, it was February 2011 when a couple of School Committee members sought for the INTERIM Superintendent to have a Superintendent’s evaluation which the results of that evaluation were made public in April of 2011.
So here before you is the timeline of Dr. Bergeron’s ascension from Assistant Superintendent to ACTING Superintendent, then to INTERIM Superintendent.
Does anybody read at any time where INTERM Superintendent Dr. Bergeron became Superintendent Dr. Bergeron? This now produces a question, how can the Lawrence School Committee perform a legitimate Superintendent’s Evaluation on Dr. Bergeron’s performance as Superintendent if she really has never been given the job title of The Superintendent of Schools?
This brings me back to the beginning of this column where I mentioned the concern for the meaning of the words we use in our English language. Here are some relevant definitions to some of the words that I have placed in bold print.
ACTING (adjective), performing a job for a short time. Holding a temporary rank or position.
INTERIM (adjective), used or accepted for a limited time, not permanent.
Without any confusion, it is clear that Lawrence’s INTERIM Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Bergeron has never been given the title of Superintendent of Schools, which brings me to conclude that the so-called Superintendent’s Evaluation that the Lawrence School Committee has just completed on her performance as Superintendent, Meaningless!
Almost two years ago, Mr. Mark Gray campaign for School Committee for District E. in Lawrence as a no-nonsense man of integrity and repeatedly said that elected officials must be held accountable for their words and actions. He also said that he was a man of his word and that he welcomed being held accountable. Well Mr. Gray, why is it that you have been calling for the firing of Interim Superintendent Dr. Bergeron for failing in her responsibilities at a job that you and your colleagues have never given to her?
How can you or any other member of the School Committee honestly and fairly evaluate Dr. Bergeron when she has never been given the full responsibility as Superintendent of Schools with a multiple year contract which would afford to her the time to implement real changes top to bottom throughout the entire School District? How can Dr. Bergeron be expected to perform duties knowing full well, that at any time she could be replaced because she is just their on a INTERIM, (limited, short term, temporary, not permanent) bases? I don’t believe that anyone on the face of this planet could turn things around for the Lawrence Public Schools in just two months or even one year, especially on an INTERM basis! It would seem to me that a no-nonsense man of integrity like yourself would already know this.
In conclusion, all your time and effort along with your colleagues on the School Committee concerning this issue of evaluating Dr. Bergeron is Meaningless! It is dishonest and unfair to her and to the parents and to the administration and teachers and most importantly, the children of Lawrence who attend Lawrence’s Public Schools. My humbled opinion on this issue is that the Lawrence School Committee should give Dr. Bergeron the Full Title of Superintendent of Schools of Lawrence.
Extend to her at least at the minimum, a three year contract and while keeping a watchful eye and still putting forth your recommendations, but for the most part, leaving her alone to make the changes needed to fix what needs to be fixed! Then after those three or more years, then at that time if you feel that significant positive changes have not been made, then make your case as to why you believe she should not have her contract renewed. Then at that time after the evidence has been honestly and fairly evaluated, make your motion as you see fit! That is of course, if you are still there to make it.
God Bless, Peter Larocque