My name is Dickie Woods. I came to the delightful little town of Highlands about 30 years ago. I saw good people, a great school system, little traffic and awesome landscape. I bought some properties and got involved in the community and started some businesses. I took leadership roles in Rotary, the Chamber of Commerce, and Water District # 1. I have been a supporter of the Volunteer Fire Department and the School District with donations and participated in Partner’s In Education and the Goose Creek Education Foundation.
At one time, I had four grandkids in GCCISD. Now, I have two. One graduated and is in college (my oldest) and one moved away because of a job change by her dad. I never took time to personally get involved in the schools other than with the Chamber or Rotary. I didn’t see the need until this past year. I was asked a couple of months ago, as a chamber director, to represent the Highlands Community on the Citizens Bond Advisory Committee. I filled out the application and was accepted, so that began my involvement with the administration. Now, I am hearing more about what is happening in the District and it is disturbing.
A couple of years ago, the Board made a change in upper management that brought about a different philosophy and leadership style. What had been a casual, community oriented, family atmosphere has become one of uncertainty and bullying (akin to what we have in Washington). Teachers and administrators who have spent their lives in this district, building programs for students and in many cases their own families, are being shoved aside or forced out to make way for staff with often times less qualifications and little or no investment in the district. Why? No one will answer this question. The Board needs to look closely at why these changes are taking place? What are the benefits to the district here? And the answer is not new young talent in many cases.
GCCISD may have become a victim of synchronicity. I think the Board should address this and now would be the best time, not after we have lost more of the great talent we have remaining.
July 21, 2014