On September 10, 2020, Teamsters Local 633 attorney William R. Cahill, Jr. submitted a “correspondence” from the Association of Manchester Principals (AMP) to Manchester school Superintendent Dr. John Goldhardt. While the letter largely addressed a laundry list of complaints regarding the district’s plan to return to school amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, along with several reasons why it shouldn’t return to in person learning, it contained two articles trashing Goldhardt.
10). Communication Between Dr. Goldhardt’s Office and Building Administrators
As major stakeholders in this district, AMP members are concerned with a lack of timely communication and structure from the district office going back many months now. Members feel we often find out matters after-the-fact or after we have spent a great deal of time planning. The poor communication and organization have exacerbated our challenges and jobs. There is a lack of communication within the district offices as well. Many feel the rules/expectations change along the way. Many observe a significant disconnect between Human Resources operations and building administrators. Finally, members are concerned by request overloads that come from various district office staffers, leaving the impression, at times, of a disconnect between what the district office is doing and what their understanding is of what it actually takes to run the school buildings.
11). Dr. Goldhardt’s Interactions with Principals and Assistant Principals.
AMP members not only feel disrespected by Dr. Goldhardt but also feel a lack of clarity, a lack of timely information, and a lack of support from Dr. Goldhardt. Increasingly, members feel unprotected under dr. Goldhardt’s administration, feel Dr. Goldhardt’s administration does not have their backs, and feels a lack of trust in general. Therefore, AMP members would like to see increased direct communication from Dr. Goldhardt, rather than others -including his attorney–tasked to do so. In edition, AMP members would like to have their concerns taken seriously as many feel their questions and concerns have not been taken seriously by Dr. Goldhardt.
Please know this message comes from your building administrators across the city.
Signed “Respectfully,” the italicized names of every principal, with McCafferty’s first, was listed on the letter.
Girard At Large has learned that several “signatories” to the letter were unaware that the letter was even sent, never mind that they had been named as a signatory.
When asked for comment, Goldhardt would only say he was “disappointed” by the attack and that he was aware that several principals were not aware of the letter.
The letter, sources say, is just the latest attack on Goldhardt by McCafferty, who has routinely either criticized or defied Goldhardt since opposing his candidacy for superintendent. McCafferty vigorously promoted a “co-superintendency” by assistant superintendents Amy Allen and Jennifer Gillis. He led an extensive lobbying campaign trying to convince the Board of School Committee to elevate the two assistant superintendents to the shared superintendency. In a email dated May 16, 2019, McCafferty wrote:
The search forums have taken place, today you’ll interview the candidates and you’ll likely make a decision soon. I want to thank you for the time and consideration you are putting into this. With no time for additional input from us, other than the yes/no cards we received last night, I’d like you to consider the following during your deliberations today, from my perspectives as a Manchester native, Hillside principal, community advocate, leader of a non-profit, and president of the AMP:1) Our best option at this time is to choose co-superintendents. And the co-superintendents should be Amy Allen and Jenn Gillis.2) If Jenn Gillis is chosen by herself, there are too many existing elements that would undermine her success. There would be natural and unintended consequences.3) If Amy Allen is chosen by herself, there are too many existing elements that would undermine her success. There would be natural and unintended consequences.4) The gentleman from Utah seems like a good man with some accomplishments in education. His current position there seems to be the equivalent of an assistant superintendent. After listening to him and researching him, I am not seeing anything that puts him in a higher standing than Amy Allen and Jenn Gillis. And we must factor in his lack of understanding of Manchester, something we can’t brush off. We cannot afford for another superintendent to take 2-3 years to understand the system, only to realize how challenging it is and to leave us to start over again, kicking our needs another 2-3 years down the road. We can’t afford to take this chance.
Some have suggested that McCafferty’s attack on Goldhardt is “payback” for trying to transfer McCafferty from Hillside to Henry Wilson Elementary School. That move was blocked by the current Board of School Committee. In the prior term of the board, McCafferty came under fire for defying directives of the board and the administration regarding the implementation of an innovative trade apprentice program championed by former Committeeman Jimmy Lehoux (R-Ward 8). Despite directives from both, McCafferty refused to implement the program at Hillside. He also vigorously campaigned against Lehoux’s reelection, strongly backing Peter Perich, who beat Lehoux in a hotly contested race. McCafferty also backed the candidacy of at-Large Committeeman Jim O’Connell (D-Ward 2), to whom he has gone repeatedly to complain about or otherwise try to stymie the administration.
Any half responsible journalist would have explained why McCafferty opposed the apprentice program. Basic journalism: don’t raise a question unless you’re going to answer it.
His reasons aside, he defied a directive from the administration and then the board. That’s insubordination and it’s not his only instance of it. His use of fellow principals’ names without their permission to attack the superintendent is another example of his showing bad judgement at best.