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Following our Thursday, March 31st article exposing the hostility Hillside Middle School Principal Brendan McCafferty has unleashed against numerous staff members, Girard at Large has been contacted by several more Manchester School District staff with ties to Hillside.  Among the messages were an email McCafferty sent early Sunday morning to “[Hillside ALL Staff].”  (At right.  Click to enlarge.)  Those forwarding it, along with others who contacted Girard at Large that day, said it was evidence that he was trying to get people to stop talking about what was happening in the building.

“This weekly notes thing is his attempt to silence honest conversation,” said one.  “Not going to work.”

“He’s so arrogant,” said another.  “He’s fine destroying people and targeting us and when we speak up about this BS, this is what he sends out.”

“He’s telling us we best not talk about the article and that if we do discuss it we aren’t ‘focused on the kids.’  He’s also saying that if we experience negativity from him and his cronies, it’s our own fault,” asserted yet another.

“Does this apply to the people he has spying and reporting on us,” questioned a staff member.

One staff member who contacted Girard at Large on Tuesday, said of the email:  “It was a veiled threat for people to stop talking about your blog and he made sure he was everywhere in the building on Monday and Tuesday.  Visiting classes etc.”   Girard at Large also learned that McCafferty was out of the building on Friday, April 1, 2022, the day after our article was published, with no explanation given to the staff as to his whereabouts.  

From those we heard from in the days following the original article’s publication, Girard at Large has learned that the pressure brought by “McCafferty and his minions” caused several staff members to seek and obtain accommodation plans under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Girard at Large has confirmed that at least three of those plans forbade McCafferty to have any direct contact with those staff members.  Complaints that McCafferty wasn’t following the accommodation plans “fell on deaf ears” when brought to the attention of then Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Gillis, who had oversight of the school at that time.  Gillis is now the district’s interim superintendent, following the resignation of Superintendent Dr. John Goldhardt.

Gillis: Feared by whistle blowers

Most of the staff who came forward to tell their stories declined to go on the record.  One former staff member told Girard at Large that they would love to share their story, but were “scared to death of Jenn Gillis.”   When asked why, they simply said “Everybody knows how tight they are.  She’s done nothing, she’ll do nothing and I’ll become a target again.”

One person sent a message saying, in part:  “I’m writing this to you because I saw the article on Brandon (sic) and saw you were involved in bringing this to the public’s attention.   Are you still involved with talking to anyone involved?  (Redacted to protect identity.)  This guy (Brandon) (sic) and anyone else involved should be brought to justice.  Thank you for taking the time to read this.”

Another who contacted Girard at Large to relay their thanks for exposing what was happening.  They indicated they were another of his victims but declined to share their experience, saying:

“Honestly, I don’t want to relive it.  I spoke numerous times to the SAU.  He bullied me and made my life awful.  I never had a (redacted to protect identity) until I worked for him.  It was so bad I had…(redacted to protect identity.)  If you weren’t part of his click then you were out and he would make your life miserable at work.  There is so much more but I can’t relive it.”

In addition, Girard at Large has been given the names of several more staff members who transferred out of the school, quit or retired early, bringing the total of staff members known to leave because of McCafferty’s hostile behavior to nearly two dozen.

From the many discussions Girard at Large has had with those who’ve contacted us to share their stories, a pattern has emerged where teachers who, for whatever reason, have fallen out of favor with McCafferty, find themselves being removed from their subjects or teams and reassigned without much, if any, explanation.  Multiple teachers have said McCafferty will move someone who’s doing a good job and likes their classes or team to ones they don’t like or aren’t well suited to.  This has often led to veteran teachers being replaced with newer teachers who, in some cases, haven’t been around long enough to receive tenure.  “He’ll do anything to steal your joy and make you miserable.  It doesn’t matter that your doing a good job for your students or working well with your (teaching team.)”  This not only included changing classes or teams, but also grades.

Several have asserted that moving people around like this has definitely had a negative impact on students.  “Moving teachers who are effectively instructing students and working well on their teams  is degrading the quality of education at Hillside.”


Some have charged that Mayor Joyce Craig’s prohibition on complaining about district employees during the school board’s public participation agenda item was to protect McCafferty.  They asserted she imposed that gag rule after she ignored complaints about McCafferty and discontent started to surface publicly.  “I never felt safe going to members of the board,” said a source.  “The district administration would come at us like it was a directive of the board.  What we didn’t know at the time was that the board had no idea what was going on because they weren’t being told.  It seems they still don’t know what’s taking place at Hillside.  I hope they read your articles and do something about it.”

Frustrated with the Manchester School District’s failure to respond to the repeated expressions of concern, Girard at Large has learned that several staff members are contemplating filing suit against the district for “continuing to allow this harassment and hostility to go on and that those who’ve protected McCafferty will be named as aggressors for failing to hold him accountable.”

 As with our last article, Girard at Large has not published information that could be independently corroborated or that would expose a source that spoke on the condition of anonymity.  Among those who have come forward, two have agreed to put their comments on the record.  Those articles are forthcoming.