Unfortunately ,that class was kindergarten.
Landis was the last of the board of education that abdicated its responsibility over the school district when it handed Superintendent C. J. Huff a blank check following the May 22, 2011, tornado and told him he did not need to consult the board before making decisions.
"Joined at the hip," Huff referred to it during an October 2011 speech at a Missouri School Boards Association banquet.
With board member Randy Steele resigning, Landis, for a brief moment, was the only person left from that 2011 board. Phil Willcoxon and Jim Kimbrough opted not to seek re-election, while Ashley Micklethwaite, who was board president at the time of the tornado, resigned when her job took her out of town. The voters soundly rejected re-election efforts by two consecutive board presidents, Jeff Flowers and Anne Sharp. In the interim, Micklethwaite's replacement, Dawn Sticklen, also resigned after she enrolled her daughter in the Webb City R-7 School District.
The last two to go were Steele and Landis.
Four new board members, Lynda Banwart, Debbie Fort, Jeff Koch, and Jennifer Martucci, have been elected over the past two years, as the voters made it clear they were tired of out-of-control spending and administration actions and policies that have driven more than 300 teachers out of the district over a three-year period.
Steele and Landis ignored that wave of change, continuing to vote for such items as eight million dollars in "might-as-well" spending, and nearly $100,000 to replace gym seats that were the wrong color,
Steele resigned Wednesday claiming he felt "threatened" by people who wanted Jim Kimbrough to return to the board to replace Lane Roberts. They sent him letters, they called him, they threatened to attend board meetings. Apparently, listening to the people when they did not see things the way he did was not something Randy Steele wanted to do.
So he quit.
Landis, as usual, was thoroughly despicable in the way he handled his departure. It was these "new people." They didn't know that when you get on the board, all you have to do is drink copious amounts of water, whisper and giggle with the superintendent while someone else is talking and complain in a shrill voice, "That's not how we do things."
Landis''s resignation letter spelled it out:
When the members of the board are getting down in the weeds and trying to take the place of administration, then I know it's time to move on.
While Landis was upset with board members "getting down in the weeds," he showed during the April board meeting that he had no problem whatsoever with a superintendent getting down in the gutter.
Landis, who was conducting the meeting as sitting vice president since Anne Sharp had been voted off the board, did absolutely nothing to stop C. J. Huff as he verbally attacked board members Debbie Fort and Jennifer Martucci.
Now, thankfully, both C. J. Huff and Mike Landis will be in our rear view mirror, a reminder of days when substance was sacrificed for show and teachers were wrapped in an six-and-a-half mile ribbon and sold down the river.
A new day has dawned for the Joplin R-8 School District. The challenges are enormous for those who remain, but the people are engaged and ready to enter the game and help the children succeed, while the obstacles have decided to take their ball and go home.