Friday, May 27, 2016
Joplin R-8 Board accepts Tina Smith's resignation
Though the $1,000 raise is nowhere near what needs to happen to bring the district in line with other area school systems, it is still better than the teachers have seen in quite some time and the teacher negotiating team also won some concessions on a number of areas that should improve things for an important group that was sadly neglected during the C. J. Huff Administration.
With all of these things going on, the best thing that could happen to faculty, past, present, and future, occurred before the regular meeting. During a closed session, the board accepted the resignation of Chief Operating Officer and former human resources director Tina Smith.
Smith, who earned a reputation as the attack dog for Huff and his assistant superintendent, Angie Besendorfer, resigned effective June 24. Reportedly, her resignation, voluntarily or involuntarily, was going to happen at some point in the near future, so Smith is leaving two steps ahead of the posse.
Smith, like her former boss, Huff, has been a magnet for controversy.
Her exploits were written about in previous Turner Report posts, including the following:
Despite safety concerns, C. J. Huff ignored whistleblower's letter
Documents: C. J. Huff, Tina Smith ignored charges of lawbreaking insurance fraud
Million dollar lawsuit filed against Joplin R-8 School District
The books that got me fired
During Tina Smith's reign, those who wanted to report harassment in the workplace, or problems with superiors were dealt with harshly, while those who were the subjects of such accusations, especially if they were employees who were close to Huff or Besendorfer, remained unscathed.
During my termination, Smith interviewed me for four and a half minutes, gave me no chance to explain myself, then asked my students questions that were designed to make them think I had done something inappropriate with one of their classmates. (Nothing of the sort was even suspected and there were no such allegations against me, but by asking the questions, Smith made sure the thought was placed in the students' minds.Then at my hearing, she made the claim that the way my students all supported me showed signs of "grooming."
Performing that kind of service for C. J. Huff enabled her to join a number of other members of Huff's team who were promoted far beyond their abilities. Smith, who was a poor excuse for a human resources director, was promoted to chief operations officer and while she was responsible for studies that made sure workers in the R-8 School District remained underpaid, she was receiving $86,000 a year and thanks to a going away present from Huff, had three clerical workers hired to help her.
In the space of a year, we have seen the departures of Huff, Curriculum Director Sarah Stevens, East Middle School Principal Bud Sexson, and now Smith.
Though there are still remnants of the Huff team in the district, many of those who caused the most damage to the district's credibility and wasted millions in taxpayer money, will no longer be taking the taxpayers for a ride.