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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Conflict At Birmingham Falls Elementary...Again?

By Accessmilton.com

Since Birmingham Falls Elementary opened, it seems that debate and conflict have followed this school's brief history.

Before the Fulton County institution opened, there was debate about the name. Then there was the high profile story about a past principal. More recently, wsbtv.com covered a story about abbreviations written in yearbooks.

Now it appears the circle has come back around to the principal topic. We have recieved emails stating that "Teachers are leaving because of poor treatment from the principal..." and (the principal) "has given (a former teacher) "two terrible recommendations, not allowing her to transfer out of the school."

Accessmilton.com has always been about open discussion. As this story unfolds, we will do our best to share viewpoints from all sides.

We have posted a new poll asking:

"Are you pleased with the Birmingham Falls Elementary Principal?"

Have your say today.

The past poll question and results are below=>

86 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please don't dignify hysterical emails from one parent copying all local media and count that as some significant, widespread show of dissatisfaction.

We just have some people in this city who are really good at garnering public attention for themselves. As usual, much ado about nothing.

Ironically these are probably the same people complaining about teachers' unions, accountability, and teacher tenure, now they want to complain about poor recommendations for former teachers for poor performance?!

Anonymous said...

Can we say "employee"?

Anonymous said...

This principal is a bully. She absolutely lies to parents about what is really going on behind closed doors. She degrades the teachers daily and in my interaction with her, she is extremely disrespectful to them. She is not in this position for kids. I bet if you asked her to name 5 kids from each grade level, she couldn't do it. She has had a hard time just naming her own staff in front of parents at PTA meetings, Curriculum Nights, ect... Yes, there are changes , hard changes being handed down from the county, but does it mean you have to demoralize the teachers to get the changes done. If teachers were so worried about the changes and that was really it, then why would the teachers just want transfers to other Fulton County Schools (which, by the way, she blocked many from getting in the cluster) It is about her delivery, her leadership style and her way of holding personal grudges toward the staff! Some of the things she has done are downright unethical. It worries me that this is a woman in charge of taking care of the precious children learning everyday! They deserve better! Much better! I believe children should be challenged in school and that there should be a standard, but I also belive as a teacher for many years that there should be fun in school. Especially in the Elementary years when you are building a child's love of learning. There should be a balance between the two fun and academic challenge..It does NOT have to be so RIGID!!! Teachers DO NOT have to be robots! They are not dummies like this principal and assistant principal think they are! They are professionals. Treat them as such!!!!

Anonymous said...

Forget the LOL stuff, if true it's troubling that this principal is making negative recommendations. Couldn't that expose the principal or the County to legal liability? I thought these days all you can do is confirm employment.

Anonymous said...

The principal inherited a mess from the start and only by strong leadership and ousting marginal teachers will BFES become a school the community can be proud of. Any principal with integrity would be cautious about recommending a sub-par teacher to a colleague, especially another school in the cluster. Mrs Matzkin was one of only 6 out of 100 that was nominated for principal of the year in Fulton County, because she is a strong leader who is following new guidelines to improve the standard of education. She is not one to do the same old and accept mediocrity from her faculty. She is creative, intelligent and extremely personable. It's time that the community support the outstanding job she is doing with encouraging comments rather than stoop to self centered raves. I hope she will continue in her role at this school for many years to come and not become disillusioned by hateful blogging.

Anonymous said...

This principal was nominated as a principal of the year because her Mentor was also nominated for principal of the year! HMMM! That seems be a little fishy to me! You think they could have nominated each other? Also, Susan Matzkin has no idea what she had in teachers at BFES! I have taught in Fulton County for years and I have never taught with more dedicated, knowledgable professionals in all my career! They are outstanding! There are always a few bad apples, but I can honestly say that I would be thrilled with my child having any one of the teachers at this school! This principal can talk a good game, but she is NOT to be believed! There was a survey that came out where the teachers were asked: Do you trust your principal?. 40 out of 48 teachers answered this question. On a scale of 1-5 , 5 being the best. She got a 2. The staff does NOT trust her and neither should the parents! This is scary!!! Is it worth the risk to believe her or do what is best for your child's learning environment? I will choose what is best for my child everyday!

Anonymous said...

If this is true, why havent the teachers who have left or leaving or who cant get a job elsewhere made official complaints against this Principal up the chain of command? Two sides to everystory. They are grown adults and can speak up for their rights if they are being mistreated. I don't agree it's not much to do about anything, I think when parents and teachers are bringing concerns, they should be heeded not ignored. People don't complain for no reason.

Anonymous said...

Can't prove it obviously, but I wrote the 1st post and I'm not an employee but rather a BFES parent. I am happy with the direction of the school as are most folks but of course a squeaky wheel will get oil.

I mainly don't agree with the parent's approach. I misspoke before, the woman actually sent the email to the local media and simply copied the BOE (yes, I have seen the email). That's tacky at best!

Finally, my child had a terrible teacher one year at BFES (along with great ones too now). Thankfully this teacher is no longer in a direct teaching role at BFES but cannot be fired. So yeah, I totally support the Principal in her #1 responsibility to get the best teachers and get those who are not getting the job done at least out of the way, if not out of a job.

Oh and as for the "people don't complain for no reason" -- wow, if only that were true, especially in Milton!

Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate that the rantings of one parent can do so much damage. She hurt the community and the kids. We all have a right to express our beliefs but to bring other parents into it without their knowledge that you are doing so is completely wrong. Grow up!

Anonymous said...

I don't think 'one parent' can damage the reputation of the school/principal if there isn't a underlying problem. Susan Matzkin needed a reality check. Someone had to be brave enough to step up to ask a question of the other families. Her intent was to stan up for the teachers, not to damage a community. Thank you 'one parent' for being brave enough to do it. Maybe the result will be that Principal Matzkin learns she cannot treat people with such blatant disrespect.

Anonymous said...

just because you may have had no issues, and great teachers, and are happy does not mean that the other 800 families in this school have had your same experience. I am very happy to hear you have had a positive experience with this Principal and this school, however, there are serious concerns from other parents and you should not disount them just because one parent copied the news on her email. So What! At the end of the day, if the Principal has done nothing wrong, and has not acted like a bully or mistreated the teachers than that will come out in the wash. So why be upset or mad as a parent at other parents are writing letters and shedding light on individual experiences and issues and concerns for the school and the teachers? Do you have such a close personal relationship with the Principal your opinion is skewed to ignore others concerns, attacking the mom who had the courage to speak out, even villify her, and defend the Principal without walking in this mom's shoes? Maybe you don't want to believe these accusations, maybe you really like this Principal, happy for you really. However, it 's funny how whenever authority is challenged in these schools, those with true concerns are turned into the villians. And in regard to your insult to this community, this parent community does not make things up about people in this school for entertainment. There were serious issues with Trussell, and there are serious issues now that need attention with this Principal. You are not going to attempt to make up an excuse for these complaints as parents making a big deal out of nothing. It's not one parent, it is many. It's not one teacher it is many.

Anonymous said...

If this Principal is doing her job so great why are so many parents coming forward?
the parents in this school want good leadership, not just good test scores.

the moral of the staff starts at the top. blaming a teacher for the low moral of the other teachers is absurd. the moral begins with the Principal. Blame blame blame blame is the game, instead of being accountable for the shape the staff is in at your school. Look in the mirror Matzkin. it aint Bush's fault and it aint Trussel's fault either.

Anonymous said...

SMH!!!! lol!!!

Anonymous said...

what a mess this school is. Beautiful and shiny on the outside with not one ounce of soul or community on the inside. This principal would love for all of us "know it all" parents to not volunteer...just write checks so that we could not witness her in action. None of the kids ever hug her or show any affection to this woman. She has ZERO warmth or compassion and has forgotten that she is in fact not running a corporation...she is running a school and her clients are CHILDREN!!!! Of course we want a strong school and strong leaders but she is not going to keep or attract strong leaders when she is so polarizing. We all kid ourselves that we live in North Fulton and are schools are so strong. The reality is actually far different. The parents in this community are treated like ATM machines with little to no say in the direction.

Anonymous said...

the school does have soul and community. it's the continued issues with the leaders in this school who are not taking advantage of the incredible sense of community we do have, instead they make us out to be the enemy instead of alliance. The parents don't create that atmosphere, really? Not hardly.

None of the things accomplished by the PTA this year and the years prior would have been successful without the parent's volunteering their time, energy, and of themselves. No one can take credit for that except the parents in this community who do clearly support this school.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I can't believe the negative passion some people show. Do you also have the same positive passion? Susan wanting people not to volunteer? And not hugging children? Those kids love her and are happy to see her when she is visiting their classrooms. And she visits all the time. Do you people not remember the old days when we never saw or spoke to a principal? Have any of you actually sat and had a conversation with her? She actually will listen. She wants to know what is happening with our children. Did you have a conversation and didn't get the result you wanted? I like her very much and that happened to me. But you know what? I was able to step back and look at the bigger picture. We all go into defense mode because we want the absolute best for our kids. But she can't just give each person exactly what they want. She is responsible for over 700 kids, she has laws and rules to follow and people to answer too. I know it isn't a corporation, but it isn't wonderland either. Aren't we supposed to be ultimately preparing our children for the real world where there are ups and downs that cause us to grow and learn. Susan is constantly trying to move us forward - maybe we could all learn something in the process.

Anonymous said...

It is very easy to be unaware of the things that are going on behind the scenes and right under our noses at this school.  I do not say that with any condescension at all because until six months ago, I would have been one of the parent advocates, saying that everything is getting much better and that good times are ahead. I have realized that just because you don't know about something, does not mean that it is not happening. Of course most of us do not know that our teachers are unhappy. They are professionals and doing their jobs.  This is something that is only revealed through familiarity and personal experience. Attending a party or event and seeing your teacher smile and make nice does not accurately indicate that they are happy.  If even a fraction of the things that are being revealed are true then I think that it would be very reckless to not take a closer look to find the root of the problem.  It is disconcerting to think that if there is even a chance that any teacher is unhappy that we would not want to dig in and find out why.  The administration's reason, that they are all sad because they are all now being held accountable, does not sit well with me.  We are talking about professional adults here. I hope that political motivations can be laid aside in the interest of taking care of our school and the people in it.

Anonymous said...

Where there's smoke...there's fire. This administration team is so out of touch with their staff that it's comical. For Susan to be nominated for Principal of the year is a complete joke. More than 75% of her staff responded to a third party survey indicating they don't trust their admin team. Not only that, the scores from the rest of the survey as it related to the admin team were just about as bad. Can all of these teachers, many of which have a lot of experience be wrong? I certainly concur there are some teachers which are not meeting expectations, however, I don't believe it's any more than
CCE or Summit Hill, etc. Susan may be a good principal,
however, it's not at the elementary level. She absolutely
doesn't have the loving, nuturing personality you would expect in an elementary school principal. I've never seen as many teachers put in for transfers simply because they want out
from their admin team. At what point will someone in the county office put one and one together...teachers putting in for transfers at unprecendented levels, families bailing out of BFES, ridiculously low admin surveys. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this one out.

Anonymous said...

Everyone is a prisoner until they start asking questions and find the answers- Socrates

Anonymous said...

Sir Winston Churchill
Truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but, in the end, there it is.

Anonymous said...

Reading these comments makes me love, love, love Cogburn Woods even more. We are blessed to have the best teachers and two fabulous principals in Mr. Fraser and Mr. Anderson before him. We also have an amazing and dedicated group of parents who help out at school because they want to make it better, not because they want to monitor every move made by the teachers and principal and then gripe about it on a blog. Count your blessings people! Look for the good in your school and praise, encourage and THANK your teachers and administrators. Look for areas that need improvement and do what YOU can to make it a better place.

Anonymous said...

Excellent comment above.... So true. Help because you want to make things better, not because you want to spy....

Anonymous said...

Too many mothers with too much time. It's a double-edged sword.

Anonymous said...

Whatever! NO ONE complained about Principal Fraser at Northwestern when he was Principal here for YEARS, my child had a great experience at NW under his leadership. And no one is complaining about Cliff Jones's leadership at Milton and here is a lightning bolt, it's the same parents who's kids go to one or both of those schools who's kids also attend BHFES so that blows your theory it's the parents. It's not. We don't look for things or spy (thats hillarious). The truth is that we are closely tuned in to this school and support it. Sorry the Principals at BHF have parents who actually pay attention to them and their kids. What an atrocity! Parents who care and pay attention and hold others accountible. Shame on those involved parents. A previous blogger said it right, you are vilifying the parents instead of looking into the real issue. I suppose the parents made all those teachers request transfers out too?
Cogburn Woods I'm positive things are wonderful there, look who you got from Northwerstern!

Your point of your email was what? Cogburn is great, the parents are great, and given you don't have kids that attend BHFES your experience hands on with our Principals has been zero. Thanks for the input, I mean no-put.

Anonymous said...

Att BHF the bad outweighs the good right now. This is why letters are being written. Test scores, as important as they are, are not the beginning and end all to the measurement of a good school or good leadership.
We are losing good teachers for no reason other than the leader.

Anonymous said...

The Principal did not inherit a mess. What mess? Bad test scores? Nope. Children who loved their teachers, parents who liked their kids teachers? yes.
What mess?
The mess was Trussel and his confidential secretary. Their shenanigans caught up with them and the BOE removed them, they were the mess.
So what did she inherit? She inherited a very supportive parent community, great teachers and great kids, all she had to do was lead! Instead she has made the environment with parents and teachers worse, she ruined the soup in other words by messing too much with the ingredients and now it tastes bad.

Anonymous said...

To the Cogburn Woods parent -
Let me ask you a hypothetical question. Let's say your fantastic principal left and was replaced by a first time principal. After their first full year on the job, all of a sudden your 'best' teachers started requesting transfers because of the rookie principals management style. Further, the 'amazing and dedicated' parents started pulling their kids out of that school. What would you do?

I would suggest you go back and read your last sentence! Parents are doing what they can by voicing their concerns about the direction of the school.

Rumor has it her previous school threw a party when she left...and she wasn't invited.

Anonymous said...

Don't you wish Trussell was back at BFES? He truely cared for the students and the staff. It was the parents who kept him in his office with daily conferences that they demanded with everything from a bike rack at the school to demanding that their child was not the discipline issue that the teachers claimed him to be.Yes we had a bullying issue and those have to be addressed. It would have been nice to see him in the classroom more, but when you have a parent who "demands" a conference unfortunately you are forced to give them one.
And yes I'm a former employee of that school who misses his leadership!

Anonymous said...

LOL! I'm a recent former employee of BFES, hysterically laughing at this entire situation from afar. From the lunacy of the yearbook situation (the faculty sponsor who has a child attending that school and is a HOLY TERROR. Rumor has it that her older child was the victim of inappropriate comments in a yearbook) to this issue.

You truly have a narcissistic, insecure idiot as principal who is driving the best and brightest away. As someone earlier said, her former school did a happy dance upon her leaving. She has the community fooled with all of the "data-driven" accountability, high test scores, talk. The students in that school will achieve even if Mickey Mouse was the principal. There are amazing teachers in that building who used to love getting up in the morning and coming to school. By the end of the school year, the feeling was more of defeat and demoralization. And for those of you who ask why the teachers don't just leave if they are unhappy. Obviously, you've never worked for the school system before. Transfer, resign, or be fired after months of documentation is the only way out. Transfers have to be approved by the sitting principal and the new principal will call to get a recommendation. For whatever reason, Ms. Matzkin cannot ever seem to find it in her heart to give a good reference for any of her teachers. If you have staff members who are unhappy and want to transfer, why would you put up roadblocks? I figure it is in your best interest to let them go so that you can bring in who you want. No. She not only will not allow the transfer, she has blacklisted them throughout the cluster. Do you really want disgruntled teachers providing education for your little ones? You guys had better wake up and realize that you've been bamboozled! Thank GOD summer vacation is here!

Anonymous said...

Is this who the FCBOE vetted and put in an school already plagued by poor leadership? Sounds like the BOE dropped the ball. They should have put Fraser in BHFEs, everyone here already knew him and liked him and he had a lot of experience and already knew the community well. They could have put her at Cogburn Woods. They'd be the ones on this blog complaining now. No doubt.

If there is another side to the story as to why she is preventing specifically one great teacher who recently resigned, from working elsewhere in the county, she should have documentation, so far sounds like she doesn't.

Anonymous said...

Our first great Principal who you loved and adored was arrested in TN shortly after his termination. It was in the Chatanooga newspaper. Still want him back?
Not hardly, no matter what. Even if he wasn't charged.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this is the person the county vetted and allowed to be principal. She obviously talked a good game. Not only is she new to the position, but new to the county, as well. Why put a brand, spanking new principal in where you already had turmoil? Mr. Fraser would have been a great addition, but so would any other seasoned principal. And to the poster at 3:16, the past is past. There is no point re-hashing the travails of the former principal. This community needs to look ahead and figure out how to get the county to begin to listen to the cries of the faculty and staff. Surely, someone will be receptive. Unfortunately, they will listen to the parents before taking seriously the complaints of the staff.

Anonymous said...

This situation has nothing to do with Tracy Trussell and he should be left out of it! This is purely a SUSAN MATZKIN issue and should be left as such! One has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE OTHER!!!! The parent's and staff simply want what is BEST for kids! This administration is NOT it! The comment was meant to say that this is worse than Trussell ever thought about being! At least he cared about the kids! There is NO DENYING that! HE made mistakes, but he was FOR KIDS!!!!! Susan Matzkin could care less about the kids and staff! She just cares about her precious career as she sits in her "IVORY TOWER" all day! (Susan calls her office this)

Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Anonymous said...

Wow. So grateful that my fourth child just finished fifth grade at BFES. None of this looks like a recipe for a happy 2012/2013 school year.....

Anonymous said...

I don't know how Susan Matzkin walks through the door everyday, knowing we are all on to her now. She needs to slink away.... far away

Anonymous said...

This is from the principal's coffee blog regarding how underperforming teachers are handled. I wonder if she went through the outlined steps for the teacher she gave two bad recommendations to....
9) Parent wants to know what BFES does with underperforming teachers?---There is an ongoing, lengthy process that has to be followed to document the history of underperformance. The principal has to write a recovery plan to work with the teacher and the plan has to be approved by Fulton County HR. The purpose of the program is to help assist the teacher in growing as a teacher, but if there is not documentation of improvement then they can go to Non-contract renewal. We do have some lower level interventions when teachers are working with a teaching mentor.

Anonymous said...

This teacher was never an underperforming teacher while she was employed by Fulton County. Her record is unblemished and she received very favorable reviews from the BFES administration. There is absolutely NO REASON that she should be blocked from further employment in Fulton county. She is, in fact, very sought after, but can't be hired because of this roadblock.

Anonymous said...

Then I would think that teacher would have a legal case against the principal.... If there is no documentation that she was underperforming then she shouldn't be getting bad recommendations. That's defamation of character isn't it?

Anonymous said...

12:04, you nailed it. When you said, "narcissistic," I knew that you truly are an insider. The people in this community absolutely would not believe what goes on in that school. I get a lot of inside scoop from a good friend. I am just thankful that my child has moved on.

I have seriously considered all-year starting a blog to share some of these inside secrets. You guys would just not believe the controlling, idiotic, slimy stunts that Susan pulls every week. As an example, she commanded, I mean literally *commanded*, her staff to keep all of her personnel changes secret from the parents. Stories like that should be communicated to the community. The only thing that holds me back is that I am afraid of getting my friend in trouble somehow.

Anonymous said...

Above all else, this proves that being a neighbor and a personal friend of the Fulton County Director of Human Resources does not qualify you to be the principal of a school. Furthermore, this is just another proof-point of how incompetent our county office is. How stupid do you have to be to put an underperforming teacher with no executive experience in charge of a school coming off of the turmoil that Mr. Indecent Exposure left us in? The only logical decision would have been to recruit a highly-experienced principal to get things on-track (think Mr. Gaynor or Mr. Fraser).

Anonymous said...

Correct, but do we really have to bring Mr. Trussell into this again?? Really?? This isn't about him and it isn't his issue! Let him be! I'm NOT a Trussell fan one way or another, but stick to the issue and that is that SUSAN MATZKIN cannot run this school! She has leadership skills that totally are corrupt. SHE SHOULD BE LET GO and all employees affected by her foolishnesses should be reinstated or compensated in some way!!! She has done far worse than any principal I have ever worked for in my career in which I have worked for 7 different principals! I have never worked for anyone like her! She is immoral, evil and a bully. It is unbelievable to me the things she has gotten away with!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the "indecent exposure" thing was a little unnecessary, but I think the point was that the school was in turmoil. A seasoned principal would have been appropriate.

You couldn't be more right when you call her a "bully," though. I think that she tries to act authoritative because she is in so far over her head. It is just a distraction.

Anonymous said...

15 teachers are trying to leave the school because the principal is a bully. There is a major morale problem among staff. It is a known fact that the principal stated that only two teachers at BFE are decent at their jobs. The principal constantly puts down the staff to the parents, instead of supporting them. As a parent, many of my children have been been taught by these teachers at different grade levels, and they are amazing. It speaks volumes of the moral problem to say that two teachers and the CST left mid-year due to disagreements with the principal. I would normally not post on a site like this, but I fear my children will lose some incredible teachers due to the lack of good leadership.

Anonymous said...

Quite a few of these comments seem to come from teachers at BFES. Can they please speak to someone higher about these issues? I'm not saying their comments aren't true, rather I am so upset over them I'm considering pulling my kids out as I don't want them taught by teachers who absolutely hate being there.

Anonymous said...

Why weren't parents told about some of the teachers leaving so they could say goodbye? What was there to be afraid of? What a mess.

Anonymous said...

2:40, are you kidding? Speak with someone higher up??

Fulton County doesn't care one lick what goes on in that school, and this community should know that better than any other. Tracy Trussell was aggressively mishandling finances, cussing teachers, making degrading sexist comments to employees, manipulating the timekeeping system and more. All of this with the total knowledge of the district superintendent. Even under the threat of lawsuit with voice-recorded and computer evidence, his boss still didn't want to do anything about him. Furthermore, your own representative to the board, who keeps her seat till this day, defended him to the bitter end. Meanwhile, the victim in the case was sent to Siberia where she will cause no more harm. Her career was blunted by the county for whistle-blowing.

Do you think I want that? No thank you, I think I will just keep my mouth shut until I can find a transfer. Remember, as was mentioned in some of the earlier comments, we still need her good recommendation in order to get a transfer. We can't simply go find another job like you can.

2:43, believe me, we were hoping that you would catch on to what was happening. For our part, when Susan says, "don't tell the parents," by gosh, I'm going to keep my mouth shut. I'm not going to have her stick her bony finger in my face and scream at me like she has done to so many of my peers.

Anonymous said...

OMG...WTH... this is some crazy!!! SMH. Soooo happy we are done with that school!! FOREVER! What a MESS!!! How does Matzkin sleep at night?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know how anyone in an administrative position sleeps at night that knows this has been going on and has done nothing about it! Dr. Taylor knew about things early in the year and did NOTHING but sweep what he knew under the rug. A certain board member for that cluster has been kept a float of the situation as well, still nothing! How do any of them sleep? Do they NOT care about the jobs that these people NEED! Some employees resigned to make a stand to draw attention to the situation and they lost everything! Fulton County could care less! They protect the puppets who do what they say! To HELL with morals or what the right thing is to do! Who cares what is BEST for children!

Anonymous said...

Nothing like a government school is there?

Anonymous said...

So sad. We have had such great experienes with CCES, SHES and BFES and our three kids (same house, 15 years of redistricting) until now, the teachers at BFES have been miserable since Matzkin arrived this past year. Although it hasn't directly affected my youngest child's experience, thank goodness just one more year and we're out. A few good friends of our family are teachers under Matkin -- veteran teachers who have lost their passion to teach. They can't even think about leaving for another school because of what she did to those who have already resigned. Matzkin has created a dsyfunctional workplace and certainly it will begin affecting the students' learning experience. Fulton County Schools, I hope you are catching wind and hearing the real story about your Teacher of the Year nominee.

Anonymous said...

FC has to be embarrassed by their repeated choices for leaders at this school.

She is better suited for a school in Chicago. Blame everyone else, deflect and explain the departing teachers and unhappy parents. It's not the Principal, it's everyone else folks. Sound familiar. Turn on the evening news, he's spewing the same crud daily.

Anonymous said...

In this school it's not the children who are important, it's the children's test scores which are important to administration.

Sorry, but that is the taste she leaves in our mouths.

Anonymous said...

A couple points to consider for the folks who live in this community. BFES is one of only eleven elementary schools in the county elegible for open enrollment. Take a look at the following url for the other eligible open enrollment elementary schools in Fulton, http://portal.fultonschools.org/departments/Operations/Operational_Planning/Pages/OEInfo.aspx

As you'll see, there are no other schools in this area elegible for open enrollment. Why is this? Are families pulling their children out of BFES? There is no reason why BFES should have open enrollment.

On a different but just as alarming note, I've heard from a couple real estate agents that they are hearing whispers that the reputation for BFES is bad due to the administration. These same agents are doing what they can to steer their buyers away from the BFES district. How sad is that.

What's it going to take before the county realizes they've made a bad hire?

By the way, how many parents received surveys asking whether they supported the current administration? Rumor has it, Susan believes she has the full support of the parents. Sounds like there was some cherry picking going on in terms of who received surveys!

Net...Net...there are obviously issues going on with this admin team. You don't see blogs, wsb stories, etc with other schools in this area. As it was accurately pointed out earlier, there are no blogs about the poor administration at Northwestern Middle or Milton HS which goes to show this isn't a bunch of Milton houswives with too much time of their hands. It's the same parents sending their children to BFES as NWMS & MHS.

At the end of the day, the parents are the only way to make a difference with county office. The teachers are scared to voice their concerns given the backlash they've already witnessed.

Anonymous said...

You have to understand that Fulton County likes Susan. They are implementing various experiments in education that most parents haven't really caught onto. Being completely new, Susan implements these aggressively in order to make a good impression, and she never weighs their value vs the damage that they do to the students. Her prime interest is advancing her career.

More senior principals understand that these experiments are a distraction at best and are more probably depriving our children of a decent education. Echos of "new math" ring through the hallways still - any seasoned educator that cares about the kids isn't going fall for another trick like that. Principals at other schools are balancing the implementation of the new initiatives with logic. They have the wisdom and experience to help the school navigate through Fulton County's bizarre initiatives without sacrificing education.

Of course, the truly senior principals retired last year when they saw that what was being implemented by the county. They didn't want to be associated with this. I shook my head when Katie Reeves stood there and lied to the parents who asked why so many principals were retiring. I shook my head even more when all of the parents took her word at face value. Nobody cares.

Anonymous said...

The principal and school need to appreciate the quality teachers it has, instead of trying to run them off.

Anonymous said...

WHERE IS DR. AVOSSA? Why hasn't he done anything? Doesn't he have a CLUE or is this what HE wants??? Pretty sad because it is right in his own backyard!!!!!!! This is getting insane!!!!

Anonymous said...

All of this is so sad.... truly the principal at BFES sounds sketchy at best but does anyone really understand that it is a Fulton County problem above all else? The BOE is the one that put her there, the one that put the previous (obviously corrupt) principal there... I am a former teacher at another school in the cluster and I have friends at other schools within the county as well. Let me assure you, teachers are complaining everywhere. They are overworked, drowning in documentation and paperwork, underpaid for sure, but mostly under valued and under appreciated. These are the people teaching your children. The county has stripped them of any help or support they once had in the form of paraprofessionals (don't even get me started on how this has affected the special ed area.... dangerous conditions at best). The county only listens once they are threatened with a law suit (Hopewell).The BOE only WAKES UP when law suits start getting thrown around.) Honestly, they should be absolutely ashamed at their tag line "where students come first". Ha ha ha ha ha students DO NOT come first. My children have been grown for some time, but I can truthfully say I would be looking at private school today if they were still young....

Anonymous said...

8:31PM
You said it PERFECTLY!!!!

Anonymous said...

8:31, 6:24, don't let Susan off the hook that easy. As mentioned in some of the comments above, Fulton County has implemented a number of policies and programs that reduce real instructional time, that much is true. If Susan was a mature principal, she would buffer the county's liberal experimentation and make sure her students' needs are met. Recall that FC historically and currently sets policy based on the lowest-performing schools in the county. Their policies allow for the sacrifice of schools like BFES in return for a few points gained at other schools. We have no effective representation to offset these bizarre policies. That is precisely why we need a seasoned, experienced, professional at the helm of our school. We ended up with a brand new principal trying to get some 'on the job training.'

I know that you know, but do you think that the parents know that the teachers have shifted a substantial amount of time to ensuring that the children can properly answer questions from observers instead of actually teaching the lessons? Do they know that a pointless flood of paperwork has consumed time and energy that was formerly benefiting their children? If you have administration threatening your livelihood unless you keep paperwork in order, then the paperwork will come first. There are no mandates for quality of education - only for quality of the lesson plans. Apparently the community doesn't understand or care, but Susan holds-up some of the most ineffective teachers as examples. Hilariously, she would tell teachers to follow the lead of the ones who would sacrifice teaching as long as they went through the right motions with paperwork. It is a total joke amongst the staff. She is in so far over her head that words just can't explain.

Anonymous said...

A teacher took a STAND and RESIGNED mid year to draw attention to this issue, but NOBODY paid attention and the situation has only gotten worse! Susan told parents and others that this teacher was "unstable" and needed to be "weeded" out! ALL LIES!!!! She even went as far as to call this teacher's past principals to smear her character. This teacher has spent her entire career doing what is BEST for KIDS and was degraded for it daily under this leadership! Fulton County should be ashamed of themselves for allowing the TRUTH to be swept under the rug and for turning a blind eye to what is going on in that building! AMAZING TEACHERS are being lost! This one was just the start of a long list that will continue to follow! Wake up, Fulton County, and do what is best for kids !!!!

Anonymous said...

That teacher also left because she got no support from the administration for two out of control children in her class. One belonging to the 'Teacher of the Year' who is a total Susan puppet. Why would the child or the parent be held accountable for actions.... Let's just say the teacher was too 'unstable' to handle monster children. Just replace her with someone so grateful to have a job that she won't say a word about the chaos. Shame on our principal !! Can't we start a petition to have her removed ??
Then there is the LSAC and PTA. Stepford wives at their finest. Susan must laugh when she leaves the meetings at how totally fooled she has them..... well most of them. The parent survey was done by the prozac wives. Please.... we are not all stupid.

Anonymous said...

I know that you know this, but just to be clear, that teacher would never have called those children monsters.  I have never heard her speak of them unkindly.  It seems to me that the children were simply a convenient means to an end for the unsupportive administration team.  As soon as this teacher was gone, one of the children was moved to a different classroom. This sent the message to those children that they had caused the situation, which was actually so much more than two children could ever be responsible for.  The whole thing is just so shameful.

Anonymous said...

I don't feel comfortable posting here, but I have to respond to 4:55. I think your posting was poorly worded at best. The teacher should have received some meaningful support from the administration after numerous requests. You need to consider everything that we had to deal with this year; we were all on our last nerve. Would you have handled it any better if your stress was tripled? She was dealing with everything that we had to, plus she had an extra dose of problems in the classroom, finally she was ignored, abandoned and frankly belittled by those who were supposed to support her.

Now, your second paragraph, I would have agreed a long time ago. Now I just think that the "Stepford wives" simply can't be bothered with small details like what goes on in that school. I have had great support from some great parents, but a surprising number of them can't be bothered with BFES. Honestly, I think that is the same everywhere.

Anonymous said...

I hope someone gets smart and brings a legal suit against this principal and Fulton County. To keep people from future employment is illegal and should be dealt with through the justice system.
It is really a no brainer!

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I completely agree with the remarks that matzkin is a bullly and a narcissist. As a parent that volunteers at the school on a weekly basis, I have seen it and heard it first-hand. A large number of teachers are fed up but are scared about losing their jobs so they are urging the parents to speak out. I will be writing a letter to the area superintendent to address my displeasure with matzkin- I suggest those of you that are angry do the same.
As for the comments about her old school being glad to see her leave, that is true as well. They couldn't wait to get her out of their school.

Anonymous said...

It is entirely unprofessional for teachers to talk to parents about administration.... Not something I would have shared if you're trying to bolster support for teachers....

Anonymous said...

To the poster at 7:08 - I'm assuming you're a BFES parent. If so, you probably received an email from Susan this week requesting emails from parents soliciting postive feedback teachers have had on their children lives. Very good intentions indeed. However, even when she's trying to do something positive, she can't help but put down her staff. As matter of fact, she couldn't wait and put it in her first sentence of the email. By telling the 700+ BFES families that their teachers 'lose steam' before school even starts is ridiculous. Really??? These dedicated professionals lose their desire to work before school even starts. Is that what a great motivational leader would convey to their team?

She goes on to say, 'in an effort to keep my faculty engaged, I am asking for your support'. Once again, she's making the case that her faculty isn't engaged and doing their job. Really?

Go back and read your first sentence. I would argue, Susan is entirely unprofessional to send an email to 700+ BFES famiies essentially saying before school even starts that her staff has checked out. Further, they need parent support to keep engaged throughout the year. These are dedicated professionals who have a passion for helping children learn. While her intentions may have been good, the delivery was poor, at best. Another example of her poor leadership.

Lastly, does anyone know why the Creekview Elementary Principal recently resigned? He took over for Trussell so he was only there for 2-3 years. Seems odd that he would resign after such a short tenure, especially after being nominated for Fulton Cnty Principla of the Year (this year), just like Susan. I heard rumors staff/parents were not all that pleased and perhaps that is why he may have left. Any chance the cnty will transfer Susan to Creekview.

Bottom line, BFES needs new leadership and a fresh start.

Anonymous said...

Matt Rogers, former principal of Creek View ES, resigned in order to accept the principalship at E.Rivers Elementary School in Buckhead. Was he well-liked at CVES? Absolutely not. Not child friendly/focused. The parents at CVES are smart enough to not accept a principal like Susan Matzkin. When CVES opened, they fired the first principal of that school before the end of the first semester because she was inept. The parents banded together, got the area superintendent involved, used the LSAC, and got her out of there before the winter break. This was a principal that came from Florida and tried to implement a bunch of looney policies and procedures that everyone hated. An interim leader was appointed and then Trussell was hired to replace her around spring break. Getting rid of Susan can be done, but it is going to take the support of the area supt., the board member Reeves, and the LSAC. The staff can't do it alone.

Anonymous said...

I sadly agree with the statements above about Mrs. Matzkin. I have witnessed her belittle her teachers. I've seen her uncomfortable attempts to connect with students and parents whenever she has an audience. I have spoken to my children's teachers about their frustrating work environment. She does demand that the teachers withhold important information from the parents to portray the image she wants to convey. She performs for Fulton County in order to receive laurels like her POTY nomination. She is disrespectful to the school's volunteers and does not appreciate what they do to improve the school because their programs are not test score driven. Susan Matzkin does not relate to her students or the community. The PTA parents are not her puppets. They work harder than anyone other than the teachers to improve BFES and don't want to tear down the school they put so much time and effort into making a better place for the students. I'm relieved to know that others have seen what I have seen. I hope that Mrs. Matzkin and her supervisors are reading this blog. What will it take to put a competent principal at our school?

Anonymous said...

Due to many relocations, my kids have been in several elementary & middle schools throughout the southeast. I have never seen such a dysfunctional administration team. It really saddens me to think my kids will be going back to school next month in such a toxic environment.

I was just speaking to another BFES parent today and found out that we are supposedly losing two more loving & dedicated teachers. One of my kids had one of these teachers and we absolutely loved her as did the rest of the kids/parents. It's really disturbing to see what's going on up there, especially when some of our top teachers are leaving.

I'm sure Ms. Matzkin will try to spin their departures in such a way that it has nothing to do with the working environment at BFES. We're not fools.

I haven't written a letter to the new Area Superintendent yet, however I plan to do so shortly. Just curious, for any folks who reached out to him, has he been responsive? I understand the previous Area Superintendent stuck his head in the sand when parents raised conerns.

This community deserves better!

Anonymous said...

A fish rots from the head down...

Anonymous said...

Teacher who left and went to Kings Ridge said she left because of principal.

Anonymous said...

Wow. You might as well have said her name. That was lame.....

Andrea Bartels said...

After reading most of the comments posted here, I take issue with the "Stepford wives" PTA comment. I am hardly a Stepford wife, and am involved in PTA so I can keep closer tabs on what is actually going on in our school while volunteering my time to make a meaningful difference in the educational experience of my children. If you don't make yourself available to make a positive impact and do what you can to improve things, then you certainly don't have much of a right to complain. Much of what was posted about our principal I would consider to be pretty accurate - I do not consider her to be a warm person, I do not see her as an effective leader for our teachers, and I do not view her as a particularly seasoned educator. She loves to show powerpoint presentations and quote data , and I feel that our children represent numbers to her. My children's education is the most important thing to me, and I could not care less about everything else. But - all of the complaints mentioned in the above posts clearly impact the teachers' abilities to provide a good education. The fact that so many people seem to have such issues troubles me - A LOT. I hope that this backlash will serve as a wake-up call for our principal. I do not recall seeing anyone sign a name to a comment - they are all "anonymous". I will be glad to use my name and I have said nothing in this post I would not stand up and say in public. Let's all hope we see some positive changes SOON!

Anonymous said...

As a former BFES teacher, it saddens me to read this blog. I loved teaching the children and working with wonderful and dedicated teachers at BFES. To see so many of my teacher friends leave this amazing and supportive community indicates a huge problem. Please lift up your child's teacher and let him/her know how much you appreciate what he/she does. Teachers become teachers because they LOVE CHILDREN and want to educate them. The teachers who remain at BFES need your support and show of appreciation.

Anonymous said...

A kindergarten teacher resigned this week! PRE- PLANNING week! HOW BAD CAN IT GET before the county starts paying attention! The staff and students are leaving in droves! This is insane!

Andrea Bartels said...

After meeting our new teacher today at sneak a peek, I am cautiously optimistic about changes in the overall atmosphere at BFES. The teachers all seemed very much at ease and excited to meet their new students, and the Principal was making her rounds being helpful - and it did not seem forced or fake. I hope this means we will see a school this year that places substance above style, although the matching staff shirts and new hallway banners were a nice touch. I will sign my name to this post, rather than posting anonymously, and I would encourage other posters to do the same - concerns seem much more valid when you are willing to put your name on it. I am so hopeful that the issues mentioned in this blog have been worked out and that this administration is becoming what this school needs it to be. I am going to continue to try to do my part to make changes for the better and have a positive impact on my child's education in any way that I can, and I encourage other parents to do the same. Here's hoping . . .

Anonymous said...

Don't let her fool you! Another teacher resigned yesterday morning before Sneak Peek!

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Jen's Blog said...

YAY Andrea, for posting your name to this! As an LSAC rep, I'd appreciate if more parents came to me and told me of these specific situations that need resolution -- I'm happy to keep them as anonymous as they would like. Or better yet, why aren't these parents volunteering or getting nominations (even self-nominations) to be on LSAC? Or PTA? Or the school board? The only teachers that left who I knew personally, did so because of personal situations where they were moving to another community. I didn't know Lisa Rissler, but I did know Robin Wheeler (and loved her -- she went the extra mile with students). Anything I've heard about the teachers is all hearsay. There is a reason they don't admit hearsay into evidence in court cases!
I know that Robin Wheeler put in for a transfer due to a change of location, but after that, I don't know the details. I do know that I loved Amber Harwell and would sing praises about her, too, but I cannot tell you why she resigned unless she tells me herself.
I do know some parents who moved their students to private schools this year -- and I can tell you with certainty it was because the private school offered a better educational and/or more supportive environment to their specific child -- the kids had needs that were better met elsewhere.
I would love to go to bat to make our school better -- but I cannot do so if I don't have the correct information about these problems. I recognize, too, that no one wants to post with their name here due to possibly experiencing career problems afterwards -- makes good sense. However, unless you do something concrete (like take up a petition, or call your senators and representatives, or the superintendent....) you won't get anywhere with just blogging about it. And of course, it sure doesn't help our community and will make potential buyers weary.
I cannot tell what is rumor and what it fact -- sure, some people don't like Susan or do not care for her style. Are there any pending lawsuits from the parents or teachers who have been complaining on this blog?
I don't want to turn a blind eye to all of the comments, but at the same time, there is little to do about it when you don't know who is coming forward about what. No principal is going to admit to the things that are written here! And who are the teachers and parents that are so bitter? Is it all because of the principal, or are there other issues (such as the changes being made for "teacher accountability" at the County and State level)?
I think we all know how to "make a difference" positively, and if parents and teachers REALLY care, bring these to the BOE, Superintendent and even our reps and senators.
You can spend all your time DEFLECTING about this and placing blame, or you can REFLECT on what you can do about it and take some action....Complaining on a blog doesn't help -- and I know a lot of complainers that sit around blaming everyone else about their problems -- but have they actually done anything about it?
If all of these posts are really true and there is some credible information to back the claims, why haven't we seen any actions to make changes? Actions speak much louder than words... I'd love to hear from you if you care to be credible.

Anonymous said...

After reviewing all this verbage, it is apparent this is Bush's fault.

A Bartels said...

If anyone is still reading this blog: now that Mrs. Matzkin has announced her resignation at the end of this school year, I am extremely concerned about what may come next! The very last thing we need at BFES is MORE change, especially "change for the sake of change" that may occur with a new person on the scene. I believe, for several reasons, that Dr. Cheatham is the very best candidate for this open position. 1 - She is very familiar with the school, its students, its parents, and its teachers and staff; 2 - she is highly respected by those same groups; 3 - she resolves conflicts quickly, effectively, and fairly; 4 - if she is not selected for this position, I wonder how long she will continue as AP; 5 - she is experienced, straightforward, caring, warm, compassionate, and involved, and yet she still has backbone. We could not possibly do better than Dr. Cheatham! If you agree, let's write letters on her behalf to Dr. Avossa before he can plug in someone who may not fit our unique needs so well. This is our chance to choose for a change! If you do not agree, then let's hear why not. Please don't squander this opportunity to voice your opinion and be heard while there is a chance to make a difference. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but as long as Dr. Avossa is the superintendent of schools for Fulton County then NOTHING will change no matter who is put in as principal! He only puts puppets in the principal and AP positions to do exactly what he and his business suits believe is what is best for FULTON COUNTY'S Reputation! Look him up on Google. Read about the schools he came from! They are a MESS!!!!
The sole people who are losing is OUR CHILDREN and TEACHERS!!!! Fulton County over all the other counties has lost more teachers (GREAT teachers) over the last 2- 3 years to other professions due to the treatment from Fulton County Schools. I used to hate listening to Neal Boortz rant about Public Government Schools as it would make me upset being that I was a public school teacher. Now that I have worked for Fulton County, I see that he knew EXACTLY what he was talking about!!!! BFES, Be very very careful in who you write those letters about! It may be time to CLEAN house and start over! It seems to me that was MATZKIN's/CHEATHEM's goal from the beginning!

Anonymous said...

I worked with Susan Matzkin in Forsyth County. I am disgusted by the vitriol on this blog, and quite honestly, my heart is breaking for a professional educator who lived and breathed what is best for the students. Susan is one of the most knowledgeable administrators concerning best practices in teaching and learning, classroom intervention, differentiation, and the needs of the special education student. She had progressive goals for collaboration and professional development. Her courage to do the right thing did not always make her popular, but she engendered great respect and made a difference to the teachers she worked with, but more importantly, the students. She didn’t just talk the talk, she did her very best to walk the walk. She was the most transparent administrator in her desire to see all students achieve.

The vast majority of teachers at her previous school were absolutely not “doing a happy dance” when she left. There were a very small handful of teachers who were underperforming, a couple of whom were popular, well-liked, and had been a part of the school community for years. Susan was on top of what was happening in the classrooms. She was in the classrooms. And she knew her students! She was invested in them.

I had the pleasure of long-time, hands-on experience working for and alongside Susan. She is extremely professional and intelligent, but she is also a genuine, dear person with a huge heart. She brought out the best in me as an educator, and I consider her one of the finest mentors I have had. She taught me to do what is best for our children. Doing what is best for our children sometimes means engaging in honest, uncomfortable conversations and risking popularity among adults.

Reading through these comments, I am saddened that Susan’s amazing work, achievement, and legacy in Fulton and Forsyth County has been reduced to a witch trial on this internet forum. It is shameful to malign anyone, professionally or personally, in this manner on a public record. The comments I have read are nothing short of the cyber-bullying of adolescents and highlight relationships between professionals and the people they serve that are lacking in professional boundaries. Quite frankly, it is only further evidence of the climate Susan entered into with such enthusiasm and extremely good and professional intentions.

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