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Letter: A sad day when Gonzalez was fired

Feb. 15 was a sad day for Madera teachers and Madera’s children. Our illustrious school board, in private session, voted to release our superintendent.

That it was done in secret, behind closed doors, is, for this teacher, one indication of the wrongfulness of the action. The Bible talks about those “hating the light, preferring the darkness, because their deeds are evil.”

In the 30 years I have been in this district, many superintendents have come and gone. Only two have been any good, Gonzalez being the second.

All the superintendents I have seen fit into one of two categories. In the first category are those who are “School board pleasers, school board yes men.” Generally they are people who don’t really know anything about education.

They, like so many school board members Madera traditionally elects, see education primarily as just a business after all, and the only important thing is spending as little as possible, especially on teachers and teacher aides who are, after all, just peons and not very important.

The failure to fathom the importance of teachers in education is paramount to not seeing the forest for the trees, but that is just the way it is. Usually this type of superintendent is not competent in most ways except one: knowing how to assuage and flatter the fat and fragile egos of the right board members.

The second type of superintendent understands what education is really all about from personal experience. This type of superintendent values teachers as intelligent, educated, vital components of the system.

He or she sees not just the trees in the forest, but the branches and leaves too. They empower teachers to empower students. Gonzalez was that type of superintendent. His like won’t likely come again soon.

Speaking for all the teachers I know in the district, we liked him; we miss him already. Sadly, I doubt the next superintendent will know as much about education and appreciate teachers nearly as much. I’ll bet money however, that he will know exactly whose you know what to kiss on the school board.

— Warren Starr, teacher, Madera South High School


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