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Beth Coleman out as superintendent in the Field School District (with video)

By Diane Smith | Staff Writer Published: February 12, 2013 4:00 AM
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A divided Field Board of Education accepted the resignation of Superintendent Beth Coleman Monday, but not before more than a dozen residents addressed the board to tell them that they should be turning in their resignations instead.

The packed room had angry words for board members Terry Kettering, Allyson Westover and Donna Karg, leaving mid-meeting once the vote was taken. They applauded the speakers, who included trustees from both townships in the district, Brimfield's police chief, former board of education members and staff members of the district.

"I'm not sure this board could organize a trip to the bathroom," quipped Brimfield Chief David Oliver, the first of 13 speakers who encouraged the board not to accept Coleman's resignation.

Oliver said he contacted an area superintendent who was willing to mentor Coleman. He asked Coleman if she wanted to resign, and the superintendent shook her head no.

"If she doesn't want to resign, I'm imploring this board not to accept her resignation," he said. "Beth is homegrown. She's a Field kid. She doesn't have one foot out the door ... Do the right thing. This is a person you're dealing with."

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Westover would not publicly state her reasons except to tell Oliver his offer to arrange mentoring was "too little, too late."

Other speakers included Brimfield Trustee Mike Kostensky, Suffield Trustee Tom Calcei, former board member David Gynn and numerous parents, residents and community members.

"We love working for Mrs. Coleman," said teacher Tina Kruse. "Can anybody tell me why?"

Resident Terri Lynn Reed said if Coleman resigns, the board can forget about passing its levy in May.

"Your levy won't pass, and I'll do whatever I can to make sure it doesn't pass," she said.

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Westover said the decision was difficult for her because she grew up with Coleman and their families knew one another. Westover also claimed that she pushed for Coleman's hiring because "I wanted the local girl."

"If you don't think it would be easier to look the other way, you need to think again," she said. "It's a situation of separating personal from professional."

Board members Laura May and Larry Stewart cast the dissenting votes. Both gave statements in Coleman's favor, with May giving a PowerPoint presentation at the start of the meeting titled, "Time to Tell The Truth." In the presentation, she details emails from board members, phone logs, meeting minutes and a bill from Attorney John Britton who allegedly encouraged Coleman to take another job early in the school year.

Stewart said he used to hear respect for Field from other districts but now, other districts are instead hoping Field students will transfer through open enrollment.

"All I want to do is keep Mrs. Coleman and get on with the business of the board of education," he said.

Coleman, who made a quiet exit after the meeting, retains her status as a tenured teacher in the district, according to a statement previously released by the board.

Residents stood in the hallway to decide their next steps after the meeting.

Karg, Kettering and Westover's terms expire at the end of the calendar year. The deadline to turn in petitions to seek the three empty board seats is in August.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1139 or dsmith@recordpub.com

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anonymous Feb 19, 2013 7:16 PM

Well, here we go again. Another outburst from the always obnoxious. Heaven forbid anyone disagrees over the levy terms. Someone from the community who recently attended a school board meeting stood up and vocalized that the school levy would not pass, and that she would do whatever it takes to make sure it didn't pass. Agree or disagree, that is her right. She is entitled to her opinion. Now because of this she is receiving her public tongue lashing on social media. And this isn't the first time. For instance, "People are just plain ignorant. Apparently it just takes too much effort to educate oneself." Well now, that sure will motivate people to get involved. Wish someone would share with the community what exactly is wrong with certain folks. Not enough hugs? Is that what was once posted as well? When are the rude comments going to stop? Maybe some should stop being ignorant themselves and get educated on how to get along with others. Furthermore it's not necessary to post comments about the men that are ogled on supposed Field community sites. Here is a direct quote, "I am just wondering how much we could have made if that shirt would have come off! I think the bills would have been flying!" Not a very good idea for raising funds, to say the least. Please post crude comments somewhere else. And maybe focus on supporting the kids instead of all the guys for a change.

anonymous Feb 12, 2013 9:40 PM

@Redleg6, Well said!! Maybe he can pay her a "private" salary from the profits of his t-shirts and stickers. I am going to make up t-shirts that say "The eGO must GO".

anonymous Feb 12, 2013 6:59 PM

The District began the downhill slide when Dave Gynn (who spoke) brought in his buddy Dave Brobeck, (who mentored Beth) who then brought in his tea party buddies and shared school business they had no business knowing. Do you see the problem growing? Unethical behavior has erupted on this fragmented Board that until Laura and Larry appeared on the scene was solid. Her rants and the constant search for what she prophesies as the truth, his threats of resigning if he does not get his way, both of them leaking executive session, privileged information is unethical and they should both resign before someone brings them up on charges.

The majority of speakers were friends of Beth's who spoke as only a supportive friend would, not as someone who knows the inner workings of a school district. The last levy was tea party generated and failed.

The absolute only way this District will come out of this mess will be when Faca is gone (Brobeck, et al project), thus bringing $750,000 back to the home school, the tea party gets kicked out of the District (no other District would put up with these people's antics), and the house is cleaned. It had to start with Beth. She was a superb principal, but then sadly chose to follow Brobeck, and turned into a female version of him. Somewhere the old Beth is still there - deep down, but buried.

anonymous Feb 12, 2013 4:56 PM

Well said, JimmyJelly...Quote.."let's be grownups and elect responsible candidates who display a history of supporting students and teachers". Lets not forget about somebody that supports the Taxpayer.

anonymous Feb 12, 2013 4:23 PM

Christie, you are also going to do your part to sink the ship before moving on to greener pastures. That was the whole point of your post, am I right?

anonymous Feb 12, 2013 4:03 PM

JimmyJelly - correct, I don't like the way the ship is sailing, so I, like many others, are going to board another ship.

anonymous Feb 12, 2013 4:03 PM

JimmyJelly - correct, I don't like the way the ship is sailing, so I, like many others, are going to board another ship.

anonymous Feb 12, 2013 3:45 PM

"It is so discouraging to see that our school board is letting Beth Coleman resign. She is an asset to our schools and our community and I strongly agree that the May levy WILL NOT PASS. My children have been asking to attend another school for a year now. It is clear now that they will get their wish."

You don't like the way the ship is sailed, so you are going to do your part to sink the ship. Nice.

This is the moral equivalent of becoming angry at the neighborhood kids and announcing that you are taking your ball and going home. It is a short-sighted, immature reaction.

anonymous Feb 12, 2013 3:33 PM

We can only guess the reasons behind Coleman's departure. Indeed, it seems as if no one is at liberty or is willing to discuss what is happening. Because of this, I find it difficult to agree or disagree with the majority of the board who wish to non-renew her contract. That said, I believe with all of my heart that it is irresponsible to threaten to vote down Field's upcoming Levy. In doing so, teachers and students are hurt the most. It would be a childish and silly reaction. I do understand a person's desire to replace members of the school board (I don't necessarily agree with it, but I understand). However, one must realize that the simple act of replacing will not necessarily result in a better outcome. At this point, I would be shocked if Portage County Tea Party candidates did not flood the ballot for open school board positions. More Tea Party members would surely create an adversarial environment between teachers and the school board. Considering the outstanding work Field teachers are contributing despite low funding and freezes in pay/raises in benefits, a Tea Party controlled board would surely be a sad ending to this story. I want to be clear: this is not a matter of speculation on my part. Indeed, the Tea Party was quick to make public and to the fan the flames of the tension between school board members. If the community decides to replace board members, let's be grownups and elect responsible candidates who display a history of supporting students and teachers. But, first of all, let's vote to support students and teachers by passing a levy.

anonymous Feb 12, 2013 2:44 PM

bcdc4 I appauld you for stating what 95% of this community feels. Those 3 MUST go. Do the right thing and step down. You have made it quite clear that you are not supporting this community or our schools. I applaud Laura May and Larry Stewart for sticking with what's right. Laura-thank you for spending the incredible amount of time it took to get the facts together and for shedding light on these board members. Does Westover actually think we are going to believe that this was not personal? Seriously....resign and move on.

anonymous Feb 12, 2013 1:35 PM

One might argue that the Board of Education is or is not capable of operating the schools successfully, or that Beth Coleman is or is not the right person to be superintendent. One can praise or bash individuals and go looking for the "right" person for the job, but if that person existed they would not take the job because it would be the "wrong" job for them. Nothing will be gained. If you want to have a chance to solve the problem, you first have to realize that the problem is insufficient resources, for both residents and schools. Passing/failing a levy only shifts the problem between parent and school. The source of the problem is that Washington has for decades been bleeding Ohio white. Now the blood runs short, the schools are wracked by convulsions, and the perplexed children turn away from the awful carnage. Quit bashing each other and go hunt down the pack of wolves devouring our homes, schools, and children.

anonymous Feb 12, 2013 12:27 PM

The real fact here is the public clearly all agreed that the Beth Coleman should stay as superintendent of Field Schools. The community has questions about the integrity of the school board and the lack of the board to come up with suggestions of their own to advance the passage of a levy in which they now have put to death. The Key Citizens group, the Tea Party and other individuals gave and I repeat gave the school board all the ideas and suggestions adopted for levies. Beth herself gave $425,000.00 of cuts for the new budget not the school board. I have yet to see anything original or produced as brain storming from this group, well excuse me 3 of the group in which have been there. Mrs. Westover, Terry Kettering and Donna Karg the citizens and community are looking and pray we will be successful in throwing you out by either recall or some valid reason of the Sunshine Law. We do not want you and it was made clear. Hopefully you will be made uncomfortable and made to feel as dirty as you have made others feel. When you walk into meetings may you feel you have to look over your shoulder to see if you are going to be removed but not know when. The football side lines are no longer for you Mr. Kettering. Mrs. Westover stay with your employer Copley Schools and get out of ours. Mrs. Karg I feel sorry for your family member that teaches at the Field Schools maybe they are the ones that painted the rock, you need to go. Painting rocks have been more important than community spirit and school team (as in the Teachers) achieving "Excellent with Distinction".

It is sad you 3 are so foolish you mistake it for being smart. The community has spoken.

anonymous Feb 12, 2013 11:43 AM

Don't feel too alone in this mess field residents for Waterloos board is no better. Both districts might be able to scape together enough board members between them who are there for the right reasons that they could actually run a school efficiently and effectively. Actually I think between them we'd still be a person or two short. Good Luck.

anonymous Feb 12, 2013 10:22 AM

A poster suggest that if what the Chief of Brimfield PD stated was true he was still wrong to state it. What a spineless person that would be! It's never wrong to openly speak the truth. There is no hope without it. And also the actual actions of the board members could NEVER be considered gossip. Gossip is untrue rumor not true facts about incompetency that one doesn't want mentioned. I will say what I've always told my kids when they acted irresponsibly. If the wrong actions of the school board members bring about talk about them they don't want said, then maybe they should just NOT be doing those things & then there'd be no talk.

anonymous Feb 12, 2013 9:36 AM

The Chief of Brimfield PD needs to take the Dale Carnagie course, "How to Win Friends and Influnence People"! Quote..."I'm not sure this board could organize a trip to the bathroom," quipped Brimfield Chief David Oliver, the first of 13 speakers who encouraged the board not to accept Coleman's resignation....Insult (encourage?) the board? Sounds like intimidation in full Uniform. The PD needs to go to a bulling seminar. Elected officials Dividing the community. Who would vote for a levy, now that the Chief told the whole county, that the board at Field couldn't organize a bathroom trip... If, what the Chief said is true, and you know police don't lie, why would you give the system more money if thoses that spend it, can't make it to the toilet? Another episode of the "Flight of the Falcon Chronicles"

anonymous Feb 12, 2013 8:29 AM

The board has removed a fine educator with the district's best interest at heart. Beth is a scapegoat for the inabilities of a dysfunctional board.

It is now in the best interest of the community to take action to replace the board. Without a completely new board there will be always animosity and tension that was caused by this unjust decision.

Failure to replace the board will beleaguer progress in the district. The controversy regarding Beths dismissal haunt any remain board members.

The students deserve a team that can focus its efforts on progress and working together, not political end fighting.

Beth - Be proud -you gave it you're all and made the best decisions with the "team" you had to work with.


anonymous Feb 12, 2013 7:51 AM

Sadly, this is what happens when the people ignore the true source of the problem. None of the "solutions" work.

anonymous Feb 12, 2013 7:50 AM

This meeting sounded like a session on a Jerry Springer show. Was that a bonding exercise? It failed.. Plain and simple... She was inefficient at her job.. Who cares if she was from Field? I am happy that she resigned and we can move on to hire someone from the outside... The behavior of the crowd was unexcusable.. You are terrible role models. Next time, Call the sheriff to come. It sounded like a meeting at the KKK..... All you needed was the tree. Disgusting crowd......... No wonder you can't pass a school levy. Great job Board..... Spring house clean.....:) Facebook has destroyed Field Local with all their gossip. Field should make everyone get off Facebook while they are employed there.

anonymous Feb 12, 2013 7:42 AM

It is so discouraging to see that our school board is letting Beth Coleman resign. She is an asset to our schools and our community and I strongly agree that the May levy WILL NOT PASS. My children have been asking to attend another school for a year now. It is clear now that they will get their wish.

For the three board members, you know who you are, please don't embarrass yourselves and try to run for reelection. You won't be back.