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Our View: More turmoil for the Field schools

turnover, divided leadership complicates fiscal challenges

Published: February 13, 2013 4:00 AM

For the fourth time in lit-

tle more than a decade, the Field school district is looking for a new superintendent.

The departure of Superintendent Beth Coleman -- who resigned, yet admitted Monday that she didn't want to step down -- is an all-too-familiar turn of events in Field, and an especially disturbing one for a district facing serious financial challenges that cannot be adequately addressed without solid leadership.

Superintendent Coleman is a "homegrown" product of the Field district unlike her predecessors. Like them, however, she apparently ran afoul of a majority of the school board, which made it impossible for her tenure to continue.

No administrator can provide effective leadership in an atmosphere of turmoil. No leader can provide direction when it is impossible to focus on the future.

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No decent employer hires an administrator to set them up to fail, but the loss of four competent school superintendents in a relatively short period of time cannot help but raise questions about the elected leadership of the Field district. It's one thing to hire a superintendent who turns out to be a "bad fit," but there seems to be an unfortunate pattern here.

The Field district serves one of the fastest growing communities in Portage County. Those who choose to live in Brimfield and Suffield -- and many have made that choice in the past decade or so -- do so with the expectation that the schools will provide a top-notch education for their children. The chronic personnel turnover and atmosphere of divisiveness and upheaval Field is experiencing cannot help but take a toll on its educational mission.

During Monday's board meeting, more than a dozen speakers shared their thoughts on Superintendent Coleman's departure. "We are never going to get to a place where we have an experienced superintendent if this continues," one told the school board.

Quite true. And it will be even more difficult -- if not impossible -- to persuade voters to support more local funding for the schools as long as there is a revolving door on the superintendent's office.

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anonymous Feb 16, 2013 3:13 PM

The real fact here is the public clearly all agreed that 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 or any other possible way. 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.