I got an email from a friend who lives in Tucson over the weekend. She told me that she saw the news and was going to have a pin made for me that says NAPO (NOT A PUSH OVER)!!!! So this is going to be my new signature.....................
Sheila Rogers, NAPO
New mood for a new school year in Douglas - KGUN9 On Your Side, Tucson News, Weather & Sports
New mood for a new school year in Douglas
Reporter: Joel Waldman
DOUGLAS, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Two tumultuous years. It's how many would describe the tenure of former Douglas Unified Schools District Superintendent, Earl Pettit. And, over those last two years, some in Douglas argued a few of its school board members acted more like the children it was supposed to represent.
But, now, many hope "a commitment to excellence", the district's motto, also includes the adults running it. There's a new woman in charge, Superintendent Sheila Rogers.
"I was a teacher, a director, a principal. I've never had any issues of any kind and I'm confident in my abilities to lead this community," remarked Rogers.
Douglas is a community Rogers knows well. Her grandparents settled in Douglas back in 1912 . And, Rogers was raised there too. "I attribute who I am today to being, having grown up in Douglas. And, when I found out this superintendent seat was opened, I felt like it would give me an opportunity to give back to the community that gave me a whole lot," said Rogers.
It's a community that went through a whole lot. Douglas is still healing from the fallout of a nasty battle between former Superintendent Earl Pettit and two current board members, President Chuck Hoyack and member Patricia Lopez. A third, embroiled board member, Ed Rivera, has since resigned.
The frequent verbal smack downs, along with at least one other administrative leave, and a slew of board agendas aimed at picking Pettit apart, ultimately led to his firing six months ago. Pettit, in return, slapped the district with a multimillion dollar lawsuit.
"At this point we still don't really know why Mr. Pettit was targeted? Do you have any idea why your predecessor was targeted?" KGUN9 asked. "I have absolutely no idea!" said Rogers. "And you don't care to know?", KGUN9 pressed. "No, I want to move forward," replied Rogers.
"Do you think the root of the problem with Mr. Pettit and Mr. Hoyack was really just a personality conflict?" KGUN9 asked board member Mario Ramos, Sr., " That's something only Mr. Hoyack would have to answer himself. I don't even want to try to think what the problem was," replied Ramos, Sr..
Some suggest it all started over Stevenson Elementary and its' ELL, or English Language Learners' program. There was a virtual mutiny against it, led by principal Rafael Orrtiz. But, when Pettit called him out on the state mandated program, others, like board President Hoyack started to call Pettit out.
It's a situation the new superintendent tells us is all smoothed out, "I've read a directive and some information from the state department on it. And everything I understand now is fine and they are absolutely following the directives the state department has given us in terms of what we need to do at Stevenson and all the elementary schools in Douglas," said Rogers.
Some say Rogers' was picked because she could be easily picked on by the school board. But, it's a suggestion both she and the board say is silly, "I asked the new superintendent if she was a push over and she said no, do you see her as being one?" KGUN9 asked. "No, I don't think so. She got position because we thought she was best qualified person," added Ramos Sr..
"He (Pettit) ran a tight, tough ship. Do you think you were chosen, in part, because you're a soft person, who can be pushed over easily?" KGUN9 asked. "No, I cant be pushed over easily. But, I have a completely different approach. I do not have a military approach," said Rogers.
A quieter Commander-in-Chief of Douglas schools who hopes to make her voice heard in the classroom, not the boardroom.