Hillsboro parents initiate recall of school board member Hayes

Friday, May 27, 2011 at 12:35pm

Still frustrated over the controversial ouster of teacher Mary Catherine Bradshaw, and the issues it raised, Hillsboro High School parents have waged a new battle: a recall effort to remove school board member Michael Hayes from his seat.

Whether the effort is symbolic or results in a genuine campaign remains to be seen. The group of Hillsboro parents has just 30 days from the time the recall initiated on May 24 to acquire petition signatures from 15 percent of registered voters in Hayes’ Green Hills-area District 8, which includes Hillsboro. The clock is already ticking to gather 6,301 petitions.

“Parents just needed to be heard,” said Paula Jennings, who’s active in the Hillsboro community. “It started with Mary Catherine, but it’s more of an acceptance of this program [The Academies of Nashville]. It’s more about coming into a school and not asking parents.”

Metro clerk Marilyn Swing said she’s not obligated to reveal the name of the individual who picked up papers earlier this week to initiate the recall. Several phone calls by The City Paper determined many Hillsboro parents have taken a collective ownership of the movement. If successful, it’s unclear who would square off against Hayes in a special election.

Hayes, who has taken the position that a board member’s role isn’t to delve into personnel matters, said he could not comment directly on the recall effort, in part because he doesn’t know who has triggered it.  

“I read the petition, but have not been contacted by any of the petitioners or someone who they would expect or hope to run in my place, if they were successful in collecting the signatures,” Hayes said.

“I certainly don’t think I’ve been derelict in my duties,” he said.

Elected to the school board last year, Hayes has been caught in the middle of a clash between Hillsboro parents, students and faculty and Metro school administrators over the transfer of the school’s beloved International Baccalaureate coordinator Bradshaw, who is headed to Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School next year.

Most parents have pinned much of the blame for Bradshaw’s ouster on academies, the model of high school redesign in which career topics or themes form the basis of learning and instruction. Parents have targeted academies for allegedly disrupting the school’s successful IB program. School officials say Hillsboro’s IB program will still thrive.  

On Thursday, some Hillsboro parents met with Hayes after he reached out to them. The gathering may have helped mend some ill feelings, with some calling it productive.

Hayes said much of the conversation centered on parents’ hopes to transform Hillsboro into an IB magnet school, a proposal they unveiled at a recent school board meeting.

“I listened to some of the reasons that they wanted to have a conversion,” Hayes said. “It was a couple of hours talking about how they view Hillsboro and where they would like Hillsboro to go.

“It was a productive conversation,” Hayes said. “I enjoyed, certainly as I’ve always enjoyed, having the opportunity to sit down with constituents and hearing their thoughts.”

If communications progress, the recall could be halted.

“If he’s willing to reach out to parents, then I think the group of people who are involved would be willing to withdraw the recall,” Jennings said. “That’s an easy thing to do.”

Councilman Jamie Hollin in 2009 waged the only successful recall in Metro history, collecting more than 1,000 petitions to hold a special election to remove Pam Murray from the council’s District 5 seat. In the special election, Hollin defeated Murray by two votes.

18 Comments on this post:

By: edsupp on 5/27/11 at 12:19

So the moral here is if you do not get your way, then try and remove those in charge and replace them with those that see things your way. These people are great role models for their kids. Also, I love how the parents want to change Hillsboro into an IB magnet school. A very small percentage of Hillsboro's current population is IB. What makes these great parents think that they can recruit 700 to 800 more students to come and be a part of this program? My suggestion to the parents.....let the teachers teach, the administrators make decisions, tell the politicians to do the same, stop all of the bogus lawsuits, and if you do not like the school your child is zoned for then move or put him in a private school.

The IB program is great. Im not knocking it. However, it is a small part of the school. As a school, Hillsboro is average at best.

By: modern4life on 5/27/11 at 2:13

edsupp states: "if you do not get your way, then try and remove those in charge and replace them with those that see things your way". Sounds to me a lot like how this country was formed.

By: gruntz on 5/27/11 at 2:26

modern4life: your going to bring The Revolution into the argument over a teacher being transferred? Really? Reeeally!?

By: modern4life on 5/27/11 at 2:32


By: tim4wsp on 5/27/11 at 2:38

Sounds like edsupp & gruntz need a lesson on civics. Yes, if you feel you aren't being represented you re-elect or recall. You two must have gone to Hillwood.

By: edsupp on 5/27/11 at 2:49

No I did not attend Hillwood. I just think that these parents need to let the school system run the school. To me it seems like these particular parents think that their opinion is the only one that matters. The IB program handles a very small part of Hillsboro's student population. Not all students are in the program and not all parents want it changed to an IB magnet school. Bradshaw was removed from her position because she did not support the direction of the administration. In any other profession that would be the end of it. Here, the parents feel like they can make administrative decisions and that their voice will not only be heard, but also followed.

By: modern4life on 5/27/11 at 3:19

If caring about the education of my children is wrong, I don't want to be right.

By: Nitzche on 5/27/11 at 3:35

what is karl dean's position? ....oh, this is not Harpeth Hall, sorry

By: artsmart on 5/27/11 at 3:40

edsupp this school system brings anyone that cares about education to this point. If they do not like your opinion there is no response at all. Unfortunately that is the way that Metro does business. That would probably be fine if they had a winning track record at all but they do not. There is probably not enough questioning.

By: edsupp on 5/27/11 at 4:21

Caring about your children and their education is a great idea. However, trying to start a magnet school is a different issue. I also agree that more questioning should be done. There is a right and wrong way to do that though. This has all come about because Bradshaw did not agree with the direction of Hillsboro High School. She could have remained in her position and her role and responsibility would not have changed at all. She could have still been over the IB program. All she had to do was support the district's vision of where high schools were headed. The IB program will remain at HHS. The district has already said that a new person has been hired to replace Bradshaw. These parents are simply making a mountain out of a mole hill.

By: richgoose on 5/27/11 at 4:57

EDSUPP is right on the money. Hillsboro is basically a school for the "bused". The school board did leave a small amount of educational facilities and teachers there to appease the liberals and those that cannot afford private schools. This element of people are a small miinority that probably is too small to make anything but a lot of noise.

This little band of parents probably consists of those whose children did not get into Hume Fogg. Others whose children were thrown out of MBA and Franklin Road Academy and etc. Others who just plain could not afford private school education.

These parents wound up rationalizing that Hillsboro was a legitimate substitute.

By: Funditto on 5/27/11 at 5:07

Rich A-hole. There are also people there like me with a disables child. I CAN afford private schools, but none will have him because he doesn't fit their mold. The parents I know can well afford private but choose to support their community school instead of leaving it up to some high-paid babysitters and snooty helicopter parents. Nothing wrong with that.

By: seeworthy on 5/27/11 at 6:09

Funditto, don't know what type of disabilities your child has, but mine has some too. We couldn't get any effective help for him in Nashville once he hit middle school, so we finally tried Benton Hall, in Franklin. It's only a half hour away (and they have a shuttle w/ 2 stops on Hillsboro Rd.). It's more affordable than most private schools, and their class sizes are no larger than 9, so the kids get a lot of attention. Just thought you might want to check it out, if you haven't already. www.bentonhallacademy.org

By: Funditto on 5/27/11 at 7:01

Thanks, see. We tried and it didn't happen. We've been very happy with Metro.

By: govskeptic on 5/28/11 at 10:13

With the Superintendent just getting a renewal, I suppose these parents are going
to have to wait a few yrs before they get to run the system!

By: bigbadude on 5/28/11 at 5:43

Passage Psalm 24 :

Psalm 24

1The earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

2For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.

3Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?

4He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

5He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

6This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.

7Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

8Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.

9Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

10Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.

By: cookeville on 5/30/11 at 8:46

The parents of the IB students are trying to do what they consider best for their children. Unfortunately, they are in the minority at Hillsboro, but they likely have the most money and clout. hmmm...., wonder who will win out?

By: MathGeek on 5/30/11 at 3:51

Enough already. Michael Hayes had nothing to do with this, nor could he have intervened because that would be overstepping his position, and he is being used as a scapegoat. The parents are doing more damage to the program by making even more people angry than was supposedly done by moving the teacher in charge. Everyone needs to step back, take a deep breath, and refocus the energy onto the students, the teachers who remain, and the school.