Residents,Teachers Publicly Support SF Supt.Trail
A group of Southern Fulton School District teachers and parents rallied to back departing Superintendent Kendra Trail last Tuesday, attending the school board’s monthly meeting and in some cases publicly voicing their support.
With so many in attendance on September 18, the board opted to move the meeting to the auditorium where tables and chairs already stood at the forefront for use by board members, administrators and the student representative to the board.
Beverly Williams, a self-proclaimed import to Fulton County, was the first of four members of the public to stand before the board and audience to speak on behalf of Trail during citizen participation. Williams said her children have been attending Southern Fulton for the last 12 years. Even though her husband’s employment could move them to another district, she said she refuses to leave here until her children’s schooling has been completed.
Williams said she believes in the school and its leadership from the staff and administration all the way up to the board. She went on to cite three instances where the school and its staff have had a positive impact on her family’s lives. The occasions included a family illness, skipping a child ahead one grade and testing for kindergarten.
Williams referred to Trail as a Christian, and said she has seen it first-hand in how she conducts herself as well as her compassion. “There are those in the community who appreciate you,” she told the superintendent.
Glenn Hiller, a concerned parent and owner of Dott Village Store, noted he had never before attended a board meeting prior to last Tuesday. He said he would offer comments as well as questions to the board that could be answered at October’s board meeting. Among the questions were what are the guidelines or bylaws that dictate board member responsibility and actions and behavior within the community; and how can the community access this information.
According to Hiller, his goal in attending the meeting was not only to get more involved but to encourage the involvement of others.
“The voices being heard and the people who are showing up consistently are not a true representation of the community,” Hiller said. “I think the voices being heard can’t just be from just a specific few people with strong opinions on one issue. The voices that need to be heard need to be from the community as a whole. Parents that have a vested interest in the success of our school district need to get involved and stay involved.”
He later made reference to that small group of persons “disrupting” the school district as “narrow, weak-minded individuals with loud voices and too much free time.” Hiller specifically referenced former board member Edgar Yates, alleging in prior conversations that the Needmore man said he was only concerned with taxes. Furthermore, he accused Yates of saying that if Hiller’s only concern was quality education, he should send his children to a private school.
Hiller indicated that allowing Trail to slip through their fingers was a failure of the school and school board. He labeled her as thoughtful, kind and caring and that she’s exceeded expectations in all categories.
“Any amount of money can’t buy the genuine concerns she has for our kids,” Hiller stated.
Central Fulton teacher Maureen Litton, a mother of two Southern Fulton students, encouraged board members to visit the classrooms. “You don’t know what you’re missing,” she said. “ ... You’re part of the team.”
Litton said she was at the meeting to say thank you to all of the teachers and to celebrate with them all of the moments they experience. “I’m here to celebrate,” announced Litton, who added the district has received national recognition through “U.S. World and News Report” while under Trail’s direction.
“Let’s keep coming back,” she concluded. “I want to be positive with my voice.”
Finally, one concerned gentleman said he was unaware of what had been going on at the district. He said Southern Fulton has come a long way in part by the administration’s efforts dating back to Ralph Scott.
“Southern Fulton has surpassed the school district where I came from,” he stated. “ ... You’ve got to get the right people on the bus, and the right person driving it.”
Later in the meeting, board member Allen Morton thanked those in attendance for sharing their concerns and encouraged Trail to reconsider and stay with Southern Fulton. He noted Trail was the best superintendent the district has had since he’s been with the board.
Fellow board member David Smith chimed in that Trail needed to listen and reconsider, while Timothy Hull said Trail has done a “dynamite job.”
“I’m sorry you were harassed,” said Hull apologizing to the superintendent. He concluded that if there were any board members who were unable to work together as a group, they should resign from their position.