School employee survey reveals undercurrent of dissatisfaction, distrust, of system and administration
Virginia Beach teachers give school superintendent (Tiny) Tim Jenney and the school board low marks for leadership and staff morale, but say in a survey that the education system is a good deal and serves students well.
Jenney surveyed school administrators, classified, and teachers on a variety of topics last year to determine employee attitudes toward the system, school superintendent, and school board in meeting the goals of providing quality education.
The survey was taken last October, but the school board knew nothing about it until a copy of the results was requested by the media. It was then that the board got a copy of the survey and the results, but no explanation why they hadn't known about it initially.
Jenney's handling of the survey and its results validated one of the survey's statements about which teachers were asked to rate: 51.5% of the teachers strongly disagreed that "The school board is providing quality leadership for our school division". "The board knew nothing about this until Jenney was forced to make it public," said one teacher. This has been a major criticism of Jenney; that he runs the board and the board is nothing but a rubber stamp panel of followers afraid to challenge him.
(That changed recently when Jenney, seeking nearly $19 MILLION for this year's school budget went public in calling for a tax increase - an action outside his job description - that resulted in some board members privately taking him to the woodshed for speaking out of school. Only the city council has the authority to call for a tax increase).
The 2nd major criticism of Jenney is his short-man syndrome, heavy handed management style with employees. If you aren't a yes man (or woman) to him, you are an enemy. That was likewise reflected in the survey when teachers were asked: "The superintendent is providing effective leadership for our school division." More than 61.8% of the teacher disagreed. This validates hallway conversations that TLD (Tiny Little Dwarf), as he is unflatteringly called behind his back, is more about his personal image and career than he is with education substance and well-being of his personnel. Even 19.5% of the administrative staff also disagreed with that statement.
In other negative aspects, which may be why Jenney never told the board the survey had been taken, much less tabulated the following was revealed:
On the positive side and despite Jenney's dictator-like style of management and distrust of the board's leadership, the teachers saw some good in the system:
Tomorrow: How the school administrators see the superintendent and the system.