At the Monday, August 9, regular school board meeting, many patrons, teachers and students sat waiting through the agenda items, for the show to begin. Channel 7, KTVB, took their now-accustomed position on the side of the room, camera pointed at the action.
Teachers had presented a vote of no confidence statement to the board, which repeated the deprecating slurs they have made on Mike Tomlin's character. Marion Summers, "patron", turned in a confidential document to the board to consider, and then passed it out to the waiting crowd, while the board sat in executive session.
Community members milled about the room, forming groups with the teachers, other patrons and the occasional student. It appeared that many were the complainees, perhaps wondering with Summers "what keeps the board from supporting teachers and staff?", by asking for Tomlin's resignation.
In her letter, Summers says Tomlin "lied", "slandered", "libeled", showed "disrespect towards the community", hired Paula Fox as Human Resources without board approval, and says, "several valuable staff members have left for other positions due to the disrespect and hostile work environment that Dr. Tomlin demonstrates toward most of the staff at Garden Valley School District."
Summers also says she finds "it odd that she (Valerie Aker, newly hired Kindergarten teacher)was hired as a consultant in May and now as a teacher", having known Tomlin for more than 15 years. There are more accusations.
The teachers' statement begins with saying they believe Tomlin "can no longer lead the school through our Mission Statement of respect, responsibility, commitment and integrity." It ends with "our children and school are suffering under leadership that is devoid of trust and integrity. The school healing will only begin with his removal."
One teacher admitted she has no problem with Mike Tomlin, but she feels she has to support her teachers. Another signed the statement because she didn't like the way a part-time staffer was let go. Another signed it because she thinks Tomlin says one thing or another, but she couldn't verbalize what. Does this suggest there is a possibility that some teachers would be open to reconciliation?
Supporters for Dr. Tomlin are no less plentiful, but much less vocal and visible at these meetings. They have a completely different story about Tomlin. One says, "I want to speak out, but don't want to embarrass any teachers by naming so many of them who have been tirelessly supported by Mike Tomlin. Who, for two years, have received his accolades and enthusiastic response to their achievements when they won awards, accomplished certificates and degrees, created programs, coached winning games, organized career fairs, put on craft shows and fundraisers and received academic status. He was there for them, rooting."
Another supporter eating at the Senior Center, said, "It must be difficult to look at yourself in the mirror and remember the reason the baby was in the classroom in the first place was because Mike Tomlin was helping out a young mother, who wanted to try to teach while hoping to remain close to her baby. Against his better judgement, he allowed her to try, quoting a precedent. He was actually being so nice to Cody and Brenna Fisher. Everyone has forgotten that."
Mike Tomlin has a reputation among many as being a gentleman, an intelligent and thoughtful person, and the group of supporters at the meeting see this as nothing less than a witchhunt, which started with a small group, as revenge.
Nonetheless, it has blown up into a full-fledged campaign against the unsuspecting Superintendent who followed popular Stan Kress into the position at the School District. By the end of this board meeting, with no statement from the board, people trailed out with either puzzled, disappointed, disgusted, sad, or slightly hopeful countenances. But it was plainly, painfully clear, no one was happy.