Superintendent Allison Explains How Gilbert Public Schools Board Vacancy Will Be Filled.... Huh?

Gilbert Public Schools superintendent Dr. Dave Allison*was asked if citizens would be able to meet candidates or provide input prior to the final selection decision for a vacant school board position. The short answer, finally provided by Board President E. J. Anderson, is "NO."

This seat on the GPS Governing Board was held by Shane Stapley until March 10, 2012. Hayley Ringle, the Arizona Republic, reports that seven citizens have filed for consideration to fill this vacancy:

  • Jason Barney

  • Deb Carr

  • Leanna DeKing

  • Jill Humpherys

  • Blake Sacha

  • Adelaida Severson

  • Charles "Stevin" Smith

Dave Allison was asked if citizens would have an opportunity to meet the candidates and perhaps have an input into the selection process.  The short answer is "No."

It's a shame that citizens won't be able to meet the candidates and ask questions about their views on the governing board's duties and responsibilities to students and their parents. Leanna DeKing is the deputy administrator for the state Department of Economic Security, the agency that issued judicial findings that Gilbert Public Schools discriminated against a teacher in violation of federal and state civil rights laws. Ms. DeKing might be able to offer insight about legality of the district allowing Associate Superintendent Nikki Blanchard and principals Vicki Hester and Debbie Singleton to continue working in high administrative posts with those judicial findings of illegal conduct against them.

A team of board President E.J. Anderson, Superintendent Dave Allison and Gilbert Education Association President Diane Drazinski will choose their top three candidates through interviews and the extensive applications.

The names of the team's top pick and two alternates will be given to Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools Don Covey by April 12.The three candidates will attend a seminar April 21 with Covey, Allison, and either Anderson or Drazinski.

Covey will make his choice by April 24 and the new board member will be sworn in April 26.  (from

The selection of a new board member is going to be a closed process with no transparency or accountability, but as soon as the new member is seated, that member will have common interests with the GPS administration. Those interests are likely to differ from interests of taxpayers, parents and district employees.

A big concern is that Diane Drazinski is a member of the selection committee.  It would seem that Diane Drazinski's responsibility should be representing the best interests of district employees in recommending a candidate for the open board seat. The problem for district employees, of course, is that Diane Drazinski actively worked AGAINST the issues of dues-paying members of the Gilbert Education Association. Perhaps this is why it is so easy for the district to target employees to be fired with no recourse -- even though district policies and regulations would lead employees to believe there is due process before employees are separated or otherwise dismissed from their positions.

Three of the seven candidates sit on the board of the Gilbert Education Foundation. One might think that those board members would be interested in knowing when grants to schools in the district aren't used in a timely manner --  for example, during the same school year for the project for which the grant was awarded. Principals are known to have let grant money sit idle, like some of the projects for which grants were won. Meridian Elementary School, under principal Vicki Hester, has earned a reputation for "forgetting to spend" grant monies for their intended purposes.

Perhaps the newest member of the board will wonder why Assistant Superintendent Clyde Dangerfield blatantly violated federal law by allowing unredacted student disciplinary files to be viewed without parent consent or knowledge by people who have no right to view those files under federal law. Apparently the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is enforced in the Gilbert district inconsistently, and it appears that it is not convenient to hold top-level superintendents to the spirit and letter of federal laws like FERPA or the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Do these candidates know what they are getting themselves into? Perhaps they should be asking some questions, like "How many charges have been filed against the district with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission?"


* Based on his rambling, stuttering presentation, would you believe Dave Allison represents himself as a World Class Superintendent of a World Class school district?  <return to top>

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Gilbert Public Schools, GPS, Superintendent Dave Allison, Assistant Superintendent Clyde Dangerfield Esq, Associate Superintendent for Human Resources Nikki Blanchard, Spectrum Elementary School principal Debbie Singleton, Meridian Elementary School principal Vicki Hester, Gilbert Unified School District, GUSD, FERPA violations, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, violations of Civil Rights Act of 1964, Gilbert Education Association, GEA President Diane Drazinski, Gilbert Education Foundation.