Principal Brian Yee Moved from Highland Junior High School to Greenfield Junior High School - Gilbert Public Schools

Update: The agenda for the August 7, 2012 meeting of the Governing Board was amended to add  the words "Regarding Personnel Matters and Personnel Procedures."  We, the public, can only hope that Superintendent Dave Allison was pressed to explain his unilateral decision to transfer principal Brian Yee, just a few days before the new school year began, without gaining the approval the Governing Board, as he does for reassignments of all other administrators. That personnel action does not pass the smell test. Scroll down for more.

NEW! Information about the current situation at Highland Jr. High School and about the Brian Yee investigation appeared in a memo from Superintendent Dave Allison. Read more...

We believe the administration's "independent investigation" did not pass the smell test either, and we hear that Superintendent Dave Allison is continuing to try to extricate himself from some sticky messes without disclosing his actions to the Governing Board. We would remind Superintendent Allison that there are some three-letter acronyms that are a lot more powerful than the acronyms he's hiding behind at the moment!  Coming clean is good for the soul, Dave.

We recommend reading the viewer comments in azcentral.com articles we quote and link -- that's where we get a lot of tips for further examination!


The Arizona Republic reports that principal Brian Yee has been transferred from Highland Junior High School to Greenfield Junior High School just before the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year.

Something interesting about this transfer is how it was announced to Gilbert Public Schools employees.

********

An email sent from Barb Willesen, July 26, 2012,
Subject: Announcement from the Superintendent

I am pleased to announce that Brian Yee, the principal of HJHS has been appointed as the principal of Greenfield Junior High School for the 2012-13 school year. Brian has been the principal of HJHS for the past 4 years. When the Greenfield Junior High principalship was posted, Brian did apply for the position. Because this is a lateral move (principal of a junior high to another junior high) as superintendent, I can make this appointment. Brian is excited in moving to a new administrative position and the opportunities and challenges that await him at Greenfield.

Congratulations Brian.

Dave Allison Ed.D.
Superintendent,
Gilbert Public Schools

********

This email appears to have been sent to all GPS employees using a list alphabetized by first name.

The email message appears defensive in pointing out "Brian did apply for the position." It also seems to be taunting the GPS governing board with "...as superintendent, I can make this appointment."
 

Warning for GPS Employees:
Don't trust the attorneys hired by GPS to "investigate" reports of illegal conduct! Insist on someone who is not connected with The Trust. We trust Kyle Shelton, Kevin Koelbel, Bill Hobson, Phil Austin, and Thomas Griffith. Contact us for more info.

What Teachers at Highland Junior High School Can Expect Following Matthew W. Wright's Investigation of Principal Brian Yee - Part 1

What Whistleblower Teachers at Highland Junior High School Can Expect Following the Brian Yee Investigation - Part 2

What the GPS Investigation Report Reveals about Principal Brian Yee's Alleged Sexual Harassment / Misconduct


How Gilbert Public Schools Manipulates Complaints Against Employees

How Gilbert Public Schools Fires Employees: Progressive Documentation

Progressive Documentation Overview

Progressive Documentation - Certified

Progressive Documentation - Classified

What Does It Cost a School Board to Fire a Teacher?  We estimate $580,583.59 in legal fees BEFORE civil rights lawsuits are filed in federal court.


How very strange!  There are additional indicators of "strange" in this sordid story of an apparently hostile working environment due to allegations of sexual misconduct by the top dog.

The Arizona Republic report starts innocuously:

Gilbert school district names new principals at 3 campuses ... One administrator was cleared in investigation

Gilbert Public Schools has named three new principals, including the transfer of a principal who had been cleared of allegations of sexual conduct after a district investigation.

In May, an attorney was hired by the district to look into allegations against Yee raised in a series of anonymous letters sent to school board members and The Arizona Republic. The 11 anonymous letters, which appeared to have been written by school staff and parents, claimed problems had existed at the school for at least a year.

The investigation found no evidence that substantiated the claims.

Notice that Brian Yee is not the only Highland Junior High School administrator now at Greenfield Junior High School. From Hayley Ringle's report:

"Knowing the staff here, I always wanted to know what their magic is," said Yee, adding his former Highland Junior High dean of students, Dan Johnson, is now assistant principal at Greenfield Junior High. "I'm looking forward to just being able to work with them and combine efforts."

The article confirms Superintendent Dave Allison transferred Brian Yee, perhaps concealing it from the governing board until the administration had other principal positions on the board's meeting agenda for approval. This lateral move gives credence to rumors that Brian Yee has a protector at a very high level in the GPS administration.

[Former Associate Superintendent for Human Resources Nikki] Blanchard said district officials decided to seek an independent investigation, given the nature of the accusations and because the letters accuse district officials of a "cover-up."

Interestingly, the Arizona Republic article about the conclusion of the investigation into allegations of sexual harassment / misconduct was silent about the "cover up," presumably because that was not addressed in the final report.

According to the report, "rumors ran rampant" across the campus, located in Mesa, that Yee was having sexual relationships with several women at the school. The women's names were redacted in Wright's report.

One would think that the district would want to publish that final report in the newspaper and on the GPS website if Brian Yee were actually cleared of the charges. One would be wrong. Gilbert Public Schools does not like to release information to the "rabid fringe" in answer to questions of public concern.

The article reporting Brian Yee's lateral transfer includes quotes from GPS employees that contradict each other.

After four years as principal of Highland, Yee told The Republic the opportunity to lead Greenfield Junior High was a position he sought before and couldn't pass up now.  Yee said he has applied at the school a couple of times.

District spokeswoman Dianne Bowers said the decision to move Yee had "absolutely" nothing to do with the investigation.

Yee said the investigation did have a part in him leaving. Moving from Highland Junior High would "allow the campus to truly heal and move forward," he said. He called it the best choice "personally and professionally."

The news of Brian Yee's move to Greenfield Junior High School will come as a surprise to parents who moved their children from Highland Junior High to Greenfield.  We heard rumors that there were many student transfers, but just one family moving their child in response to Brian Yee's alleged misconduct is too many.  Such student transfers would seem to indicate that there was indeed a hostile environment at Highland Junior High. In fact, we have been told that students witnessed the events that were reported in the article describing the charges levied in eleven anonymous complaints sent to the Arizona Republic as well as to the governing board.

Certified employees bore the brunt of what appear to be adverse employment actions, which would be consistent with our knowledge of forced resignations within GPS: 

  • 5 teachers "resigned" from Highland Junior High, according to the June 5, 2012 board agenda.
  • The school psychologist resigned, according to the July 3, 2012 agenda
  • The speech pathologist resigned, according to the July 31, 2012 board agenda
  • We hear that employees have applied for lateral transfers within the district, but fear that they have been black balled. That leads to the next bullet:
  • Expect a lot of "Progressive Documentation" from the new Highland Junior High principal, based on Sarah's experience with principal Jason Martin after she was involuntarily transferred to Highland Park Elementary School. There is not much an employee can do to protect themselves once an administrator starts this "auto-pilot" process.

Expect more turmoil, now at both schools. We don't expect any substantive change so long as the board has no means to independently conduct exit interviews with departing employees.  We know that the administration acts as judge, jury and executioner, and we suspect the board never knows anything the administration doesn't want them to know about their adverse employment actions.  It's a big problem in that the board is responsible for approving those actions, and apparently there is no way for the board to know when the administration crosses bright lines of state and federal law covering employment actions and school district administration.

You decide if you believe Brian Yee was "cleared" in a truly independent investigation. Read the Arizona Republic article about the investigation's final report:

Investigator: No evidence of sexual misconduct involving Highland Junior High principal  ...  Misconduct claims baseless

Do you believe there was "no evidence of sexual misconduct" when the report included an allegation that the two were seen in "unusual or hidden locations" and were "being caught" in a locked room/closet where the surveillance video controls were located?  The article quoted Brian Yee saying the woman was "working on a project developing a spreadsheet relating to the surveillance cameras."

"The closet where the surveillance camera is located has a self-closing, self-locking door," the report states. "Mr. Yee now acknowledges that an appearance of impropriety would have been avoided had he propped the door open during the times he and (the unnamed woman) were evaluating the security camera."

A video from the parking-lot surveillance showed the two hugging for "5-10 seconds."

Yee said this was "just evidence of their close friendship" and said the woman would give him hugs "on rare occasions," "like when he was feeling distressed about his impending divorce."

Another allegation said Yee developed an "inappropriate sexual relationship" with an intern for a couple of months during the spring of 2011. Yee denied having any relationship with her while she was at the school, but acknowledged that the two began dating after she left the school and "continue to be in a relationship to this day."

Contrast the administration's avid support of a male principal with the way Superintendent Dave Allison threatened a young female teacher who had reported bullying and sexual harassment. Allison recommended to the governing board that 20 charges be adopted against the teacher on December 6, 2011. Three members of the board who voted to adopt the charges looked truly humiliated when the board unanimously withdrew the charges on May 15, 2012 rather than hold the public hearing that would clear the teacher.


A back story about allegations at Highland Junior High School appears in the comments section of the article about Brian Yee's "exoneration" on azcentral.com, which we have excerpted below:

nonsb Jun-03 @ 5:57 AM
The amount of sexual misconduct at the admin level in Gilbert is staggering. It is a pattern of unprofessional behavior that has been going on for decades. Cover up after cover up. It will take someone from the outside coming in as superintendent to clean house. One would have to acknowledge the failures (well, I guess depending on your point-of-view) of a corrupt Human Resources department. All their hands are dirty. Other parts of them, too.

SamGoodman Jun-03 @ 3:40 PM
It seems that the investigator found exactly what he was told to find. Regardless of these conclusions that something or other was "inconclusive," Brian Yee no longer has the moral authority to lead a school (if he ever did). Brian Yee will never have credibility with staff or with students. Allison's comments show he, too, lacks a moral compass. Parents should be appalled that these men are the face of public education in the Gilbert School District and in Highland Jr High School. No one else seems to care.

On the barely hidden, below-the-surface element of religious discrimination in Gilbert Public Schools:

nonsb Jun-03 @ 5:42 AM
... Mr. Yee is a member of the church and so was his ex-wife. Don't underestimate Bishop Allison's ability to protect his own.

On the fact that Brian Yee was not exonerated by the investigation:

nonsb Jun-03 @ 5:50 AM
Given Gilbert's history of covering up philandering and adultery, is it also any wonder? Where there's smoke, there's fire. Just because there was no evidence isn't the same thing as not guilty. Having multiple relationships with people who work under you is unethical. Not illegal but unethical. He may not have had sexual relations on school property but there's no doubt in my mind that he was intimately involved with subordinates. There are many instances where this principal behaved unethically also in regard to accounting, leadership and so forth but the homers who investigated were unable to get to the bottom of it. Also, there is a culture of fear promoted by the administration headed by Dave Allison. No one feels safe to speak out against anything anymore for fear of a witch hunt. Gilbert's next school should be called "Salem Elementary" with the mascot of a witch being burned at the stake.


Did you really believe Gilbert Public Schools actually would investigate allegations of cover ups at the district level?

Gilbert Public Schools paid $1,508,721.00 for property, liability and casualty insurance coverage this year. Remember that, employees, when Superintendent Dave Allison tells you that 89% of the GPS budget goes to pay employees. Right. 

Since Gilbert Public Schools does the same thing time and again, a pattern has emerged. Teachers talk to other teachers and support staffers who are experiencing difficulty. The administration's adverse employment actions take a toll on educators. We'll post more information here in the near future about GPS administration and their astonishing employment management techniques. "World class?"  No way.  Not even big league!


BREAKING! Notice of Claim filed by an assistant principal who was subjected to discrimination, harassment and retaliation after she reported a hostile work environment based on illegal sexual harassment at Highland Junior High School.

New Allegations of Intimidation and Retaliation at Highland Junior High School (August 2012)

Principal Brian Yee Moved to Greenfield Junior High School in an Unusual Transfer by Superintendent Dave Allison, Skirting GPS Governing Board Approval (July 2012)

Investigation report revelations about Highland Junior High School Principal Brian Yee (May 2012). Includes back story information from viewer comments on azcentral.com

What Teachers and Staff at Highland Junior High School Can Expect from Investigation of Principal Brian Yee (Investigation Part 1)

Information for Highland Junior High School Whistleblowers, (Investigation Part 2)

Allegations and Investigations about Principal Brian Yee, Gilbert Public Schools


Help your colleagues!  Contact us with information about what happens at Highland Junior High School and Greenfield Junior High School.

Contact us with information about any of the schools in the Phoenix Valley. 

WesternConnections.com shares news of how Gilbert Public Schools fires employees as a public service.

How Gilbert Public Schools Manipulates Complaints Against Employees

How Gilbert Public Schools Fires Employees: Progressive Documentation

Progressive Documentation - Overview
Progressive Documentation - Certified
Progressive Documentation - Classified

Watch the real story unfold here at WesternConnections.com


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Gilbert Public Schools, GPS, Superintendent Dave Allison, Assistant Superintendent Clyde Dangerfield, Associate Superintendent for Human Resources Nikki Blanchard, Assistant Superintendent Shane McCord, Assistant Superintendent Barb VeNard, GPS, Gilbert Education Association, GEA President Diane Drazinski, Arizona Education Association, AEA, attorney Denise Lowell-Britt, Udall, Shumway & Lyons, Mesa, Phoenix, attorney Matthew W. Wright, Dominic Verstegen, Holm Wright Hyde and Hays, Civil rights, violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, retaliation for engaging in protected activities, illegal retaliation, hostile work environment, harassment, Arizona Civil Rights Act, Arizona Attorney General, Arizona Civil Rights Division, United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, General Prohibition Against Unlawful Discrimination and Harassment, destroying an educator's reputation, Gilbert Unified School District, GUSD, due process, gilbertschools.info  Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Jeffrey Filloon, Human Resources Director Shawn McIntosh, GUSD Board Members E.J. Anderson, Lily Tram, Helen Hollands, Staci Burk, Blake Sacha