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District Employees Publicly Support Administration at Board Meeting

Two employees defended the administration, while two residents echoed concerns that were raised earlier this month.

Two weeks after a , two district employees stood up and told a different story Monday.

Cynthia Winard, who has worked in the district for 37 years and is the district’s Open Enrollment/Chapter 220 coordinator, and Community Relations Manager Stuart Wilke praised Superintendent Conrad Farner and his administrative team in front of about 55 audience members at the School Board meeting.

The remarks were made during the public comments portion of the meeting.

Two citizens echoed sentiments teacher , but Winard said the current administration team has been a refreshing change over the years, and that during her years in the human resources department, the administrators have handled all personnel decisions with dignity and respect.

"In all the years I’ve worked for Greenfield, I’ve never seen a better team of administrators,” Winard said. “The current team does at least double the work than years ago when the district had more administrators to do the job. … the amount of work expected from the state of Wisconsin and the Department of Public Instruction has increased beyond what most people can understand. This team has done more with less people.”

Winard said administration does have high expectations for all employees, but it’s in the best interests of the students. She added all employees are considered members of the team.

“The change in work environment in the many years I have worked here has been amazing,” Winard said. “It has gone from total negativity about everything to a very definite feeling of positivity.”

Wilke, who previously worked with Farner in the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District, said he applied for his current position because of Farner and his desire to work with him again.

“I knew of his absolute devotion to public education, his willingness to listen to others and his team approach to getting the job done,” Wilke said. “Those are traits, by the way, every administrator in this district shares.”

“Lately there have been some comments made by some bloggers on a local website that have been critical of the district and its administrators," he added.  "Some of those bloggers would like you to believe they have the inside scoop on the district and I will tell you they do not. I would suggest that unless you’ve been here during normal office hours, early in the morning, late at night or on the weekends, you’d never imagine how much time and effort Mr. Farner and his administrators dedicate to the Greenfield School District students.”

Wilke said every decision made by administration is “made in the best interest of your children” and that administrators share the same dedication to the students as the teachers.

Two citizens countered the employee comments.

Bob Huele said there are problems between the staff and administration, and the board is ultimately responsible for what he called a “crisis” in the district because it has turned authority over to administration.

“The people elected you, and not the (superintendent),” Huele said. “I truly believe the system here is broken and can’t be fixed unless drastic steps are taken so we can move on.”

Tracy Jendrzejek, who has children who attend , urged the board to look into the number of retirements, transfers and resignations coming from that school. She estimated half the Maple Grove staff was moving on, but Farner said the number was closer to eight of 24 teachers.

“As a parent, I’d like my kids to have the same teachers and have the teachers see them grow throughout the years,” Jendrzejek. “It concerns me that I have kids that have had teachers that are no longer there and having younger kids coming into the school and not having those teachers.

Jendrzejek said parents have raised concerns at Maple Grove at a building and administrative level, but don’t feel like those concerns have been addressed.

Greenfield Resident Too! June 26, 2012 at 12:41 PM
It looks like from what I seen on TV there were only TWO individuals that probably were coached by Mr. Conrad to defend his position. I personally still do not like his demeanor.
John Seymour June 26, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Wow. What support. A buddy who he hired away from West Allis. The true story isn't the number of hours worked, it is the way people are treated. The reason no one talks is because they are afraid or gone. The losers are the kids in Greenfield. It's obvious that nothing will change. So, good luck with everything.
Shari June 26, 2012 at 01:44 PM
So lets see, the man whose job it is to promote the district spoke promoting the district. And the administrative secretary who retired to collect her pension and then the district let continue to collect her salary the moment she was eligible to come back are both happy in the district. Amazing!!!
Kai June 26, 2012 at 04:25 PM
(It sounds like Shari is an employee of Greenfield - and the teacher that was moved) At this time, I question why you are still employeed there at all? If this district is not what you had signed up for, you are free to leave Shari. Spending your time bashing people who have positive attitudes about the school, the administration and the teaching staff is inappropriate. My concern is for my son who will need to be taught by disrespectful people like you. And why is it your concern if the administrative secretary speaks on behalf of the wonderful experiences she has had? Isn't one part of a school "team work"? I think you need to go back to remedial physical education class and learn what "team" means.
karen k June 26, 2012 at 05:47 PM
I think Shari is pointing out that these people have a vested and personal interest in portraying the administration in the best light. I, personally, am glad to have it pointed out to me. I don't always know the background of everyone and where they may have come from. I am all for having positive attitudes about the school but we need to vet out if they are valid or if we are falling in love with our own reflection in the mirror. I have been asking around to find outside perceptions of our school district and it is not favorable. This concerns me. A talented teacher will turn us down a million times over for a chance to teach in Franklin or Greendale and of course, Whitefish Bay. Why would that be? We seem to be nearing the bottom of the list in desired destinations. I thought it was interesting that the board pointed out that hundreds of people applied per position but that doesn't really tell us anything. Correlation does not imply causation. It is common for teachers to blanket apply and then cherry pick the best district with the best reputation.
Shari June 26, 2012 at 07:09 PM
I am NOT an employee of Greenfield. Much more importantly I am not the teacher who was moved. My opinions are mine. I would not want you to think they were hers. I do not know what she thinks. If Conrad Farner had any concept of what teamwork was, we would not be in this mess. Instead he picks and choose who he is going to be nice to. Cindy is a very hard worker and I am sure that she respects Conrad, but she does not see what his leadership has done at the school level. The SCHOOL secretaries have.
Shari June 26, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Thank you Karen. You are correct. I simply wanted to point out that the people who spoke positively have interactions with Conrad that are unlike most others.
Kai June 26, 2012 at 07:47 PM
If you aren't an employee of Greenfield, how do you know "Cindy" and how do you know she's a hard worker? And more importantly, how do you know that she retired, that she collects her pension, and that she is back at Greenfield? For someone who is not employed at Greenfield, sure knows a lot about her work career and work ethic. But this shouldn't be about Cindy. It's a shame that you spend your energy on complaining about the district, instead of getting involved to make it better. And what I mean by "better"...is not lynching Conrad Farner. It's easy to point fingers and that's exactly what many of you are doing. Spend your energy on volunteering in the schools, helping with fundraisers, etc. making the school system a better place for your children... Is it about your children and their education or is it about placing blame?
karen k June 26, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Speculation about the identity of a poster is ridiculous. The information is all public record and there are certainly many people that have regular interaction with the district but who are not employees. If there is a perceived issue with the sup. I am not sure why you ascertain that it is no ones right to speak up about it? At the very least, Mr Conrad needs to do a better job at communicating with the people he is serving and who voice their concerns to him and at the very most, he is grossly negligent and indeed acting in an unethical way. To vet out which may be the case, we simply must take the word of people who clearly have a vested interest in him no matter the reality? I think not.
Ann June 26, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Maybe everyone should be asking who Kai is and why she is so crazy about the sup? Just saying - maybe Kai should volunteer around the schools and see what is happening and then she would be able to speak from experience. If a teacher had to pick between greendale or greenfield - greenfield would always lose. The only thing that the admin thinks about is beating greendale - and they never will. Look at their sports teams/facilities - look at their band and the list goes on. The 2 that spoke about the district was logical - sup is their boss, sup does their performance reviews - its a no brainer why they did what they did. Teachers/staff can't speak - for fear of retaliation. Look at what is happening in New Berlin. Our kids are going to lose, our kids are the ones that are going to be hurt. Our school board is a do nothing boys club. Had the experience of talking with the sup several years ago - you disagree with him and he will speak his mind with swear words. You learn real quick not to disagree for fear of retaliation against your kid. No longer have one in the district and sooo glad for that.
Kai June 27, 2012 at 12:00 AM
I am a mother with a child in the Greenfield School District. I do volunteer and have interacted with the teachers and the administration over the years..including teachers and administration prior to Conrad Farner. It's a no-win situation for him...someone will always disagree with the position he takes. He can't take two sides and the side he happens to choose will be the one you disagree with. My main point here is that bashing one person online is not remedying the situation.
JustMe June 27, 2012 at 01:25 AM
A lot of butt kissing.
Billy Ray June 27, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Greenfield has a population of 36672 people. There are approximately 400 employees in the district and 3100 students in the district. Two people spoke against the admin at the meeting last night and six people are bashing the district on this thread. Not one teacher spoke against the admin last night. Seems like a couple people don't like the greenfield admin because the admin doesn't agree with them. Thanks to act 10 the "power shoe" is on the other foot and some who long for the broken past can't accept the change.
KK June 27, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Thank you Billy Ray. I teach in the district and am unable to speak out in FAVOR of my admin (again - I don't always agree, but let's be careful what we wish for!) in fear of retaliation from the union/bully-types of teachers who would also retaliate. I know others keep quiet for fear of this too. Just saying...it works both ways.
Billy Ray June 27, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Resignations and tranfers will be the new reality now that people are not locked into contracts. Admin can put people where they will do the most good without the fear of union resistance and grievances. If people don't like it they can resign and see if the grass is greener elsewhere. What they will find is that it probably isn't. Additionally, what would it say about a leader that everyone agreed with and have you ever seen a leader that everyone agreed with? A good leader is principled and has a vision, sometimes those principles and vision don't agree with what others perceive as the best path...so be it. Work to find common ground. Sometimes you may find it and sometimes you may not. As professionals you accept it and do your job. Again, if you don't like it there are hundreds of others waiting to fill your shoes.
John Seymour June 27, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Billy Ray, this is far deeper than people being upset about job transfers. The only people who spoke up for him were two people who work closely with him. The fact that people may not agree with him is not the real issue. His treatment of people and the LACK of principle is why people are upset. The problem is none of this will ever come out unless people who have left (good, strong, leaders) are asked why they left and detail exactly what goes on behind closed doors. Mr. Farner's mistreatment has been going on way before Act 10 was even a thought. Ask around the area and you'll see what kind of reputation he has. There may be some that are upset about what you feel are minor issues, but that is not the BIG issue.
John Seymour June 27, 2012 at 02:08 PM
This has nothing to do with Act 10.
Billy Ray June 28, 2012 at 03:02 AM
John, conversely, the two people that spoke at the meeting were a former board member and a parent who have almost no connection to Farner...a weaker argument yet. Also if the mistreatment that you are making accusations of was sooooo bad why was there no coordination to have those who were driven from their careers in Greenfield to come back and state their cases? Or, better yet, if you know so much and "Seymour" why didn't you speak at the last meeting? It's easy to sit at your computer in the comfort of your home and make apparently unfounded accusations, but much harder to stand in front of the public and make your case. However, if you truly believe what you say and have the proof to back it then it should be rather easy. This whole thing seems rather adolescent and a campaign by a very small group of people to smear the reputation of a man trying to do the best he can with limited resources. Additionally, the hiring of people from West Allis has been portrayed as a liability, but in fact demonstrates the strength of his leadership. Why would people quit their jobs there and follow someone who yells and belittles as you claim?
John Seymour June 28, 2012 at 01:03 PM
It seems to me you are sitting at your computer as well only you are defending him. This is not a campaign to smear Conrad. It is a campaign to try and bring out the truth. Most people who left are just glad they got out and don't want to look back. Also, they are either not allowed to talk to the board, or no board members have contacted the people I know. I don't care if he hires people from West Allis that whole thing is overblown, but what I do care about is potentially illegal practices that are going on. The problems I am talking about are not things that you would bring up at a public school board meeting.
Shari June 29, 2012 at 03:09 PM
I believe that the woman who spoke is the president of Maple Grove's STP. She is extremely active in volunteering on behalf of the children. She is n the school enough to have a clear picture of what is going on there. She spoke representing the MANY parents at Maple Grove that are very upset about the things they saw in the school this year. She is upset about the mass exodus of high quality teachers from the school. If she is not qualified to speak who is?? Who else would be more qualified to speak up for the children?
Greenfield Resident Too! June 30, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Ask other community employees from around other school districts (including West Allis) and see what is said about Mr. Farner; you might change your views. I personally have received many negative comments about him. Again look outside the box to see if he really is in a position to help the children of Greenfield. It is my opionion that our administration should NOT have recieved raises when our children are hurting in the class rooms by various budget cuts. That estimated $7,000 in raises could have paid for the smart boards, books, and maybe an added staff member.

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