Broken Promise by School Board

I am disappointed in our School Board because I believe they did not meet the requirements of the Open Public Meeting laws when hiring our Interim Superintendent. I am doubly disappointed that they went back on their promise to do a full and open search for a permanent Superintendent.

Here is a clip of the job posting for our superintendent.

Job Posting Cropped 2

In the job posting for Interim Superintendent, you will see it says (during which time, the District will conduct a search for a permanent Superintendent). This was voted and passed unanimously 5-0 by the board in the May 28, 2014.

Our board did not just promise the public, they stated publicly in writing that they would do a public search for our superintendent, and then fell back on that promise. In my opinion, we can never trust the word of any sitting board member from this point on.

In the November 24, 2014 school board meeting, the board unanimously approved to cancel the search and hire Mr. Lewis. This broke their promise to our community.



Our school board promised the community they would do a full and open search. Why didn’t they?

Our Board will tell you that they were trying to save us the money, but there is so much distrust with our board already – why go down this path?

Was it really just about the money – or was it something else?

I can understand that they are happy with Mr. Lewis’ job performance as an Interim Superintendent, but why didn’t they do a full, open and transparent search when hiring our Interim Superintendent in the first place?


Superintendent Hiring Procedures

This post outlines the Colville procedures for hiring a Superintendent – and to give you information on other school districts procedures.
POLICIES and PROCEDURES (links to Colville’s Policies and Procedures manual listed at bottom of post)

First, let me explain the difference between policies and procedures, because it can sometimes be confusing and people often use the words improperly.


In the most basic form, a government agency is guided by their policies, but must follow their procedures.

Policies are a guideline.

Procedures are specific instructions for accomplishing a task.

For some reason, Colville does not have a policy or procedure for hiring a superintendent. In this case, the procedure for hiring falls back on employee/staff or administrator hiring procedures. Our school board did not follow their own procedures in the hiring of Mr. Pete Lewis if they treated his hiring as an employee or as a principal which is the closet thing to hiring a Superintendent.

It is the responsibility of the School Board to Write Policies and Procedures, it is also their responsibility to follow those procedures, though, there is no penalty if they don’t. The only thing I can really do is share this information with the public to better inform people of what goes on in our district.

Here is the applicable text in the Colville School Board policies and procedures documents. While you are reading through them, check off how many of these things our school district did in the hiring process of our Superintendent: Continue reading

Community Forum – Common themes and Questions

I have several comments and about our community forum to help the public see specifics about this situation. I have numbered the paragraphs in this post the same as the numbered paragraphs of the transcripts to help with this discussion.

mobility-clipart-Person_Reading_Book_clip_art_hight_clipartpanda.comAdditional Information about Interim Superintendent Pete Lewis and the hiring process

Most of the night was full of praise for Mr. Lewis. The only information other than praise was provided by a handful of individuals.

166Lynette Martin [Pete] was allegedly

168 fired for a total failure of leadership, for the retention of an employee named Claude Fowlkes III who was a tutor at Hutchinson High School who was arrested in March and charged with six counts of abusing a student sexually in the school.

169 There were significant observations and allegations of grooming the students by this individual. Pete Lewis, or one of his employees allegedly transferred this student from the school where he was grooming students to another building and did not tell the principal that this student – that this tutor was having these problems. And that’s – after that happened is when the – that’s why Pete Lewis got fired, is because he mishandled that situation.

234 Scott Martin [Pete’s] met with the teachers union multiple times. He’s met with the secretaries union multiple times. He’s met with para educators. He’s met with nutritional specialists. He’s met with maintenance, custodian unions multiple times. As somebody pointed out, I as a public have not been involved in a public meeting with Pete Lewis. He hasn’t invited the public to give their input to him as to what’s going on. Maybe individually, but not as a public.

213 Don Robson I have concerns that the board hired someone that was just terminated from his previous position due to the results of an investigation that they performed. I’m concerned that the board, when trying to select this superintendent for our schools didn’t even contact the previous school board to get any information from them. … I can’t help but feel that that’s negligence. To not contact a previous employer especially when he was terminated due to an investigation.

215 I have had contact with the Fairbanks school board and they have a lot of information to provide. And I’m not sure if they were contacted, he would have been hired in the first place.

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Superintendent Search/Community Forum Transcripts November 12, 2014

2014-11-12 SB Mtg Community ForumThe Colville School Board had a meeting on November 12, 2014. The agenda states the purpose of the meeting as “Superintendent Selection Process”. I want to show the public how our school board really works, and this meeting is a perfect example. This is just a verbatim transcript. I will extrapolate important details and comments in another post.

Please accept my apologies for any mis-spellings, or complete blotch up jobs on anyone’s names. If you contact me, I will correct any errors.

Since this was an official school board meeting, you can get a copy of the digital recording of the meeting. To do this, you can put in a Public Records Request. See the post, How To Put In a Public Records Request to learn how to do that.


Call to Order

Pledge of allegiance

1. Sid Green I’d like to thank everybody for coming tonight. Before we get started, I know there might be people in here who don’t know who the board is. My name is Sid Green, I’m the president of the board, Dr. Sandy Moore, Vice President, Krista Ohrtman, Sarah Newman, Dr. Rob Sumner.

2. So without further ado, I’m going to call on Krista to give us an update on the state of the schools.

3. Krista Ohrtman Thank you for coming, I’d like to echo that, it’s great to see so many faces. Turn me up if you need to, my voice is kind of small. There, hows that? Can any of you hear me way in the back? And if I make a face like this, it’s not because I’m upset, the lights are just bright.

4. So – how’s that? (Sandy Moore steps up to adjust the microphone). So I’ve been on the school board about 18 months. I’m probably still, I’m the second least experienced member of the board. One of the things I’ve noticed is that when there is bad news about the schools, or the work that the school board is trying to do, it goes like this (spreads arms dramatically apart) and spreads like crazy, which is ok. But when we have good news, it is a lot harder to get that word out to the folks. So right now I’m going to share with you sort of what the board has been working on the last few months and some of it is good news. I’m not going to go into a ton of detail, because we want to get your input tonight, not necessarily listen to us talk. But I want to share some information with you and if the comments that I share bring up questions or you’d like more details, please talk to me after, and if I don’t have the answers, I will help you get them. Continue reading

Documentation for Questionable Interim Superintendent Hiring

This post contains additional documentation showing proof of information in previous post.

April 7, 2014 Pete Lewis was put on paid leave in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Here is the text of the meeting minutes that is applicable:

Lewis Placed on Leave Fairbanks MinutesMay 13, 2014 Michael Cashion announces resignation to ESD 101

2014-05-13 Cashion resignation email to ESD copy

May 15, 2014 Michael Cashion writes resignation letter

– Letter is placed in the Statesman Examiner and you can view it here$file/Resignation%20Letter.PDF

May 16, 2014 Michael Dunn from ESD 101 sends Sid Green Pete Lewis’ resume and contact information.

2014-05-16 Dunn to Green PL Resume copy

May 16, 2014 Sid Green responds to Michael Dunn saying he went online and read all the information about Pete Lewis.

2014-05-16 Sid response to Dunn PL resumeContinued conversation from Mike Dunn to Sid Green Continue reading

Questionable Interim Superintendent Hiring

images_openclipart.orgThere is some question as to how our interim superintendent was hired. I have been a part of a parent group that has attended school board meetings for five years. After Superintendent Ken Emmil left the district, the board promised a full and open superintendent search.

Typically a full search takes three months and includes the public in the selection process. Colville’s process from posting the position to hiring Mr. Lewis took less than three weeks, or to be exact, 19 days.

Here is the timeline of the hiring including some items that could be considered either shady or down right illegal:

April 7, 2014 Pete Lewis was put on paid leave in Fairbanks, Alaska.

May 15, 2014 Michael Cashion writes resignation letter

May 16, 2014 Michael Dunn from ESD 101 sends Sid Green Pete Lewis’ resume and contact information.

May 16, 2014 Sid Green responds to Michael Dunn saying he went online and read all the information about Pete Lewis.

– Is it proper to research an applicant for a job position before all the applicants have applied?

May 21, 2014 Colville posts a job opening for superintendent stating  applications being accepted until June 5th.


– The board is the only entity that can authorize the school to put up the job opening for superintendent. There was no board meeting authorizing this. Where did the administration office get it’s authorization? Was the school board (or an individual school board director) acting outside of their legal protocol?

– At this date, the board has not even accepted Michael Cashion’s resignation.

May 28, 2014 School Board accepts Michael Cashion’s resignation in legal school board meeting.

May 28, 2014 In email correspondence (received through a public records request) Michael Dunn ESD 101 asks Sid Green if he can interview Pete on June 6th

– Sid Green responds he will set it up for June 9th

– Michael Dunn says “Thanks for doing this as quickly as you can”

May 30, 2014 Michael Cashion writes letter to Michael Dunn stating he spoke with Pete Lewis about hiring employees.


– The board has not interviewed any applicants for this position. It is highly irregular for an employee to be discussing any aspect of business with ANY applicants.

June 9, 2014 Colville School Board Meeting to Evaluate the qualifications of one or more applicants for public employment in an executive session.

– The agenda item says “applicants for public employment”, they didn’t even have the decency to let us know they were interviewing superintendent candidates. Why? Usually, it is advertised to the community, so that everyone who wants to be there can come, but we didn’t even know it was for the superintendent position until after we were in the meeting. Was the board trying to keep it from the public?

– We were told by the Teachers Union President who the applicants were, so the teachers knew it was a superintendent interview and who the applicants were, but the public did not. Why?

– The meeting opened, the board announced “We are going into executive session for about three hours to interview three candidates” and then left the room.

– We sat there for three hours waiting for them to come out of their session and when it was over, they told us that Pete Lewis scored best on their worksheet.


– The board has refused to release all the names of the other applicants even to this day.

– The board held all interviews behind closed doors.

– The board held all conversations about all applicants behind closed doors.

– The public has no idea how they came to their decision.

June 9, 2014 Pete Lewis was fired from his position in Fairbanks (see below links for very informative details)

June 11, 2014 Pete Lewis was officially hired in Colville as Interim Superintendent

Pete Lewis was hired 2 days after he was officially fired from Fairbanks. Does anyone else think this is odd?

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Veterans Day

I'll_Miss_You_Dad_by_Cecilio_M._Ricardo_Jr_en.wikipedia.orgI would like to thank each and every veteran. To those who dedicated a portion of their lives, and to those who sacrificed all. I would like to thank everyone who loves a veteran for all you’ve given so that they could serve this beautiful country and protect our freedoms.

God Bless you all.


3349415603_ba35b8e672_z_flickr.comAutodidact has nothing to do with automobiles, it simply means “A self taught person”.

While this is a web page for parents of Colville school children to learn the truth about our school system, it should be noted that I am not a huge fan of public education. I am a fan of education, just not education that involves forced learning systems on captive residents or extraordinary amounts of money.

I am self taught in many things, so I hold these types of individuals in high esteem. I am a high school drop out. It wasn’t that I didn’t like school, I loved it as an escape from other things in life, but when I encountered bully teachers, school had to go so that I could keep some of my sanity.

7171947998_6285b80e08_flickr.comI then found a job and tried a short college stint where I found my husband. Shortly after our marriage we started our own business on what could loosely be termed a shoestring budget and found that every aspect of that business was our own responsibility. Long before we even knew the word Autodidact existed, we were teaching ourselves things like accounting, photography, sales, merchandizing, printing, web page design, customer service, customer complaints, shipping, maintenance and repair, international sales and service, purchasing, product design and development, invoice design and implementation and file management, among many other things.

Oh and did you know that starting a business with your spouse is one of the leading causes of divorce? So we had to learn marriage management because we were together 24 hours a day. The good news is that if you survive, you will actually strengthen your marriage. So next time you hear about a small business, try to think about how much those individuals actually accomplish in a days work.

8681295983_98e6eb2404_b_flickr.comStudents are now struggling with the highest college costs in the history of our country and, might I say of the world. But the good news is that in today’s information age, it is so much easier to find ways to self teach than it was a mere generation ago (I learned the old fashioned way). It’s much less expensive for Autodidacts than it is for a college student. It’s also a lot easier because you don’t have to take an overabundance of classes, so you spend more time learning what you need.

The purpose of this post is to give people hope. Those who don’t have the first hope of affording a college education can take comfort in knowing that there are other ways to live the life you want. Don’t be fooled, you don’t always need college to get to where you want to be. I know a person in their mid 50’s who is still paying on their college tuition. A high paid college education isn’t always a good thing. A college tuition costs as much as a new home. A new home takes 30 years to pay off.  Do we really want our children burdened with two mortgage payments … or no education … or no home?

Of course, we all want a doctor to have a proper education, so this post is obviously not speaking to those individuals who need a higher education, but there are many types of work out there that can be self taught. In many ways a self taught individual is a much more effective worker because they are motivated to learn, they engross themselves in every aspect of their interest, and pay attention in class. They7007282498_97337ab190_flickr.comaren’t learning just to pass the test, they are interested in gaining real knowledge. In the end their work reflects self pride and shows a polished implementation.

It’s true that we learn more from our failures than from our successes, so don’t be afraid to flub a bit. Take Thomas Edison for example, who is famous for his failures and his perseverance as well as his success. Don’t ever give up on your dreams. The only people who fail are those who stop trying. It’s inevitable that those who keep on with what they are doing will accomplish more and more. You can’t really unlearn – or become worse at what you are doing. The natural flow of life is that the more you work at something, the better you will become at it. Besides, you should be enjoying the process while you’re at it.

And for those of us older folks, don’t give up on your dreams either, keep learning things that interest you and expand your horizons. It may be too late to be a football star, but it’s never too late to enjoy some portion of what you love. Find an aspect of the thing you enjoy and then learn all you can about it! And don’t think you have to stick to one thing, if you have several interests, then I bet you’ll take pleasure in learning more about all of them.

So here we go in the spirit of celebrating all types of education is a list some famous and not so famous, though interesting, Autodidacts.


Abraham_Lincoln_November_1863_en.wikipedia.orgAbraham Lincoln, lawyer, U.S. president. Finished one year of formal schooling, self-taught himself trigonometry, and read Blackstone on his own to become a lawyer. Read more:

Andrew Jackson, U.S. president, general, attorney, judge, congressman.Imacon Color Scanner Home-schooled. Became a practicing attorney by the age of 35 – without a formal education. Read more:

8882433779_70093b7bbb_b_flickr.comAlbert Einstein, physicist. Yes: the man whose name now equates to “genius”; who published more than 300 scientific papers; the man behind E=MC2; the man who came up with the theory of relativity; and the man who won a Nobel prize—was in fact a high school dropout. He attempted to get into university, but initially failed the entrance exams. Read more:


View_of_Astronaut_John_Glenn_in_his_Mercury_pressure_suit_de.wikipedia.orgJohn Glenn became a war hero and one of the most famous astronauts in history, despite being a college dropout. Read more:

Frank Lloyd Wright, the most influential architect of the twentieth century. Never attended high school. Read more:

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Student Grades 1996 thru 2014

ReportCard2_flickr.comThe grades are listed at the bottom of this post but for those who want even more information, I’d like to explain a little bit about how our district treats grades.

Parents are the ones who want to see the grades of their children and their schools, but schools aren’t always so happy to provide them.  School districts are forced to show the grades because of the “No Child Left Behind Act” of 2001. If you talk to many people in the school district, you will find they despise this act because it forces them to share their student grades. As a matter of fact, most of Washington state educators feels the same way.

Obama created the “Race to the Top” program in 2009 which was designed to help improve education K-12 by throwing money at the schools.  This program had stipulations, however, in that schools had to have teacher evaluations based in part on student standardized testing. You can read about the “Race to the Top” here:

I only plan to focus on teacher evaluations based on student standardized testing because my focus in this post is on student grades. In Washington state, the teachers union fought hard against being evaluated based on student test scores. They didn’t think it was fair to have the test scores for students they teach to be a part of their evaluation.

The feds would provide a waiver of the No Child Left Behind act to states that would comply with Race to the Top requirements, but because the Washington state teachers union felt so strongly against this one aspect of the Race to the Top, the Washington politicians caved to the teachers and voted down a Senate Bill 5246 which would have complied with federal regulations. You can read about that here:

Once Washington refused to do teacher evaluations based on student standardized test scores, they lost the funding from Race to the Top and were reverted back to the No Child Left Behind law.

Washington Becomes First State To Return To No Child Left Behind

“Washington’s request … [for a waiver] was approved based on Washington’s commitments to carry out certain actions in support of key education reforms … Washington was not able to keep all of its commitments,” Duncan wrote in a letter sent Thursday to Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn. “Washington’s flexibility will end with the 2013-2014 school year.”

No Child Left Behind is the George W. Bush law that mandates standardized testing for students in reading and math, and spelled out consequences, such as school restructuring, based on those scores. Under NCLB, persistently failing schools had to set aside 20 percent of a funding stream to pay for tutoring. But with a waiver from the federal government, that money could be used for other purposes.

Thursday’s move will make Washington subject again to the law’s broad sanctions. Instead of using the federal government’s more nuanced system for identifying underperforming schools, the state will have to use the NCLB accountability system called “Adequate Yearly Progress,” a blunt measure based on standardized test scores. According to NCLB, to make AYP in 2014, all students are expected to be proficient in English and math — meaning that next year, it’s possible that every school in the state could be labeled as underperforming.

In addition to returning to the cruder NCLB system, Washington districts will likely lose the freedom to spend $38 million to $44 million previously set aside for mandatory tutoring. That loss is likely to make it harder to budget for the next school year.

Read more here:

It could be because the  Colville school district dislikes showing their student grades, or they just hate the No Child Left Behind law so much that they have applied to have the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 reinstated in our schools. You can read about it here:

Click to access ESEA%20Reauthorization%20Resolution.pdf

Or you can find it in the September 24, 2014 school board meeting agenda item number 5.04 on Board Docs:

Seriously? Is going back to a 1965 law an attempt to hide student grades from the public? No matter what the reasoning, I find this odd behavior. So in the interest of letting parents know the grades of our students, I have typed them up from the OSPI website (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction) and have listed them below:

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