Lack of openness is very alarming

Last Friday, it came to light that two high-ranking administrators at Ledge Street Elementary School were no longer with the district.

This information, unfortunately, did not come through the Nashua School District. Instead, concerned parents tossed a little sunshine on the sudden departure of Principal Janet Valeri and Assistant Principal Tiffany Hyatt.

Outgoing Superintendent Connie Brown said the two administrators are subject to an ongoing investigation, but called it a “personnel matter, and as such it is confidential.”

It took several days to receive a vague and suspiciously worded letter that notes Valeri has “retired” from the public school system and Hyatt has “moved on to pursue other opportunities.” Seems like very light language for two principals under investigation. The letter, signed by interim Assistant Superintendent Roland Boucher, also said, “Please feel free to direct any questions or concerns you may have to (fellow interim Assistant Superintendent Mike Fredericksen) or me.”

Attempts to contact the stand-in Ledge Street school principals on Monday were met with the very same response as three days earlier: “They’re in meetings.”

They did not return calls either day. No further information has been made available. The tone coming from the administrative office was so chilly, a winter jacket was needed.

Parents of Ledge Street school students were understandably alarmed. Will the results of any personnel investigation be made public considering the odd circumstances and timing of this immediate egress? Doesn’t the school community have a right to know if there are underlying staff issues that could have an impact on the students’ educational environment?

The constant roadblocks set up for the community, as well as the media, show protecting the district is more important than informing parents about any lingering problems at the school.

There is a time and place for confidentiality – keeping the 15-year-old’s identity private after a violent threat was made online to fellow Nashua High School South students last month is a fine example, as is the decision not to release district protocol under such scenarios; but the clear lack of transparency here is troubling.

It is time for a straight, honest answer from the administrative office.