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The staff and parents of the Sedona-Oak Creek School District have spoken and on Dec. 20 the school board responded.
Alison Ecklund
Larson Newspapers

The staff and parents of the Sedona-Oak Creek School District have spoken and on Dec. 20 the school board responded.

At its Dec. 20 meeting, the board approved a new communication format for the district.

School Board President Bobbie Surber said the initiative came about after high demand from staff to meet with board members to voice concerns.

Recently, in its public meetings, the board heard complaints about low morale in the district, lack of trust and teachers not receiving a step in their salaries.

The staff has also called for an evaluation of Superintendent Kim Randall.

Barbara Whitford, a parent of three Big Park Community School students said the recent news circulating the district feels like junior high.

“There’s so many rumors and name-calling,” Whitford siad. “I think the teachers are outstanding. I believe in the superintendent and the board, but this has got to stop.”

Contrary to recent complaints the board has received, Whitford said when she had a problem with a teacher, she took the appropriate steps and was treated in a professional way.

“I support Dr. Randall and this board,” Whitford said. “I know I’m a minority, but I’m sure they’ll do the right thing.”

The board also heard from former district employee Vanessa Egan.

Egan worked for the district for the past six years, she said, and was concerned with how the office was transformed.

“We were torn apart as co-workers and friends,” Egan said.

Egan said during her years in the district office she saw unjustified promotions handed out and raises were given to people who were unqualified for the job.

“If you can’t see all the pain she [Randall] is causing, perhaps you’re not qualified to be sitting there,” Egan told the board. “Are you willing to risk it all for Dr. Randall?”

In response to teachers’ concerns, the new communication format will assign days for two rotating board members to be available to the community so anyone can state their concerns.

According to open meeting laws, if an individual meets with three or more board members, a quorum is reached and the meeting has to be noticed to the public.

Individuals or groups can, however, meet with one or two board members to discuss issues.

“I did spend time with our attorney, making sure the process would be legal,” Surber said. “It’s going to be a huge time commitment. I’m suggesting exhaustive listening.”

Surber suggested that if  board members hear common themes while listening to staff and parents, their concerns should be brought to the board at large.

The formation of this new communication format comes after weeks of teachers discussing mistrust and lack of communication to the board at its public meetings.

Teachers at the Dec. 20 meeting seemed to back the communication format.

“The staff never wanted to air their dirty laundry in public,” Sedona Red Rock High School Spanish teacher Faun Robken told the board.

“We’re professionals, we do want professional treatment.,” Robken sai

Elaine Vail, library and media teacher at SRRHS said she was excited about the new communication model.

“We think critically, we ask hard questions and we have no problem finding our voice,” Vail said. “We ask the board to find a conduit for sharing ideas.”


Alison Ecklund can be reached at 282-7795, Ext. 125, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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