Letters to the EditorNews

Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary Needs New Leadership

I have never been more disappointed to be a part of the Clarke County School District than I am at this moment. (Editor’s note: This letter was submitted Feb. 9.) I consider myself to be an advocate and vocal supporter of our district. However, in light of what has occurred at Clarke Middle School and Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School, as well as other schools that have experienced great turmoil in the last few years, I have lost faith in the district’s ability to lead, support and make decisions in the best interests of our students, families, staff members and larger community.

I am a teacher at OAES. This has been my home for over 10 years. While here, I have received teacher of the year recognition, been nominated for Foundation for Excellence awards, gone back to school to obtain my specialist degree in curriculum and instruction, and served as a leader in my school on many committees and for district-level work such as curricula and report card revisions. My commitment to this school and the district has never wavered, until now.

I can only speak about what is happening in my school. A few weeks ago, our school leaders acted and spoke in a way that has devastated our school community, then was handled poorly by district staff. Unfortunately, these are only the most current offenses committed by our leadership. Teachers and staff have not been supported, respected, trusted or treated as professionals in the field of education by Bipul Singh. 

We are in jeopardy of losing almost 40 staff members if the district continues its lack of support and inability to change by keeping Singh in his role as principal of OAES. Many of these are veteran school employees with over 10 years at the school, often more. These staff members have been awarded many recognitions at the district level as well. I say this to point out that this is not expected turnover or decisions being made on a whim or without careful consideration. All of these actions adversely affect our students, who should always be the school’s and district’s top priority.

The ineffective leadership at OAES has led to the daily school functioning being subpar and dysfunctional. Due to the most recent behavior of our administration, the front office staff receives harassing phone calls daily and are the first point of contact for visitors and deliveries. They have been left out in the cold by our school and district leaders. Mahatma Gandhi said, “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.” I ask, how does OAES measure up? How does CCSD? We have to do better.

We have all experienced great changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many issues have been attributed to this, but they go back further. The pandemic has only pushed them to the forefront and made problems blatantly clear. Our district is suffering. We need help. If changes are not brought about soon, I fear that there will be damage that will take years to recover from. Please take a closer look at the inner workings of our schools and district so we can begin to address the problems before it is too late.