The Moore County Board of Education has called a special meeting for Thursday, June 4 at 8:00 am, to deal with personnel matters.
Based on anonymous sources, the Southern Pines Pilot newspaper is reporting that the meeting will focus on whether Superintendent Dr. Robert Grimesey's employment with Moore County Schools will continue. That reporting appears to be credible.
Because it is a personnel matter, neither school personnel nor Board members are willing to comment on the record.
Again, based on anonymous sources, the Pilot newspaper is reporting that the Board is split on the issue, with those in favor of retaining Grimesey in the minority, and that conflict with one or more senior Central Office staff members is the primary issue involved.
The Special Meeting agenda includes no opportunity for public comment. The Board will discuss the matter in closed session; however, any action by the Board will have to be taken in open session.
Parents, teachers weigh in on social media
The prospect that Grimesey will be removed after serving only one school year as Superintendent has lit up social media, in particular the public Facebook Group of Parents for Moore, a group that advocates for increased funding for Moore County Schools.
Parents for Moore members have posted letters to the Board and individual Board members protesting any action that would result in Grimesey's departure, as well as speculating on the underlying reasons.
Those letters and posts appear to overwhelming favor retaining Dr. Grimesey in his position.
Former School Board member Jennifer Garner wrote in a letter to the Board:
"First, I am very upset with the time you have chosen to hold such a meeting. You know this is the week of major testing in your schools. Students, staff and parents are already stressed to the max this week. Teachers and support staff cannot leave their school positions to come to central office to be seen and heard in their support of their superintendent."
"As you can imagine being a former board member myself, I have heard from all kinds of community members and school staff and kept up with all social media posts and news reports, I have yet to see ANY posts supporting the firing of Dr. Grimesey. Not one. You will have a lot to answer for especially come election time. We have lost enough teaching staff in this system already and you are about to lose many more over this decision."
Garner further suggested in her letter that the underlying issue is conflict with one or more members of the MCS Central Office senior staff.
"I have no doubt you will lose Dr. Grimesey," Garner wrote, "who wants to work for a divided board, personal agendas and be undermined by their own senior staff? . . . . Pass out copies of 'Who moved my cheese?' and have your senior staff read it and adjust or let them leave, but do not sacrifice a man who has jumped into this town and this system, gotten his feet wet, supported staff, schools and the community and made great inroads at the community college. Your customers have other options . . . People that can leave your public schools are leaving . . ."
Dr. Kären Kent, a Parents for Moore organizer, wrote to Board Member Ben Cameron:
"I am writing to express my total opposition to the potential firing of Dr. Robert Grimesey. In my work with the community to raise support and funds for the public school system, I have been struck by the amazing strength he has brought to the community. His reputation among respected leaders like Dr. Dempsey and the county commissioners has brought instant weight to our cause. He is invaluable to Moore County Schools. Given our dire financial situation, losing such an advocate and potentially having to pay additional funds to buy out a contract and initiate a search is beyond irresponsible."
Parent Katrina Denza wrote to the Board:
"I have served as a Key Communicator for two years, an AIG Parent Advisory Council member for two years, and this last year I served as a Parent Advisory Council member. Although I have always felt as if my opinions have been heard, this last year with Dr. Grimesey as superintendent, was the first year I felt not only was my feedback heard, but that it was important, and when there were concerns such as with the Chromebook Rollout, those concerns were taken seriously and steps were taken to rectify the issues."
"Teachers are leaving and have left this county because of misguided policies and unhealthy working conditions created by a central office staff member."
Former MCS Teacher Ken Loyd wrote:
"As a retiree with 33 years in Moore County classrooms, I have continued to be an advocate for our children and schools, including serving on advisory panels continuously with both Dr. Spence and Dr. Grimesey. As I hear from educators in many different schools, I can assure you that Dr. Grimesey has the confidence of those on the battle front -- the teachers. He has also portrayed a reasonable and well-constructed vision in advisory panel sessions. He has wisdom, experience, and humility. Citizens from varying groups see him as a listener, and one responsive to their voices. If he has rankled senior staffers, it may be because he has verified concerns that were pointed out to him."
Though the voices on Parents for Moore appear to overwhelming support Dr. Grimesey, at least one member expressed some caution that personnel matters must be handled behind closed doors for good reason.
Charlene Nall Vermeulen wrote:
"We'll never know all sides of any personnel issue. Transparency is necessary, but so is trust. Many, many scenarios take place that are never aired publicly, and I'm glad. It allows for due process and dignity, and this is what closed-door personnel issues are all about. Maybe, then, we should trust the people we elected to do their jobs, and calm down before we assume the worst of the people we elected."