Rebuffing an outpouring of public support for Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt at this evening’s special meeting, the Flagler County School Board voted 3-2 not to renew her contract when it expires in June.
It would be difficult, but not impossible, for the board to secure a new superintendent by July 1. The name of Lashakia Moore, the assistant superintendent, has been bandied about in some circles as a possible interim. But the board this evening did not take up that matter. It’ll discuss succession at its April 18 workshop.
Board members Will Furry, who made the motion, Christy Chong, who seconded, and Sally Hunt, voted not to renew. Colleen Conklin and Cheryl Massaro voted against.
“There’s been a lot of talk in the media about collusion and things like that, but I will tell you that this board has been independently elected,” Furry said. “We’ve all done our independent reviews of the superintendent and everything has been in the sunshine…. I’ve come to the conclusion that we’d be better fit to not renew this contract and find a new superintendent to lead Flagler schools in the future.”
Chong, who had given Mittelstadt a strong evaluation that nearly matched Conklin’s, cited “a lot of turnover and staff changes” as her reason.
Hunt spoke mostly about herself, justifying who she spoke with–particularly Mike Chiumento, the Palm Coast attorney–or thanking the chamber of commerce. “I just wanted to speak to these really unfortunate accusations about someone who lives in your community, who really cares about everyone and everything And who has really been vilified. And it’s unfortunate. I’m sorry that I’ve lost a lot of friends in this process, and a lot of respect for a lot of people, and I’m sorry you lost respect for me. But tonight I’m going to do what I think is in the best interest of Flagler County schools.”
Thirty-two people took up 90 minutes of public comment before the vote. Thirty spoke in support of renewing the superintendent’s contract, or extending it.
Conklin addressed the chamber of commerce’s claim that reading, math and science grades had fallen significantly in the last report, though the chamber did not mention either that the fall reflected the pandemic’s effects–or that learning gains were still in many respects above those of 2018, or that they remained, despite the pandemic, above state averages.
“So in fairness, she is moving the needle on student achievement in every single subject area with the exception of US history,” Conklin said. “I like warm and fuzzy. But I’ll tell you what, if she was warm and fuzzy, I don’t think she could have kept her composure and her grace and her focus, the way that she did through Covid.” She added: “I have worked with a tremendous number of superintendents over the years. And I will say I have never seen anyone stay so focused on student achievement and not allow her team to get distracted with the noise, but to remain focused on student achievement and just beat that drum of elevating excellence. She never swayed from that. That’s impressive. There are currently eight superintendent openings in the state of Florida right now. She came from the number one district in the state. She knows their secret sauce.”
She asked her colleagues at least to reconsider extending the contract for a year, saying the district will probably be an A district when the grades come out in early summer.
But other board members’ minds were made up, in some cases for months.
Massaro said she didn’t need to say what had already been said in the superintendent’s defense, but still spoke at length. “She thinks through everything before she does anything, and that’s a huge plus because we don’t have the knee jerk reactions that we have had by many superintendents in the past,” Massaro said, before referring to a list of accomplishments included in some of her evaluations. “In my year serving of Flagler County Schools, and it’s close to 20 years now, this is the best team effort I have ever seen.”
The majority might as well have been looking at the clock. Mittelstadt sat at her place on the dais, staring ahead. The board took its 3-2 vote at 8:10 p.m.
Individuals spoke for themselves or as representatives of local organizations–Flagler County’s Exceptional Student Education Parent Advisory Council (EPAC), the African American Mentor Program, the NAACP. Speakers included former School Board member Trevor Tucker, graduates of the district, a former Bunnell city commissioner and current board member of the Carver Center, current and former district and school staff members, including Dave Halliday, a teacher and often-decorated track coach at Flagler Palm Coast High School who said he spoke “for those without a voice to those from each corner of the county, from Espanola to the Mondex to Chapel Street in Bunnell to the dunes in Flagler Beach.”
“I think the grass may not be greener on the other side,” Tucker told the board. “I think Ms. Mittelstadt has done a good job during her time here. And I think you should continue her contract. And with that, don’t let this decision one way or the other divide this board any more than it already is.”
Steve Furnari, who chairs EPAC, recalled the way Jim Tager, the superintendent before Mittelstadt and the last superintendent to reclaim an A rating for the district, was “blindsided” by the board chair in 2019 who maneuvered to oust him.
“While it may be tempting to exercise the full power of your position, it also comes with lots of risks,” Furnari said. “Will you have the votes to get a candidate that you prefer, who supports your vision and ideological values? Or do you end up with someone new who’s worse than what you have now?” Citing Mittelstadt’s record of fulfilling promises rather than “placating the concerns of stakeholders,” EPCA “strongly” urged the superintendent’s contract renewal, he said.
“With Ms. Mittelstadt, you know for certain that the district will get integrity, persistence and dedication to data driven results,” another said. “With someone new, you’ll get a lot of promises that may or may not be fulfilled.”
The speakers highlighted a broad range of accomplishments, not least among them the superintendent’s shepherding of the district through the Covid pandemic, then successfully managing the renewal of its half-penny sales surtax to support technology, security and other initiatives. The list grew with each speaker, some describing the superintendent as a “cheerleader” for local success, some recalling days when retaliatory administrators had free rein, until Mittelstadt arrived, some of whom were beguiled at the seeming inquisition against the superintendent for vague and tendentious reasons.
“I have yet to understand where the superintendent has failed in her performance, what her shortcomings are, what she’s supposed to have done that she hasn’t done,” Edith Campins told the board. “She seems to have performed well, and I can’t see any reason for not continuing her contract. On the other hand, I do hope that the board, after this is all said and done with, will take a look at its performance and particularly the performance of a particular member, because I think there is someone here that needs to be censured for their behavior in this whole affair.”
Campins was referring to Hunt, who at least since February has been secretly orchestrating Mittelstadt’s firing, with coaching from Wadsworth Principal Paul Peacock (who sent her a literal “script” on how to motion for her firing at a board meeting). One of the more subtle speakers told the board to “not worry about ruffling some peacock feathers or the governor’s report card, as only the report cards that matter are those of our students, the voters of tomorrow.” It wasn’t clear if she was referring to the report cards the local chamber has been dangling in the face of some elected officials when the chamber doesn’t get its way, or the report cards former Board member Jill Woolbright claimed to the board Gov. Ron DeSantis was keeping on local board members.
One of the more powerful statements was delivered by a prodigal voice–Patty Bott, who had, among other responsibilities, been in charge of the district’s year-long and politically fraught impact fee negotiations with cities, the county and the building community. She has since retired. “Shame on you, to any board member whose decisions are being guided by political and outside party interests,” Bott said. “You need to understand that you’re being used as a pawn, a pawn that will eventually be replaced as the last ones were. We all know who they are and who the outside interests are. And they’re in it for personal gain.”
Two people spoke in favor of firing Mittelstadt in the first hour of public comment.
The first was Charlene Cochran, the person whose appearances before the board in 2019 began board meetings’ slouch into incivility and occasional vileness. Three years ago Cochran had openly insulted an under-age high school student and his parents, all of whom were in the audience, over his gender orientation. She then led a demonstration before a subsequent board meeting, outside the Government Services Building, in the same vein. Her appearance today was no different. This time she directed her bigotry at the superintendent–briefly, because unlike in 2019, when the board chair at the time allowed her bigotry unimpeded, Massaro intervened, cut off her mic and said she’d be removed if she continued. Cochran spoke for a few moments into a dead mic then went back to her seat.
The second was Greg Blose, the spokesman for the local chamber of commerce who last week read the chamber’s 186-word statement calling for the firing of Mittelstadt at a workshop. This time, in a remarkable display of decontextualized criticism, he compared post-pandemic achievement scores to pre-pandemic scores to make his claim that Mittelstadt had done a poor job. In fact, achievement scores fell across the state and the nation, as echoed by the Nation’s Report Card for almost every state.
Massaro called it “weak and unexplainable data,” questioning the chamber’s alliegance when she referred back to the bruising battle over impact fees.
“With all due respect to the Chamber of Commerce,” an educator and former colleague of Mittelstadt’s in St. Johns County, where Mittelstadt had been an assistant superintendent, said later, “I would hate to see what our economic scores look like during the period of Covid and how much it’s taken us to come back.”
Others nearly ridiculed a recurring claim, at least from some board members and chamber directors, that Mittelstadt doesn’t get into the community enough. She does, but not necessarily in the gentrified corners the chamber would like her to cajole: “I sent an invitation to miss Mittelstadt and I said, I haven’t seen her at one of our meetings as yet,” Daisy Henry, a former member of the Bunnell City Commission and a current member of the Carver Gym on Bunnell’s South Side (which is predominantly Black). “The next meeting she was there. Some of you all I haven’t even seen to the Carver Gym, period. That’s the South side of town.”
Cabal Wins Again says
It’s amazing how we, as a community, continue to let Michael Chiumento run things as he sees fit when he doesn’t live here and chose to send his kids to Volusia County Schools.
There is no conspiracy theory! Mittelstadt wasn’t a terrible person, but she didn’t do enough to indicate we are heading in the right direction. I watched the meeting, which was the old people wrapping their arms around the Super…shocker. The district needs a change, and should continue to change until we see some real results. The Board made the right decision.
Certainly is no conspiracy theory … It’s a proven Fact!
And Yes, the district needs a change. We have to stop empowering the nutjobs and fringe lunatics, and leave the JOB of educating our youth to those people who are hired to do it … not some idiots with a web browser , a link to a larger organization of nutjobs just like themselves, and a desire to make herself … errr … themselves feel important.
And as to ‘Real Results’ – ” learning gains were still in many respects above those of 2018, or that they remained, despite the pandemic, above state averages.” The renewal of its half-penny sales surtax to support technology, security and other initiatives.
Let me ask .. how comfortable would you feel in a jetliner if the law said any passenger who wanted to, at anytime, could override the pilot’s decisions and judgements and direct the operation of the plane – whether they were qualified or not – in the interests of ‘Giving the passengers control’ ?
Then Why? do you justify it in politics?
Flagler will never be an “A” District as long as we are changing supts every 3 years!! and who will pay for a national seach$$$….I say take it out of the yes votes salaries!!!
Sherri S-Sanders says
Apparently you didn’t watch the whole meeting, there were people of all ages and the statistics presented did in fact show the Flagler Count Schools were moving in the right direction. Teachers and Staff also spoke up on support of Ms Mittlestadt.
Concern Community Member says
So sad for FCS tonight! So sad we have newly elected school board members that let their own feelings come to this conclusion. All I can say to those newbies enjoy your 3 years on this board because the Flagler County Comminity members WILL NOT forget what you did tonight. Our loss of Cathy will be some other school district gain. I wish you, Cathy all the best and FCS will definitely miss your leadership
She will be some other community’s gain. And that’s ok. It didn’t work in 3 years, and the pandemic excuse is old. If we want a competitive school district, we need to move mediocrity out of the way.
Edith Campins says
Actually it did work. If you bothered to look at the data it would be obvious that all the results were moving in the right direction and in many areas we are ahead of the state averages. And no, the Covid excuse is not old since Covid happened during the majority of her tenure, and she had to contend with Woolbright and McDonald. She did indeed do a very good job guiding us through the Covid years. I wonder what contributions to the community Hunt Flurry and Chong made during the Covid years.
“… She will be some other community’s gain. …”
She now has this Flagler County baggage to carry around… being the superintendent during a time of high political volatility and grandstanding of significance (book bans, student bullying, LGBTQ rights issues, etc.). In many instances these were noteworthy (for all the wrong reasons) and reported on nationally.
That’s why I suggest she sue for damages.
And don’t think for a minute that Flagler County is going to find it easy to get anyone to replace her… that’s going to cost big $$$ now. No matter who… even Sally’s PAL.
Just my opinion.
Been There says
Baggage, smaggage. Plenty of people have left employment of one of Flagler County’s public organizations or another under ugly circumstances facilitated by the political hit squad (we all know their names) only to flourish elsewhere under the support of less corruption.
Free at last. Free at last. Thank the Lord Almighty, she’s free at last.
A serious removal of the current force needs to be undertaken and make them impotent.
“… Plenty of people have left employment of one of Flagler County’s public organizations or another under ugly circumstances facilitated by the political hit squad (we all know their names) only to flourish elsewhere… ”
Name them… your memory is better then mine.
Wow, all that support and positive data and those 3 still voted not to renew or even extend? This meeting made it clear that those 3 have someone else’s best interests in mind, certainly not the district’s and completely lack knowledge of and experience in public education. It’s embarrassing
Concerned Community Member says
Such sad news tonight about our superintendent. This is such a great loss to our schools, students and staff. Those new school board members that voted not to renew her, just remember that in 3 years the Flagler County Community members are who voted for you. So enjoy your 2 1/2 more years because this community need people without their own agenda. We need representatives for our kids, staff and community.
This is the entire ballgame
Concerned Citizen says
Well after all the back room shadiness I see they got their wish.
I hope we remember Chong,Hunt and Furry next election cycle.
Bailey’s Mom says
We will remember!
Sherri Sanders says
Unbelievable! So many people spoke up in favor of the the Superintendent but Fuzzy, Chong & Hunt refused to renew her contract and barely paid attention to the statistics and growth in the school district! This will hurt our schools and community!
Now we need to investigate and get all the emails and texts between Hunt & Peacock as I am 90% sure they had an intimate relationship and there fore she should be removed or at least recuse herself! So FlaglerLive please do your due diligence and get to the bottom of their Sunshine Law violations!
This vote was the most outrageous and unfair vote. How is it possible to give a 4 and vote against? How can you even have vote when you have been against the superintendent behind closed doors? Turnover rate in the schools?
You have to be kidding!!! Teachers are leaving the profession all over the country, and you are going to blame Mittlestadt for turnover in our schools? It is a problem in the entire country due to the way teachers are treated. Young teachers are walking out the door and leaving the profession. How can you hear from so many community members and not listen? Our county has struggled with the treatment of people of color and students with disabilities. We get a superintendent who addresses these issues, is supported by many groups that support people of color and students with disabilities, and they are not even heard! Really?
Maybe we should look into the real reason these three board members voted against her. Something is not right, and I am outraged.
Laura Gollon says
I am completely devastated by this vote. What is happening in Flagler County? First an election was stolen and now the entire community is ignored, including employees of the school district! I just can’t wrap my brain around this whole fiasco.
The one thing I want to know is what’s the REAL reason they voted her out. Who paid for their “evaluations” and negative votes? It’s always about the money. Follow the money.
I’m heartbroken for our children. I’ve been a paraprofessional for Flagler County Schools for 17 years. This is by far the best superintendent we’ve have for our children since 2006. This is disgusting.
What’s disgusting is your jump to “bribery.” It is possible for people to disagree with you without breaking the law or creating a conspiracy. Your response is part of the problem and why you’re not listened to.
Bailey’s Mom says
Did you even read her comments! Review the facts, statistics and detail that was presented! Apparently the 3 newbies didn’t nor do they vote in the best interests of our students or schools!
I am hoping the entire community, young and old come forward to file complaints. Oh and you response is bigger part of the problem!
Tired of it says
Well, James you obviously didn’t read the texts between her and Peacock. She clearly violated the state’s Sunshine Law. https://flaglerlive.com/188192/peacock-hunt-firing/
There was no sunshine violation in the texts themselves: board members are free to communicate with anyone other than fellow-board members on ongoing board issues. However, both Hunt and Peacock are currently in violation of the open record law for continuing to be in non-compliance with record requests.
Concerned Citizen says
Are you going to push this issue FL?
It would be nice to start holding our officials accountable.
Been There says
Chris Conklin says
What a joke you have three school board members that couldn’t graduate high school but they were elected and absolute disgrace what they have done.
That is what happens when idiotic voters in total ignorance vote MAGA. Now the klansman/realtor wants to close the Belle Terre and Swim club pool to the membership and community use , then to close it to the excuse now students will follow up maybe withy Chiu planning to sell the facility to very profitable multifamily units projects too and have us pay for the “safety remodeling” of Belle Terre to accommodate 316 units. Just like Carl Cote and DeLorenzo just did with Whiteview parkway, 3.5 miles of remodeling on the residents hard earned taxes destroying a beautiful Whiteview to benefit the 316 units development.
LAW ABIDING CITIZEN says
Palmcoaster: You are exactly right! There are absolutely no amenities here in Palm Coast except for empty pickle ball courts. I would love to see the results of Petito’s taxpayer/resident BS survey to find out what people who live here would like to have going forward as she talkes more BS on a radio station about PC economic plans. Just like Alfin put out some other kind of survey for residents to request appointments with him so that he can listen to there wants and needs. It’s all BS folks, they are all in the pockets of the developers who develop tiny lots of small cookie cutter houses at high prices then they make it a gated community with their Chiumento friend who shows pictures in a FCBOCC meeting of big homes with more land as he trys to convince the public with optics that those little tiny houses on those little tiny plots are in some way similar. It’s called mindfu**ing and this is what they are all about, they think we are all stupid! As for Adam Mengal, he should start working for the we people’s best interest and not for Chiumento and the developers as he speaks for hours about how great these developments will be.
Donna Harkins says
A terrible injustice has been done, not only to Superintendent Mittelstadt, but to the staff, students and families of Flagler County Schools. As a former educator, a 25 yr resident of Flagler County and a mom of four Flagler Schools graduates, I am incensed by the utter disregard the three new school board members had for the resounding show of community support for Ms Mittelstadt this evening, not to mention the overwhelmingly positive hard data presented by Vice Chair Conklin. Clearly these folks had their own agenda and it apparently had nothing to do with student success. They should be ashamed of themselves.
Angela Lucier says
I’m so hear broken for this town. No one gave her an explanation and when they tried to it was proven to be not correct….very disappointing doesn’t even cover it. At least with Jill you knew what you were getting. Sally keep on explaining yourself and digging that hole. 😲 SMH. Furry and Chong you are no better…not listening to the people!! Come on man!!
Telling the tea says
You’ve been played by the town’s villainous attorney. You fell nicely into that trap. All to stifle impact fee discussion in future. You posed as intelligent; however, after the Chamber dropped their two cents, which is literally all they have, you had a chance to see the light and not fall for it. Hope you like depositions, I’m sure the school board will subject you to.
And again…more threats. More conspiracy. Also, it’s not possible she could have a brain of her own, right? Sally has to have been brainwashed. Sally has to have been misled. Maybe what Sally saw behind the curtain was more concerning than dealing with any of the comments and threats you yahoos make? Has anybody asked her? No, you just shove your own perspectives in her mouth because it’s easiest…and yet Dems claim to want to support the voice of women. Interesting.
Bailey’s Mom says
James, you don’t speak for the women or the Democrats!
Sally violated her position and the facts & evidence cannot be hidden. The texts and phone records Will lead to the truth and she & Peacock will be out.
James, apparently you have no problem ignoring Sally Hunt’s contact with Principal Peacock, their conspiring to spring a vote to remove the superintendent, her unwillingness to comply with legitimate requests for public records, her “resign/not resign” episode, and the willful deceit she has brought with her to the school board. I guess it’s easy to act as though Sally Hunt voted with “integrity” if you ignore all the alarm bells around her. And if Sally Hunt “saw behind the curtain” is so bad that it led to her vote, she owes it to the community to “lift that curtain” for all to see. But that won’t happen because there isn’t anything to see.
This is just three small people doing damage to the community and not even explaining why they did it.
Justin Case says
Why are your feathers so ruffled? Meeting with a disgruntled principal in secret, is in fact the definition of conspiracy. Perhaps you’re ruffled because you are a peacock? We have elected book burning/banning fools who think their way is the only way. There is absolutely ZERO liberty in burning books. We need to cancel the group that claims they are for liberty. They are not. I punched a straight Republican ballot once – never again. Do your research, and vote for the best. We don’t need Chong/Furry any more than we needed Mullins, or Woolbright. We have too many people concerned with their own future, (that means YOU Peacock), when they should be concerned with the children in our schools.
It’s clear she doesn’t have a brain. She was just an easy mark and instructed on the exact way to take down the Superintendent. We’ve all read the texts. I’m going to look into filing a grievance with the governor’s office. This is ridiculous. clearly she’s clueless about everything regarding education and this county. As far as her not justifying herself. She’s a public figure who colluded with a disgruntled employee and his attorney. She won’t justify herself because it’s not justifiable.
Sorry John. . . I have ZERO confidence that DeSantis would do anything to seek justice in this situation. In fact, I think he would support this travesty.
Been There says
Its not just the attorney. There is also a couple developers, an insurance salesman, and a media company owner.
There goes our A rating. Hope they are happy! Fire HUNT! Sneaky that is who you vote in sleazy people.
Sorry to see Ms. Middlestadt go but could be a blessing for her. I am going to vote these 3 idiots out of office at the next election and I hope there is a boat load of people who will do the same thing. Good luck in finding someone to take this job and have to deal with these morons, except for Ms. Conklin and Ms. Massaro. Run Cathy, run and get as far away as possible. Good luck to you.
Concerned for Our Children, Now More Than Ever says
There are no words to describe my anger and disappointment tonight. After sitting in that room listening to all those supporters of Superintendent Mittelstadt, as well as the data that Colleen Conklin presented. It is obvious to anyone with a brain, that her contract should have been renewed. For Gods sake, what other board meeting have you been at where SURJ, the Dems and Mom’s for Liberty agreed on something! That says enough right there! I had little hope in Chong and Furry, but Sally is a huge disappointment. Please don’t blame SURJ for your place on the board. You seem more like MAGA to me. Stirring up trouble and then crying victim. I don’t know if the three of you were fooled by the rich and powerful or if it was purposeful, but the children are the ones hurt in the end…AGAIN! This is our loss and CathyMittelstadt’s gain. Good riddance, Flagler County!
Mittelstadt damaged her career by taking the position of Flagler County public school superintendent when she did… with all its dysfunction and political nonsense. It will remain on her resume the rest of her life, with who knows what consequences for her future earning potential. Which could have been substantial ($250k a year, for five years). Not to mention the emotional stress and personal abuse she’s taken over the course of her tenure.
Yeah, could add up to a cool $1 million, give or take 100k (after legal expenses).
I say sue… sue the counties ass off, sue Peacock and all his PALs (for defamation and aggravation). She’ll be helping to hold all these idiots accountable by doing so.
Just my opinion.
Edith Campins says
Tonight, Sally Hunt betrayed the children of Flagler County and the citizens that elected her. In a rambling speech, which did not address ANY issues with the Superintendent, she dropped the name of Chiumento, multiple times, claimed she “hadn’t read” the emails from Peakock, telling her how to get rid of the Supt. and generally made herself out to be a victim. What she clearly showed was her incompetence, her lack of self awareness and her total disregard for the 30 members of the community who spoke in support of the Supt. She still doesn’t realize that the Chiumento and Peacock have played her and will drop her when she is no longer useful to them. Her arrogance will be her downfall.
At least Chong made an effort to justify her decision, albeit with misleading statistics. As expected Flurry didn’t have any inettligent comments to make. I suspect he gets his marching orders from Woolbright and McDonald.
Surely she is in violation of the state’s Sunshine laws. All her behind the scenes communicatiosn with Chiumento and Peacock are unethical at the very least.
I wonder what her husband thinks ofher close relationship with Peacock.
Tired of it says
By the way, that Regional Chamber of Commerce vote of no confidence on Mittelstadt? Gues who the vice chair is? No other than Sally Hunt’s pal Chiumento.
Been There says
That’s who is behind all the shenanigans in this County. Look at the founding fathers of the new regional chamber.
A regional Chamber just ,mouth to mouth resuscitated from the 2021 ashes of bankruptcy while driven by Rebecca (yup) DeLorenzo. What does anyone has to hear from this Blasoe guy just his alliance with the Chiu’s and co..? Nothing new a useless chamber never helping the high fee paying members but instead politicking left and right and never supporting the residents taxpayers versus developers and their lawyers, totally forgetting that his members are also affected residents by Blasoe’s damaging alliances.
JOE D says
What a sad day for Flagler County Students, and the community as a whole.
School Staff “turnover” ….during COVID!?!? Don’t make me LAUGH (how many of those business owners lost THEIR EMPLOYEES during Covid)?
Teachers are being afraid they will be sanctioned, fired or sued if they offend the “feelings”of a SINGLE parent or student by teaching the truth (good and bad) about American History, or current events!
Cathy will survive and flourish (as competent educators do) in another school district (or STATE) that will APPRECIATE her talent and experience. If I were a COMPETENT Education Administrator, I would steer CLEAR of Flagler County. What a loss for our STUDENTS and STAFF….you think TURNOVER is bad NOW!?
Looking for a Superintendent will take months to years to search for, vet and contract a QUALIFIED educator. But I’m sure there are plenty of incompetent wannabes that will continue to pull the wool over the eyes of the gullible school board members who ousted Cathy. I know who I’m NOT voting for in the next election rounds!!
It still saddens me that (When my oldest son was offered a promotion to move to the area), I told him “Not as long as the current Florida administration is in power , and my happy, intelligent BIRACIAL grandson is of school age!
Just about BROKE my HEART!
I feel so bad for our superintendent. It didn’t matter what the citizens wanted. Believe you me-as a Republican, Furry, Chong and Hunt will never get my vote. You represent the people, not your own self-serving interests. Maybe it’s time to change to an Independent.
I hope and pray that Cathy finds a much better district to work for. FCS just lost an amazing leader.
LAW ABIDING CITIZEN says
This is all about the money, follow the money! Fact: is that Chuimento went head to head with Mittlestadt over impact fees, I was at that meeting and saw how Mittlestadt spoke so eloquently and professionally as she fought for the childrens education. People like Chuimento and his buddy’s don’t like people who fight for their rights and the rights of others and who make sense. He is the big shot lawyer who they all hire for their land deals, development deals, real estate deals, business deals and now political deals, why does he even have a hand in this? Bottom line this is sleezy like the rest of the money hungry political hacks that ruined this county, they want a bunch of puppets who they can control, they don’t like outspoken citizens that bring them down to their knees where they belong, shame on all of them who orchestrated Mittlestadt’s demise, so now what’s happens to Peacock and Hunt? And how the other 2 Furry and Chong kept selectively quiet through all of this is part of their game plan.
Flagler County continues to be a political embarrassment at every level. Chimento will continue to destroy this community as long as the residents continue to empower him. Start by cutting off the Chamber. Stop supporting businesses that are members of the Chamber. The clearly cannot function as a real business themselves, they shouldn’t be dictating anything to anyone! Vote with your pocketbooks Flagler County! Start with the Board of Directors – let them know you will no longer support their businesses! StateStreet Bank, Garry Lubi – Michael Chimento, Chimento Law – Chelsey Barney Herbert, 4C Trucking – John Walsh, Palm Coast Observer – David Ayers, Flagler Broadcasting – Christopher Bailey, Spectrum/Charter Communications – Mike Hall, Flagler Health – Howard Holley, Touchpoint Innovative Solutions, – Teresa Rizzo, Flagler Education Foundation – Jason Roth, TECO – Scott Sowers, Cline Construction – Linda Webster, FPL – Joe Wright, Quantum Electric. Some of these folks don’t own their businesses, call their employer and let them know you will no longer do business with them because of their employees involvement. Might sound extreme, but not renewing a contract of a highly effective, fair and talented superintendent is by far more extreme. Start fighting fire with fire. Then move onto the city and county governments as well. Take back your community. We cannot be governed by one mindset, or we’ll be headed toward another holocaust!
Sherri S-Sanders says
Agree! Let our voices be heard and where we spend our money even louder!
We can do better Flagler…vote them out!
Deborah Coffey says
Didn’t Donald Trump just get indicted for election fraud. I think Sally Hunt should be thoroughly investigated.
Joseph Barand says
Is there any way we can force a mental evaluation of the three idiots. They are clearly incompetent, ill informed and are being herded by the Trump supported attorney who should have been disbarred years ago.
JOE D says
Unfortunately “No”…. The only “mental” evaluation will come in 2 1/2 years….but apparently voters tend to REMEMBER back only about 6 months (“What have you done for me LATELY, mindset”), at the time of an ELECTION…..but I know I’ll REMEMBER!
Another shining example of a group of devious officials making backdoor deals. Relying on proven non-factual data and information to ruin a colleague’s career and offering no due process. I don’t know why they think they need to interject their agendas into any organization. Pure ignorance and personal gain are the order of the day. It’s amazing how unqualified individuals, backed by dark money and like-minded supporters can BS the public into electing them to positions of importance to the community’s children. I’m thankful my grandkids have already graduated from such an inept school system, and I feel for the future youth of Palm Coast. It is truly shameful how elected officials act once they get in office. Talk about talking out of both sides of your mouth. Time for Furry, Chong, and Hunt to go. I wonder if they have ever considered they might have someone else’s job. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts, absolutely.
“ Striving to be the nations #1 learning institution” is never going to happen when you oust educators like Ms Middlestadt. What a travesty and huge embarrassment this whole thing has been. There are 8 Superintendent positions open in the state of Florida and one of them is going to score big by hiring her. Thank you Ms Middlestadt! Shame on these 3 rogue Board Members!
Ben Hogarth says
Sometimes artists or poets (or both) are better at conveying the message or simply already said what needs to be said.
“Are you lost in your lies?
Do you tell yourself I don’t realize?
Your crusade’s a disguise
Replaced freedom with fear, you trade money for lives…
I see pain, I see need
I see liars and thieves abuse power with greed
I had hope, I believed
But I’m beginning to think that I’ve been deceived.”
-Linkin Park, No More Sorrow
Let me know Flagler County, if you are starting to FEEL and not simply read/hear these song lyrics. The termination of the superintendents contract is a tragic outcome, but pales in comparison to the siphoning of public school funding for the inurement of the private few in charter schools around the state via House Bill 1 that passes this year by the GOP legislature. You know, the same charter school system with a ~40% failure rate in the state (among the highest in the nation).
This is what 30+ years of GOP absolution looks like. I’m proud to have been educated up north, particularly when I hear school districts in Florida receiving “A” marks for their relative success when only 1/3 students is able to read at their own grade level. Incredible.
And you think swapping superintendents is suddenly going to undue decades of political decadence, bad policy, and poorer results?
Food for thought
What a mess Sally says
Sally, you are coward. It is obvious, by your own words that you were working back room deals all moral and legal (?) issues
Don’t appear to bother you. Hell, I can’t even get a response from you when a submit a question to your website. I suppose my question is still being “Reviewed”. Stop hiding ,who is pulling your puppet stings? All you can do at the board meeting is go on and on talking about yourself. Figures like myself, many of my friends and neighbors who feel the same way. It was a mistake to vote for you. We are disappointed in you Sally.
Nephew Of Uncle Sam says
3 Votes for Hunt came out of our house, now the only Votes are No Confidence….Just Resign Sally. The one thing I wish Cathy would have done before being fired is fire Peacock Monday morning for insubordination.
Former Teacher says
I think Cathy’s still under contract till July. At the very least, she should fire Peecock for insubordination, misappropriation of funds, creating a hostile work environment, and just generally being a bully and an A-hole. There have certainly been enough complaints about this jerk to justify a full investigation. Let’s see if our 3 new board members have the guts to fire someone who actually deserves to be removed.
Agreed! Fire Peacock!
I have no regrets I didn’t vote for any of this mostly MAGA dudes I saw the writing in the wall. Not only they fired an excellent superitendent under orders from developers rep Chiu, Now they are planing to close the Belle Terre Swim Club Pool to thye community membership! Great show of totalitarianism very much good old boy politically orchestrated. Aren’t all these developers and their lawyer Chuimento enough wealthy on our backs so far?
Mark Woods says
This is a damn shame. Cathy Mittelstadt, knowing she was on the chopping block, was still out at the Flagler Ed Foundation Golf Tournament on Monday (along with Palm Coast Mayor Alfin by the way) to help raise funds for the kids.
I didn’t see any other school board members or city council members out there, so who really cares about kids and education in our county?
LAW ABIDING CITIZEN says
Mark Woods: I have also seen Cathy at the 4th of July and the Christmas Parade in Flagler Beach, no she is not the back slapping type that these a**holes want, she is a dignified classy lady who doesn’t have to scream all over radio stations or at flag raising events to make her point or to have her voice heard but the town idiots don’t like that, afterall they like their people who make idiot falsehhoods such as paying homage to Hitler for burning books in Nazi Germany. or the ones who make mysogonist, racist and homophophic remarks over radio stations., which also disgraces their own party as well, and the others who show up at events that are not meant for them ,trying to steal peoples thunder by campaigning and giving out their cards. They truly are a disgusting, sneaky, underhanded crew who need to be called out.
Dee Cocchiola says
I sat through the school board meeting last night with the hope that Sally Hunt would see the light, but no, I was wrong. Hunt expresses how smart she is and the big companies she has worked withBut, I have questions. (1) Why is she not still working for any of them question? (2) Why has she let the three amigos (Peacock and Chiumento and the mysterious chamber of commerce ) play her like a fiddle?
I voted for Sally Hunt and gave money to her. Can I get back my time and money because she does not belong on a school board?
Can’t wait to vote her out!
Has anyone else noticed that Teresa Rizzo, Executive Director of the Flagler County Education Foundation, is on the Chamber of Commerce Board and backed the Chamber’s stance on the Superintendent. Seems to have become another Chiumento tool. How appalling and how sad for the students and teachers of Flagler County.
Do these 3 boards members have any idea the cost and process to hire another uperintendent and start this all over again. Those 3 should all be recalled. As for Hunt it does not seem like she is intelligent enough to hold this position, she clearly colluded with Peacock to get rid of Mittlestadt. Looks like a no-brainer for insubordination against peacock he should be shown the door today. Have these people no self conscience what they did is conspire to fire the superintendent. After all this Crap peacock continues like business as usual. And these board members think everything’s hunky-dory. Mittlestadt can get a job anywhere but it’s not an easy task to fill her postion. I am sure they have someone in mind and I bet it’s someone that has previously worked in the district.
Just my 2 cents worth.
When each comes up for reelection they will lose their position because of this.
I do not have knowledge of this, so I am asking a genuine question: How is someone whose “conduct” is in question able to participate in decisions such as these? If Hunt has been unethical, shouldn’t she be on some sort of probation while those matters are investigated and handled? How can Middlestadt’s future be decided by someone who might not even be fit to serve once she complies with the request for her communication records? Could a vote of this magnitude not be postponed (or her vote not count) because of the above? If the vote is a tie without hers, what is the process in place? I guess being from a business background and as a second-career teacher I am completely confused. In my opinion, hunt should not even be allowed to attend meetings while she is under investigation for her own actions that have recently come to light. A decision made despite overwhelming community support cannot be a good one. I am saddened, disappointed, confused, and concerned for our educational system. Personal agendas have no place in roles of public servitude. The worst part is, the kids will bear the consequences of the poor choice made tonight. They are counting on selfless people to speak for them and place a priority on education for all kids. That did not happen tonight.
To correct Mr. Furry : YOU were NOT elected independently. It was only because of the shameful support of DeSantis and his brainless followers. You have no education and no right to be on this Board. Do the right thing : RESIGN !
Let’s not forget that Dusty Sims has been embroiled in the last two changes of Superintendents in Flagler Schools. The last time leaving his principal position a day before school started. This time while acting in a leadership capacity at the Florida Dept. of Education. Does FDOE actually know of this very unethical behavior ?
While we are talking about unethical, the media should research the long history of allegations of lies, manipulation, and mistreatment of females and minorities by a certain embroiled principal. Not to mention the stories of flagrant retaliation against any employee who dare make a complaint or disagree with this “bully “.
Local government including school board hold public meetings before voting on issues just to ignore the peoples pleads so they can fulfill developers and their lawyers greed! They do their backroom deals all the time were evryone of thrm gain and we the taxpayers loose and pay for it. We will be paying again for high fee consultants to get Cathy’s replacement! What fiscal responsibility these 3 bozos have? Hey someone getting something….
The text messages were a raw and unfiltered glimpse into the minds of those two board members. After reviewing them, I must say, I’m shocked at how low the bar is for the type of person that can attain the title of school board member. The silver lining in all of this is that they now have the distinct pleasure of having to constantly look over their shoulder and second guess every text message, email, word spoken in public, and decision they make in the future. At least until they are voted out (which will be the next election they are in). Lets be honest, they clearly have outraged the public by choosing to put their selfish and political aspirations above what is in the greater good of the community. Say la vie. But what comes around goes around.
Bob Says says
It is my opinion (this is a qualifier for what follows) that Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt’s demise was sealed back in November with the election of the three new school board members. That election was carefully orchestrated by the DeSantis regime and is straight out of the Republican playbook (yes, there is such a book). The three newbies to the board were installed as the opening move on the chessboard in the larger picture of wresting control of the Flagler County School Board for the more moderate yet progressive leaders in the school district community. The next move will almost certainly be the insertion of a new superintendent from the DeSantis camp, followed by the replacement of the two incumbents on the board who will not be running for re-election. Dems, please heed this dismal prognostication and get the ball rolling now to seek out and groom viable candidates for the five board seats.
I agree and think Ms. Middlestadt should fire that A-Hole Peacock and perhaps will sue the county, possibly citing that she may have been fired because of her sexual orientation. And how is she responsible for employee turnover and falling grades when teachers receive no respect from either the students or the crazy nut job parents. The only time they probably hear from the parents is when they complain because little Johnny or Suzie was reprimanded for misbehaving.
c: Nail on head. And I’m gonna tell surgeons how to operate. Or lawyers how to litigate, and the list goes on. Should parents have a say in their children’s formal, public education? A resounding no. Stay in your lane.
JOE D says
I fully agree about not telling surgeons and lawyers how to do their jobs.
But I have to clarify the TEACHER area. I think parents should have a “say,”…..but a final parental decision on CURRICULUM? A resounding “No!”
As the husband and father to two OUTSTANDING certified professional DEDICATED school teachers, I’m PROUD of what our educators have accomplished to step into a classroom (except in Florida’s new “substitute teacher “ credentialing ) to be entrusted with the minds, and safety of our most precious resources ( OUR CHILDREN)!
What is really FRUSTRATING to see, is that individuals in our community feel (without ANY PROFESSIONAL or EXPERIENTIAL training) that THEY know more than professional educators how to EDUCATE!
I’m not talking about parents who truly know what “works” for their child in the classroom ( most teachers would love to hear small tips, or background experiences of their child from parents).
I’m talking about the parents who CATEGORICALLY deny that THEIR child could EVER misbehave, or be having the issues in class, in the way the teacher is describing ( like with several classes of up to 30+ students in each class, the teacher has such FREE TIME to MAKE UP things about your child).
I’m only hoping that FLAGLER County can get out of this cycle of ROTATING Superintendents of the past few years….its neither helping the students, nor the taxpayers!
I am still trying to wrap my head around how a board member can give a review on a book that she did not read? She had someone else read it and give her? The crazier part is that she was allowed to do that!