“Mary, Mary, quite contrary, How does your garden grow? With silver bells, and cockle shells, And former CCSD employees all in a row.”
The Merriam Webster (online) Dictionary defines the word “dupe” as “one that is easily deceived or cheated.”
Synonyms listed include: bamboozle, beguile, bluff, catch, con, deceive, fool, hoax, hoodwink, misguide, misinform, mislead.
No, this is not an English lesson, but rather the presentation of a term that should be used in what has now been called “The Mary Finlayson Story,” concerning the recent termination of Cobb Schools’ director of professional standards and ethics.
Was the CCSD setting up Finlayson as their fall guy, or dupe, as she claimed in a letter to the MDJ? Was Ms. Finlayson setting up assistant principals, guidance counselors, teachers and classified personnel as her dupes? Let us try to distinguish who was “duping” whom.
To quote Ms. Finlayson in her letter: “The superintendent has never spoken to me or any of my staff during his tenure with Cobb and has never even been inside our office to inquire about how we operate or for any other reason.”
Well, of course not. Superintendent Hinojosa’s regime was led to understand that her position was in place when he replaced Fred Sanderson and that she was doing an adequate job, so no problem.
“At no time during my tenure with the district was it my decision whether to terminate or not terminate any principal. Decisions to terminate an employee have always been made by the chief human resources officer and then approved by the board.”
Good choice of words, Ms. Finlayson — but what about all of the others? The assistant principals, guidance counselors, teachers and classified personnel who have faced her wrath? She would walk into meetings with these dedicated professionals and would follow her almost perfect script: “You can either resign or be terminated from the CCSD” or “You can be demoted, resign, or choose an early retirement.” These were said in meetings with either an assistant principal or principal present, as well as the poor victim. There are many former employees that can attest to this. Everything was pre-planned and decided — the poor schnook sitting across from her did not have a chance.
Finlayson was never a fair and unbiased person. So she can’t play the victim now that the tables have turned on her! She was the catalyst in destroying the careers and lives of many and for that, she should suffer the same fate as those whom she made a conscious decision to “go after” even when all roads and evidence pointed to the person’s innocence.
Not too long ago during the 2010-11 school year, over a dozen teachers from Osborne High School were relieved of their duties before the school year even ended. Some refer to that terrible time as the Gaddis/Stowers/Finlayson “witch hunt.” Was Finlayson aware that the majority of those people were the sole providers of food on the family table?
Some of those professionals were so devastated by her and her associates’ actions that they had to move out of state — Philadelphia, Savannah and even Dubai. She could easily blame Dale Gaddis (Area Assistant Superintendent — Area 2) and/or Charlotte Stowers, Gaddis’ choice for principal for that year. Stowers is now in the Central Office as part of the Human Resources Employment team, partly responsible for hiring middle and high school personnel. How ironic is that?
“You look guilty,” was the wording used by Finlayson as she sat across from a veteran guidance counselor. This dedicated educator’s “good ole boy” principal sat in the same room not saying a word. Finlayson just chopped away at the spirit and integrity of that counselor — just as she had with so many other educators.
Well, ha-ha on this one, Ms. Finlayson, because this gifted counselor is meeting with success at a school where the principal values talent over who she is or isn’t friends with!
There are certain kinds of people that would be proud of their accomplishments and the effect they may have. If Ms. Finlayson is that kind, then kudos to her — because she has to live with herself, not the people whose lives she may have ruined.
As reader “Welcome to the Menu” commented on the MDJ website on May 16: “The CCSD has been eating its own for about two decades now. They have classroom teachers for snacks and principals and other administrators as entrees. So, Ms. Finlayson, welcome to the menu at the Cannibal’s Cafe. And please appreciate the irony that you once dined with the same people who are now devouring you.”
Michael Chanin retired in 2011 after 28 years in Cobb schools as a teacher and administrator.