Who’s duping whom at ‘The Cannibal’s Cafe?’
by Michael Chanin
May 21, 2013 10:28 AM | 2691 views | 11 11 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print

“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.

Comments
(11)
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Uh duh
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May 22, 2013
Rumor has it that the principal at Osborne, Mr. Morreale has transformed the climate and culture at Osborne in miraculous time. Wonder if that can't "have anything to do at least in part with the "new" post let go from HR teachers that he did not have to contend with. Seems like he was given an amazing staff of dedicated staff to follow his vision and lead. Somehow I doubt he's complaining about those that were gone before he took over. Keep up the great work and high expectations Mr. Morreale.
allaboutthechildren
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May 22, 2013
This article is awesome! I was able to see just how she worked her "magic". It should also be noted how some people were able to break the law in some yet walk away into counties such as Fulton at schools such as WLHS without a problem. Not only did she attempt to destroy the lives of other but she worked with others such Dr. G Rivera to destroy good people.
PolicticsStink
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May 22, 2013
What I'd like to know is, who is the attorney that will be handling the class action lawsuit?

It NEEDS to happen.

Thank you, Mr. Chanin, for bringing so many things to light in one forum.

They've dumped on LOTS of employees. LOTS.

CRONIES and FOOLS work that *central office*.
ecobber
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May 22, 2013
PLEASE PUBLISH THE LAWYER'S NAME I know 3 teachers who will hire them, and they each know others! This whole establishment needs to be held accountable for ruining good people's lives. The absolute depravity of their actions needs to be exposed, and Mary Finlayson needs to be held accountable, along with anyone else that created this hostile workplace. When you read all the comments here, and see the lives she has ruined, legal action must be taken. It is the duty of those she destroyed to come forward and pursue justice.
Ex-Cardinal
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May 21, 2013
Thank you Mr. Chanin for this candid view of what is happening in CCSD. Push back for this type of treacherous behavior should have happened a long time ago, but I suppose the fate of those, like myself, who did and do push back have silenced the others into a corner of fear. Once we lost our jobs over some trumped up BS, it solidified the perceived power of malfeasance; moreover, these depraved powers that be always have the Mary Finlaysons in the world leading the charge to prove their loyalties to these unjust cases.

How can these people sleep at night? How can they create such gross fabrications of the truth about people just because they either do not like them or they cannot bully them around to get them to their dirty work? Who are the rock throwers behind the scenes who hurl boulders at people then hide their hands?

Mary Finlayson is not the only one in the CCSD who must go. The Charlotte Stowers web of cronies must also be exposed. Beware Gail Johnson you may be next on the chopping block, for I am sure those puppet masters you let pull your strings are getting nervous and they need to make some strategic moves in order to cover their infractions by creating another public distraction from the real issues going on behind the scenes. Do not forget to pull the wool over the days at Osborne High School when you allowed standardized test scores to be skewed. If I were you, I would dust off that old resume. Watch out Mr. Gaddis because your dirty secrets may also be exposed too especially now there is a chink in the CCSD's armor.

Mr. Chanin, there have never been more truer words spoken within this article. The firing, or rather "forced termination" of Finlayson is only the beginning of her headache. The wheels of justice may turn slowly, but hear this Mary Finlayson and all you other ethically and morally corrupt people: THE WHEELS ARE TURNING! Soon the people will decide who is right and who ARE the liars.

Finally, to the hard working dedicated CCSD teachers, principals, and staff at the schools we once worked together in as a "family", but buried your heads in the sand and looked the other way when you knew, we, your colleagues were maligned with such great force of professional brutalities, I will leave you with the words of the illustrious Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
anonymous
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May 21, 2013
Nice rant. Probably a little truth on both sides, but I trust the non-educator more.
Bob Johnson
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May 22, 2013
Obviously uninformed. If you knew half of the facts you would change your tune.
Relieved
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May 22, 2013
Dear anonymous,

Could you please be more specific? Who is the non-educator that you wrote about.

Thank you
CC Observer
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May 21, 2013
Mary will be missed by a few vindictive principals who used her espertise to "legally" get rid of employees in their schools. There was nothing fair or impartial in Findlayson's so-called investigations, and she never let the truth or an accused person's side of the story (if they were even allowed to defend themselves)get in the way of her mission. Her disrespect and meanspirited behavior while she conducted her own tribunals is dispicable. If her superiors in HR were aware of her tactics, and allowed it anyway, then shame on them!! They all need to go, too!!
anonymous
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May 22, 2013
There are still the lawsuits. I'm fairly certain this is not over for Ms. Finlayson and others who took their power a little too seriously.
CC Parent
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May 22, 2013
I seem to remember a somewhat major shakeup at the middle school that my nephew attended a few years back. Some principal, Briscoe or some name like that, thought that he could tattle on teachers to the main office and have them removed from his school. One was an English teacher with a dynamic personality. Anyway, he would get Finlayson to come out to his school several times, and before you knew it, poof, she was gone. a darn shame. I understand that the principal is not well liked, but he is still there. Maybe this guy should be investigated and be sent on his way. Our sons went to Pope High School, and I remember he was some kind of assistant administrator. The teachers did not like him there either - a real morale buster upper. They were glad to see him gone!
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