Dear Trustees and Dr. Ryan,
This will be brief because I do not have great faith in the prospect of some of you being able to focus your attention for longer than a few paragraphs.
First, to Jorge, Becky, and Coley, I want to say a heartfelt “thank you”. You have fought a long, difficult, and thankless battle against corrupt interests that are bitter, wicked, and stupid. I am certain this is not what you signed up for when you answered the call to public service. You are blameless in this matter and the marginalized students and staff you have so bravely shielded and stood up for will be forever in your debt. No one would think less of you should you decide to throw in the towel for a fight that seems impossible to win. Because you are individuals of compassion and character, I know that you won’t. Jorge, please tell your son I say “Hi” and that I am immensely proud of him. The three of you may stop reading now as I wish you a pleasant day. Godspeed and good luck.
To the rest of the board, I feel an introduction may be in order. My name is Clint Von Gundy nee Bland. I was educated in GCISD from first grade through twelfth. I was identified as G/T in first grade and was eventually named a National Merit Scholar at Colleyville-Heritage. My mother taught in GCISD for the majority of her thirty-eight years in education and still lives and votes in the district. When she retired, she was proud of the time she spent at Bear Creek, Grapevine Elementary, and Colleyville Middle. No more–but we’ll get to that in a moment. My sister and brother-in-law are current residents of and voters in the district. My niece and nephew both attend elementary school in GCISD. When my sister and brother-in-law bought their house, it was primarily because they knew GCISD would provide an excellent education for their kids. No more—but, again, we’ll get to that in a moment.
My own investment in GCISD did not end when I graduated. I returned as a teacher at Heritage Middle, charged with instructing G/T English classes and AVID. I also designed the district’s Creative Writing course. Eventually I was named the first Humanities teacher at ASPIRE Academy’s middle school campus at Cross Timbers. All told, I spent five years in GCISD and still count my time at ASPIRE as my favorite job. (The vanguard class recently graduated and I doubt they will willingly divulge their alma mater ISD given the disrepair it has been forced into by the outside influence of a band of wealthy West Texas goblin people.) I worked for a few years in Richardson at central office coordinating secondary gifted services and then did a stint at Region 11 as their gifted and talented/advanced academics consultant. I now serve as the director of professional learning for a private educational consulting firm that holds equity in advanced academics as its North Star. I know the concept of equity may cause your skin to tingle uncomfortably, but bear with me…
To put it as succinctly as possible, I know of what I speak. So let me speak clearly. I apologize in advance if I use too many big words or make too many references you don’t understand given your comically dim comprehension of literature and history.
My mom once asked me if I would ever consider returning to GCISD. I had to laugh at that one. You see, I’m an out and proud Gay man. I would never risk my excellent professional reputation or the wonderful life I have built with my fiance in order to return to a workplace where at any moment I could be accused of being a “groomer” by a member of the board’s new out and proud majority of bigots and buffoons, where I could be put on a secret undesirables list by a dumber version of the Stasi. I would, frankly, rather sit on a knife. I receive messages almost daily from old friends on staff at GCISD looking to get out, to go literally anywhere else. They used to love the district; now they live in constant terror of the whims of a group of four subliterate Philistine know-nothings who debase themselves at the alter of dark money and only read (or had read to them, more likely) the parts of the Bible where God piles up the doom and gore.
Casey, Tammy, Shannon, and Kathy, is the chip on your shoulder heavy? Should I buy you all a big wooden cross for Christmas so you can nail yourselves to it? You have each grasped far above the level of your own competence. To paraphrase the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, of whom the four of you are no doubt fans (even as the complexity of his writing doth passeth your own limited understanding): HIDE YOUR HEAD IN A BAG!
You have brought shame to a once great institution, rendered it a national laughingstock. I would tell you to repent now, but one supposes that will do little good. So I simply ask that you resign. Retire to your McMansions and let the children of GCISD and the adults who actually care about them get on with the good work of building a more peaceful, prosperous, sustainable, just, and humane world. Don’t force what’s at the bottom of your own rotten hearts onto a public that simply wants to live and let live, to see their children and community thrive. Don’t let the individual at last night’s board meeting who made threats of sexual assault against his enemies be your bannerman, your sadistic weirdo mascot. Don’t rut in the slop of your own perfidy, malice, and cowardice so joyfully.
Plato teaches us that all democracies are inherently and inevitably at risk of collapse. Once ignorance and hatred seize the levers of power, it is only a matter of time before societies sign their own death warrants, self-cannibalize, and vote (and botox) themselves into oblivion. Casey, Tammy, Shannon, and Kathy, I fear the four of you have gleefully taken up the mantle of the executioner. You seem all too rabid to be first among equals in the ranks of the gravedancers. You have wrapped tragedy in travesty and brought it down on the heads of your most vulnerable constituents.
There is that old pop psychology saying: hurt people hurt people. I hope whatever invisible and imagined wounds the four of you are nursing at the public’s expense heal soon and that you learn to love quiet contemplation, hermitage, and obscurity.
Casey, Tammy, Shannon, and Kathy, you may stop reading now–if you got this far; I understand you have troubles with email.
Finally, to Dr. Ryan: I met you personally for the first time on what was my very first day of teaching in GCISD. We were introduced by Pete Valamides, possibly the kindest human being on the planet. I am sorry that your twilight years in the profession must be so consumed by such venality and cruelty. You must have seen it coming though, must have known that the “Good Ole Boy” network would never really work to retain or fight for some semblance of the “good” when faced with its own extinction. I looked up to you, sir, and in many ways I still do, but you must work so much harder to confront and expel the poison that has taken hold in GCISD.
Sir, I have asked the board majority to hide their head in a bag. Please don’t hide your head in the sand.
Have a blessed day.