Accountability, Admin, Privatization of Public Education, Student Assignment, Teachable Moment, Teacher Shortage, Vision: 2020

Come Have Some Tea With Me

My friends call it “spilling the tea.” My family used to call it “spilling the beans.” Although I think the expressions came from two completely different origins, they mean roughly the same thing in this situation.

Not sure where the expression came from, but I can picture some well-dressed Southern ladies sitting together at their bridge table, and when one of them starts to tell a juicy story about one of their “friends,” it causes another to knock over her cup of tea, causing a commotion for all.

Welcome to my tea party. I’m about to spill some tea.

Let’s begin in the present, so I can show you what to look for while it’s still happening. Right now, JCPS teachers are in the midst of a silent coup by the current regime. The fewer teachers who even know this election is happening, the greater the chances they can keep their current dear leader in power. 

Up for grabs is the At-large BSK position. The election was held during a 3-day window: Nov. 30 – Dec. 2. What happened during that time could fill an entire season on Netflix, but we’ll sum it up here.

At first, Natalie Rashad was declared the winner. But when the election committee couldn’t explain the irregularities on their infallible software’s tabulation sheet, they went back to their programmer. He magically discovered an error and running tabulations a second time resulted in Kenyata Dean-Bacon becoming the winner. (Maybe they thought it would just be easier to give in than to explain the myriad of errors.)

However, when not a single one of them noticed there had not been a majority winner until Kenyata asked about it, the election committee held a séance, I mean special meeting, and decided that a run-,off would be necessary, putting Kenyata’s narrow victory at risk, and pitting both worthy candidates against one another at a future date.

Third time’s a charm, right?!

But why the mystery? Why wouldn’t the timeline they are organizing just follow the bylaws? Is it really that “unprecedented?” Or is it “going according to plan?”

Does this botched election remind anyone of the recent Bar Exam debacle? When several would-be lawyers had their joy stolen from them because after they had celebrated passing the BAR exam, they later learned they had failed? Many were saying “just give it to them.” After all, these tests are barriers; ways to discriminate. And judging by the makeup of the organization, it’s working just as it’s intended!

Tell JCTA to give BOTH of their BSK winners a seat at the table. Lord knows they’ve earned it! Take a look at the barriers and hurdles they’ve had to face to get to this moment to even be considered for the ONLY position on the BSK this election cycle that is put before the members. Could JCTA make it any less equitable and democratic? I don’t think so!

Kumar Rashad for President!

Come on, JCTA. Especially you, JCTA President Brent McKim. All eyes are on you. Do the right thing. Give up your seat that’s been controlled by mediocre white blood for decades. It’s time for new blood. Be the hero. Endorse Kumar Rashad for president. Allow members to bring back the term limits you removed, so this type of stagnation doesn’t continue to happen. It’s his time. If not now, when?

Let’s all get behind #KumarForJCTAPresident, and follow a path that will allow JCTA to award BOTH of these two fierce advocates for black, brown and poor JCPS students a seat at the BSK table. Let’s quit manipulating results and moving goal posts and get back to supporting our students and teachers. (Sorry for the shade toward McKim, but he’s been given every opportunity and we’ve reached this point where the members have some decisions to make. They deserve to finally see what’s been going on behind the curtain all these years.)

Teachers, get organized! They still plan to move forward with a run-off BSK election. So, unless they are planning to violate their own bylaws, it would happen this Wednesday (Dec. 16). Also, start preparing for the general election starting on January 27, where several key positions are up for grabs.

Accountability, Admin, Teacher Shortage

Toxic and Dysfunctional Climate at J-Town Elementary

Dear JCPS,

I would like to address issues at Jeffersontown Elementary. The culture there is toxic and dysfunctional. The “adults” don’t trust each other or the administration, unless you are in the it club. The principal literally screams at parents who take questions to the board instead of asking her. Well, when you attempt to talk to the principal she NEVER looks up from her phone. She also sits out in the lobby/ main office area on Facebook or texting and ignoring parents who are coming into our building. Within the past 2 weeks we have lost our secretary and bookkeeper. I ask you with the front office completely leaving, the principal basically on her phone all day long and screaming at our parents. Why has the board not ask questions or investigated why the whole front office has had a turn over. Our attendance clerk also left over the summer due to drama.

I’m more concerned that the board is practically ignoring the fact that we’ve lost an attendance Clerk and secretary and a bookkeeper within the past 2 months. I’m also very concerned that their culture there is so toxic that the students notice that teachers don’t speak to each other and the teachers don’t trust each other. I cannot condone or survive in a toxic dysfunctional culture which is what J-Town Elementary has now become. Which is very sad considering what an amazing reputation it had in the past. We are losing students it’s due to the lack of professionalism of the main leadership in the building. I honestly believe that Dr. Hooper or any one from Central office would be appalled if they could see what the true Jtown has become not the dog and pony show they put on when the visits are scheduled. Dr.Hooper because it was his school.

I just want change. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

Concerned J-Town Elementary Stakeholder

The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a concern, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.

NOTE: While the author’s identity is protected here, they are not anonymous to Dear JCPS. Any board member wishing to address the concerns shared here can contact our administrators to make a connection.

Admin, Privatization of Public Education

Fight for Us and We’ll Fight For You!

Dear JCPS Board,

Please do not make any deals with Wayne Lewis. The people of Kentucky did not elect him for anything. It would be the worse thing that can happen if JCPS is turned over to the state. Fight it and let it go to court. It is wrong in every sense of the word what they are trying to do. Bevin is trying to destroy education in Kentucky for public schools and you must not let that happen. Fight for the people. Fight for the kids of Jefferson County. You fight now and the voters will fight in November.

Thank you,
Sherry Stewart

Accountability, Admin, Vision: 2020

Two quick points about the Manual investigation

Dear JCPS,

– Sadly, today I found out that the investigator cannot grant anonymity to current parents who want to speak out. All names will be in the official record for Mayes to see. So, with that requirement I can’t imagine any current parents willing to share their stories, and that is a real shame. With the fear that Mayes could remain in the position, at this point I don’t feel comfortable with my name being available to him and his ability to retaliate against my child and me. The abuse continues, but no one feels safe to tell their story. Also, I have a younger child who really wants to attend YPAS, so there is no way he would get in if Mayes ever found out that I complained about him.

– I was glad to see a new post on today, especially from a member of the community who read the C-J article. I feel like that is perhaps now the only way for the district to feel pressured to let him go, if the community at large causes an uproar (and/or if more alums continue to come forward with more stories). It is an absolute shame that we current parents can’t safely share our stories and must rely on others outside of the school to do that work for us. If you feel comfortable in doing so, please let Mr. Albrecht know that a current parent is very thankful for his willingness to speak out by name, because those of us inside the walls cannot for fear of retaliation. If he knows of other upset community members, I hope they are willing to speak out as well. Perhaps the district will do something about the situation if the community is outraged by a principal who has treated former students this badly and should not keep his job.

I do plan to leave an anonymous message with the Superintendent’s office that I am very upset that the investigation will not allow confidentiality to current parents. I will say again that this is a way for them to as much ensure that no new allegations will come to the forefront and they can disregard what alums have to say. What a sad state of affairs for JCPS and the kids in the system. I can’t wait until all of my kids are older and graduated to be out from under it. The system is not supportive of students.


Concerned Parent


The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a concern regarding events taking place at Manual or another JCPS school, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.

Accountability, Admin, Vision: 2020

Gerald Mayes troubling attitude toward minorities

Dear JCPS,

I am deeply troubled by Sunday’s article concerning Principal Mayes at Manual HS and his interactions with minority students. His comments reported by these former students because of fear of retaliation should be taken very seriously by the board and executives of JCPS. Anyone who makes these comments does not belong in a position of authority in an educational setting. I have a granddaughter who hopes to attend Manual and this is troubling for her future.

Ken Albrecht


The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a concern regarding events taking place at Manual or another JCPS school, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.

Accountability, Admin, Vision: 2020

I Feel Like This Was a Set Up

The following open letter was sent to Dear JCPS by a member of the community who does not have students at Manual. Some of the statements in this letter are inaccurate, such as calling the recording “illegal.” In the spirit of transparency, we wanted to share this letter with our followers so that all sides can feel they are being heard. Please feel free to add your comments below or submit your own open letter.


Dear Ms. Porter,

I want to comment on Jerry Mayes illegal taped meeting with some of his students. Since when do the students go to someone the don’t trust to talk about a concern? I do not have any children in school, but feel like this was a set up. Jerry Mayes is been called the Man behind the Miracle. This school is unique and he is the perfect fit. He has (2) adopted black daughters, so being a bigot is just not true. This is not at all about him being a racist. It’s about kids trying to get power of the best PUBLIC SCHOOL in the state. I beg you to NOT let that happen.

Thank you for listening to my opinion.

Vicki Ziegler


The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a concern regarding events taking place at Manual or another JCPS school, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.

Accountability, Admin, Vision: 2020

Implicated Manual Teacher Issues Brief Statement

The following statement, which was released to Manual’s PTSA Facebook group, is being published on Dear JCPS with permission from the author.

Yesterday I learned that two local news stations ran stories suggesting that, as the sponsor of the BSU, I may have conspired with another teacher at Manual to entrap the principal into making inappropriate racial remarks to students.

This is not true. I did not tell or suggest that any student record the principal, nor did any student inform me of a plan to do so. Other students and parents involved in the situation have confirmed this.

Although I would like to give a more detailed account of this experience and others involving the principal, several people have advised me to reserve the information for the ongoing JCPS investigation into the allegations against him. I remain focused on the larger question of resolving this conflict at Manual High School in a way that protects and honors our students, their safety, and their concerns.

Jamie Miller
Manual Teacher/BSU Sponsor

The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a similar concern regarding events taking place at Manual or another JCPS school, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.

Accountability, Admin, Vision: 2020

Blue Ribbon Principal at Norton Elementary

Dear JCPS,

I am writing in regards to a situation which occurred over the summer and still isn’t resolved at Norton Elementary School. I am sure we all remember the hasty firing of Principal Ken Stites this past May. The district blamed it on him living out of district and sending his kids to JCPS schools, when in fact, they knew about it all along. Next, they tried to accuse the rash decision on complaints made by Renae Mullins-May, former Goal Clarity Coach at Norton Elementary; however, when the truth is to be told, both reasons have been dismissed and the district has since realized they don’t have a leg to stand on.

The changing of admiration, Donna Hargens leaving and Marty Pollio taking over has left the Norton Community in limbo when selecting a new principal. Here is my question to the district, Marty Polio, and anyone else who can answer it…. If after further investigations Mr. Stites was found to have been fired under wrongful information, then why isn’t he back at his school as principal? Yes, he has a job in the district, a desk job in transportation, where a very good leader is sitting not doing what he was born to do. Why? Can anyone answer this for me?

As a parent and Stakeholder in JCPS and Norton Elementary, I just don’t understand why he is good enough to have a job in JCPS but not good enough to go back to his school. Mr. Stites has spent 12 years as Principal at Norton Elementary, long days and nights at the school working on projects, helping teachings, completing reports or paperwork, or sitting in meetings to learn how to make his school even more success. He has led his teachers and staff members to 3 consecutive years as a School of Distinction and recently received a National Blue Ribbon Award from the United States Department of Education. So why wouldn’t the district want him back at Norton to continue the success??? Maybe it’s because they don’t want to admit they were wrong when they fired him. It was blasted on every news channel when he was fired and nothing when they hired him back. JCPS hasn’t even acknowledge the award for Norton, the Students, and Staff. They had a small blur on the website for 3 days but the Staff member from Lincoln who was in a commercial as a pirate was up for several weeks. How is any of this what is best for our district, schools, staff members, and students?

Do what is right, not what you need for your ego!

Concerned Parent


The views expressed here are those of the author and were submitted to Dear JCPS using our open letter form. If you have a concern you would like to share openly with the JCPS School Board, administration and community, you are encouraged to submit a letter.

Accountability, Admin, Vision: 2020

Manual Graduate: Mayes’ Leadership Was “Reign of Bigotry”

The following letter was sent to Dear JCPS by a former Manual student. We are publishing it with permission from the author, amid what appears to be emerging as a systemic and pervasive pattern of discrimination that has been allowed to fester in a number of our schools under the previous administration. By sharing this student’s testimony with our followers, our hope is that this type of behavior can be eliminated from our schools once and for all, so no other students or staff will be subjected to similar treatment. Dear JCPS encourages JCPS to take swift action and send a clear message that discrimination, in any form, will not be tolerated.


Dear JCPS,

As someone who faced Mayes’ discrimination first hand, I’m glad that there is finally attention being paid to what’s been happening at Manual since he started there.

During my sophomore year at Manual, I was called down to his office concern a story that I was quoted in about a trans student. During this conversation, he attempt to assert that the reason he didn’t want this story published in the yearbook was because he didn’t want the student to face bullying from peers.

It was at this point in the conversation he looked to me, the only black student in the room, and stated that he was made fun of for black friends while in high school. Followed by “If wigger was a word when I was growing up, I would have been a wigger.”

He, to my face, used a word that combines a racial slur with white. As a young student at the school interacting with the new principal for the first time I was scared to react. I went back to classes thoroughly disturbed by what had transpired and feeling trapped.

Throughout the rest of time at Manual, he continue to suppress students speaking out. He continued his reign of bigotry across the Manual population. He tried to keep the BSU from forming and later during my time at Manual tried to change a story that chronicled the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. His bigotry didn’t stop with racism, but extended to the LGBTQ+ and disabled populations of the school. He has went unchecked for five years now. I hope this marks a change in that. It’s time that he is held accountable for the amount of damage he has caused.

Breya Jones
2016 duPont Manual Graduate

The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has had a similar experience with leadership in a JCPS school, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.