Arundel teachers give Smith a farewell slam


Anne Arundel County teachers gave their boss a bitter farewell present this week, passing a nearly unanimous motion of no confidence in departing Superintendent Eric J. Smith.

Just over three weeks before Smith's scheduled departure on Nov. 23, the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County voted 109-2, with two abstentions, in favor of the motion at its monthly meeting.

Sheila Finlayson, president of the teachers group, said it was the first time the union has ever passed a no-confidence motion against a superintendent.

"In the last three years, we've had many firsts," she said. "It's been three years of ignoring the teachers, disrespecting the teachers, from changing the high school schedule without considering the input of teachers to bringing in new programs that didn't match state assessments."

A spokesman for Anne Arundel County Public Schools said yesterday the system had no comment on the motion. But school board President Konrad M. Wayson suggested that the union's motion may be counterproductive.

"The first question on my mind is: Why? Why do you do this?" he said. "It does not send a positive, constructive message to our parents, community or the kids."

Finlayson said that in September, after a teachers group evaluation of Smith's performance showed that 90 percent of the more than 2,100 respondents said they had no confidence in the superintendent, the union thought "that we wouldn't need to go any further.

"But there were additional actions of the superintendent that have caused teachers to feel still even more pressured, more unappreciated and disrespected."

Finlayson pointed to a task force created by Smith to evaluate teacher workload problems. She said he ignored almost all of the task force's 33 recommendations.

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