Some interviewees identified the manner of hiring of Director of Education J. Philip Parappally “as the cause of, and the beginning of, much of the difficulty the school board is currently facing.”
Some of the harshest criticism in the report on the York Region District School Board ordered by Education Minister Mitzie Hunter was reserved for Director J. Philip Parappally.
Some trustees — and most senior staff — said he does not have their confidence. The report notes his fractious relationships at the board, saying a “skilled leader” should have been able to move the board forward after three years at the helm.
Parents who attended Tuesday’s news conference with Hunter stood up and applauded after she announced her directives, but said they hope her next move is to send in a provincial supervisor and get a new director.
The report notes “the administrative side of the school board is struggling . . . suffering from damaged relationships, low morale, mistrust and a lack of strong, principled leadership.”
Senior staff are “operating in a culture of distrust” and felt intimidated, it says, and “this appears to have been cultivated by the director as we heard several accounts of the director announcing to the senior team that he trusts only three of them.”
The report says Parappally was given an unusual 10-year contract without any “meaningful” review of his performance, and that trustees, who are responsible for his hiring and development, have “not fulfilled either duty in a manner that is transparent and in keeping with good governance practices.”
Some of the interviewees identified the way in which Parappally was hired “as the cause of, and the beginning of, much of the difficulty the school board is currently facing.”
Hunter has ordered the board to renegotiate his contract and “job for life” clause, as well as see to it that a full performance appraisal is conducted by an independent human resources professional and take the input of staff and community members as well, by the end of May.
“The board’s actions demonstrate a gross disregard for the prevailing employment practices in the education sector as well as principles of good governance,” the report notes.