When superintendent Mike Sentance told Deputy Superintendent Jeff Langham last Thursday that he was fired educators quickly came to his defense. I got countless emails and phone calls from people very upset. Governor Ivey heard from a large number of people as well.
As of this writing at noon, September 2, the blog post above had received 3,586 “hits” on my blog, reached 10,187 on Facebook and been shared on Facebook 53 times.
I wish I could say that this is a normal response, but it is not. As a rule I get about 1,000 “hits” a day on the blog. So this is a good measure of how intensely people felt about Sentance’s latest move.
And remember, this came just one day after Chief of Staff Dee Fowler told board members of the School Superintendents Association that talk about budget issues were a “myth.” Sentance was present when Fowler made this comment. (As was a tape recorder.)
I have known Jeff Langham for years. I talked to him Friday night. He was caught totally off guard by the news that he was terminated. After all, this came only two months after he received a promotion and a raise.
Langham was superintendent in Elmore County for years. Because of this, he has great empathy for local school systems. Unfortunately under the Sentance regime, this empathy is not pervasive at ALSDE now. But local educators knew Langham would work hard to get them answers to questions others ignored so he was their “go to” person. He would return phone calls and answer emails, something Sentance will never be accused of doing.
While the “leadership” at ALSDE now seem to think that they are above working with local schools, Langham totally understands that the primary role of Montgomery is to help in any way possible to make life easier and less complicated for schools and teachers.
This episode is just one more sordid example of the dysfunction taking place under Mike Sentance.