At last week's Denver Board of Education meeting, seventeen Denver Public Schools staffers spoke in support of a no-confidence vote targeting Henry World Middle School vice principal Yamile Reina-Ayadi, calling her everything from "disorganized' to "degrading," "intimidating," "nonprofessional" and "a bully."
Their appearance at the June 12 meeting followed a June 3 no-confidence vote supported by 88 percent of the 82 Henry World employees who took part, including teachers, nutrition-services staffers, paraprofessionals, two administrators and a majority of the custodial staff. Many of the staffers who attended the board meeting wore badges that read, "I am the 88%."
Reina-Ayadi did not attend the meeting, and could not be reached for comment. If and when she gets back to us, we'll update this post.
In March, according to a timeline provided by Colorado UniServ director Billy Husher, an announcement was made that Reina-Ayadi wouldn't serve as an an assistant principal for the next school year. But a subsequent statement that principal Dackri Davis had resigned was accompanied by the news that Reina-Ayadi would return for the 2014-2015.
Three teachers who subsequently resigned from the school say they did so because Reina-Ayadi is slated to return. Several teachers told the board that Reina-Ayadi had reduced them to tears or made them reexamine their career choice.
According to Reina-Ayadi's Facebook page, she has been with Denver Public Schools since 1995. During the 2013-2014 school year, she was hired as assistant principal at Henry World, and complaints about her date back to her first month there.
Among the objections voiced by teachers:
• A five-month delay to schedule ELA, a program for students learning English as their second language.
• Not approving special education needs and testing accommodations for students who qualify for them.
• Teacher observations that range from excessive to non-existent.
• Bullying comments.
• Absences from curriculum meetings, lunch duty and other mandatory job expectations.
• Timing teachers on bathroom breaks.
• Treating paraprofessionals "like dogs" and acting "rude, degrading and short."
• Claiming she "would not send her children to Henry due to it being unsafe."
• Employing intimidation tactics such as reprimanding staffers who took concerns to her superiors.
"It has made the feeling at this school change from a sense of community to an oppressive atmosphere," eighth-grade science teacher Rae Haynes wrote in a letter to the board citing Reina-Ayadi's "condescending attitude." It was one of 27 letters from staffers that backed the no-confidence vote.
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Haynes, a 28-year veteran of Henry World, added that "there was a sigh of relief when it was decided that Yamile would no longer be here next year. Unfortunately, that decision was reversed and the feeling of the school worsened."
Asked about the meeting and the no-confidence vote in Reina-Ayadi, a Denver Public Schools representative sent this statement: "We value and appreciate the feedback and voice of our teachers and staff. This is a personnel matter that is being looked into."
More from our Education archive: "DPS: Judge dismisses teachers' suit over law they say makes it easier to get rid of them."