In the latest development to the ongoing feud at the Canadian International School (CDNIS), parents attended a special meeting organised by the Canadian International School Parents Association (CISPA). The meeting addressed recent controversies that saw the beloved heads of the school’s primary section suspended and fired respectively.
Sources said many who voiced their opinion, requested that Dr Gregg Maloberti step down from his position as Head of School. An offsite meeting between teachers and parents is scheduled for next Tuesday.
According to attendees who spoke to Harbour Times, all requesting anonymity, around 150 concerned parents made the time to attend the meeting at the Leo Lee Arts Centre Auditorium. Many parents were “stunned” and left “angry” when finding out Lower School Principal, Dylan Hughes, and Vice Principal, Kathy Nutting, were suspended and fired respectively. “We feel there has been an injustice, and we have no answers,” one parent said, “There has been a complete shutdown of communication.”
Sources have told Harbour Times that the meeting was “constructive”, and that the atmosphere was positive. According to a parent, since many parents were confused with what was happening, credible sources were in attendance at the meeting to answer questions.
“There has been a complete shutdown of communication.”
According to the source, many parents felt that Maloberti had to step down, and there was a lot of talk about what could be done to remove him. A parent explained, “My gut feeling was that the majority of that room wanted Gregg out. If there was a silent majority supporting Gregg they certainly did not voice out.” It’s still unclear whether these views are the minority, but the parent hoped thousands would show up at the next meeting and clarify that.
A lot of parents also felt there was a need to educate themselves about the school’s governance structure and the recent controversies surrounding the school’s reform efforts.
In a letter to parents dated Tuesday, the Head of School, Dr Gregg Maloberti, issued a letter revealing that Lower School head Dylan Hughes was on ‘paid leave’, and that it was a ‘personnel matter’. Hughes reportedly did not want to be on this forced leave. The SCMP reports today many believed it was to keep him out of the way of the accreditation team.
Vice Principal Kathy Nutting then issued a letter indicating widespread support from teachers for Mr Hughes and it has been confirmed she was fired soon after. Many are concerned this is the first of a wave of firings or an exodus of teachers. In her letter, Hughes also expressed her suspicion that Hughes “is not returning”.
many parents felt that Maloberti had to step down
The two were reportedly extremely appreciated by parents and students alike. One attendant of the CISPA meeting said, “Kathy and Dylan were the most loyal and dedicated professionals I knew.” Another commented, “They were the finest professionals, and I have never heard anyone complain about them being unprofessional as a person, principal, or educator. They deserve to leave, or come back, with respect.”
The surprise has apparently shaken teachers and parents both. A source said, “Teachers are afraid and sad; some are angry. The same seems to hold true for the parents; the parents were mostly outraged by this most recent decision.”
The school was contacted by Harbour Times and chose to reserve comment for privacy reasons.
After news spread that the Lower School Principals would be dismissed, a group of parents gathered at the school to show support for the teachers on Wednesday morning.
A source familiar with the situation explained, “The purpose was to show support for the teachers by being in the lobby at 6:30am when they begin to arrive. Dr. Maloberti and founding board member Richard Wong have instilled a culture of fear going back months. The surprise suspension of Dylan Hughes and the firing of Kathy Nutting was very traumatic for the teachers.” A parent who attended the meeting observed that 25 parents arrived at 6:30am, but the group soon grew in numbers.
The surprise suspension has also taken a toll on the students, a source told Harbour Times, “Students arrived this (Wednesday) morning and were understandably upset to learn their beloved principal and vice principal were fired. There was no easy way to explain to them, and Maloberti offered nothing.”
“You cannot govern with fear.”
Reportedly inspired by the Lennon Wall during the Occupy Movement, students, parents and faculty members honored their beloved lower school principal and assistant principal by posting messages on colourful post-it notes around their photos in the lobby.
According to a parent, Lower School students have also been showing support to each other, their teachers, and the dismissed principals by e-mailing messages of encouragement.
When asked what they hoped would happen next, a parent said, “We want a transparent school run with integrity that applies IB principles and consults different views.”
Another simply said, “You cannot govern with fear.”