Petition started in an effort to remove New Hanover County Schools superintendent from position

Petition started in an effort to remove New Hanover County Schools superintendent from position
Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 4:58 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 22, 2022 at 10:11 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A petition was started on Thursday night by Kristina Mercier, current New Hanover County Association of Educators president, to remove Dr. Charles Foust, superintendent of New Hanover County Schools, from his position.

The petition states that this was driven by comments Dr. Foust made in recent media reports. The New Hanover County Association of Educators said Foust recently blamed teachers for the shortcomings of low performing schools and said they were using a ”bless your heart” curriculum.

Hundreds of signatures have been collected as of late Friday afternoon.

“To express such views at any time is inappropriate, but to express them after an extremely difficult school year is especially egregious and disturbing,” the petition states.

The incoming NHCAE board released a statement saying: “The newly-elected New Hanover County Association of Educators (NHCAE) Executive Board, which takes office July 1st, finds Dr. Foust’s remarks to be unacceptable, as they ask educators to shoulder too much of the blame. The NHCAE Elected Board and Campaign Team promote educators’ voices through taking collective action together, such as doing interviews with Board of Ed members, surveys, and having members vote on large decisions. The outgoing NHCAE President unilaterally, without calling a member meeting or asking for member input, asked for the Superintendent’s resignation with a petition on social media. Let me be clear, Dr. Foust’s comments were frustrating and demeaning, but the call for his resignation and subsequent petition was not an NHCAE member driven decision.”

The new NHCAE board includes president-elect Cynthia Silva, vice-president-elect Jacqueline Dalessio, and treasurer-elect Christine Miranda Ambriz.

The current NHCAE president, Kristina Mercier commented in response to the above statement saying: “There simply was not time for a meeting, but all members were kept informed of the progress of the statement and petition via email and Facebook. Many members responded and gave input about what was happening and it was all positive. The group of incoming officers do not have the authority to issue a statement and they do not reflect NHCAE at this time.” She went on to say “I hate that it’s adversarial. I just want to be accurate. I, as President, had been contacted Thursday by many members who were upset, hurt, or angry by Foust’s words.  It has been a challenging school [year] to say the least and teachers and others who work directly with students have poured more of themselves into their jobs and students than they ever have before. To hear such words from a leader who is supposed to support all employees and students had a profound negative impact.”

Mercier said that she still stands by the petition.

WECT has reached out to the school district for comment but has not gotten any response yet.

Click here to view the petition.

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