South Fork High School Teacher Resigns and Sends Letter to the Editor

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SFHSAn open letter from James Seymour, former Media Productions teacher at South Fork High School to the community:

It is with a heavy heart that I formally submit my letter of resignation to Southern Humboldt Unified School District. Although my time was brief, I feel many of the relationships with students, parents, and colleagues will last well beyond my tenure in the district. The community embraced me as one of their own and gave me the opportunity to help these wonderful young people grow as students and citizens. Students and parents have supported me in times of triumph and times of failure. I pride myself on being honest and open with the students I work with and you all have shown me a tremendous amount of support, even after the rare occasion when I insert my foot in my mouth.

The Southern Humboldt community raises creative, independent, and brilliant future leaders. I am blessed to have worked with some of the brightest students in the county and have no doubt they will earn high honors at their respective Universities. I am amazed by the resilience and drive evident within this community of learners, considering the high turnover rate of teachers and administrators at the secondary level. The recent graduating class adapted to the style and philosophy of three different principals from 2014-2017. Reluctantly, they have said goodbye to some of their favorite teachers. The district would be smart to conduct exit interviews with their employees to discover the reasons for their departure and attempt to rectify major areas of concern.

For myself, the decision to leave was not taken lightly. My intention was to remain in the district for years to come, despite the lengthy commute each day. Ultimately, my vocal opposition to educational decisions made by some individuals has led me to look for new opportunities. I move on knowing that every decision I made while in SoHum was done with one question in mind: is this in the best interest of the students. After 12 years of experience in education, I still have much to learn. The only way to improve as a professional is to identify weaknesses and turn them into strengths. I hope the adults that come into contact with your children do the same.

Kids, I will miss you all. I look forward to running into you soon and am excited to see what your future holds. I’m sure you will hear me coming, which will provide enough time for you to hide or prepare for the ultimate prank on an unsuspecting Mr. Seymour. I have enjoyed sharing my classroom, advice, humor, tears, lunch and even my home and family with many of you. Thank you for the beautiful memories and for being part of my life over the past few years. I love and thank you all.

With Warm Regards,

James Seymour



  • Good luck in whatever you do. Good teachers that can connect and long ladting impressions on our children are getting hard to come by. You seem to be one of those i am certain it will take some time to replace you

    • Colleen has no interest in doing what’s best for the students of sfhs. She has no interest in trying to make the school better. No wonder the school is losing students and they might lose another..

  • Liberal hypocrisy

    You can blame Colleen O’Sullivan , a teacher that is not even accredited, her father is also the School Board president, she is a whiner and has a very narrow Progressive view point and opposes any kind of opinion other than her own. She is the reason they let go the superintendent another person who had the kids in the school in their best interest

    • Not true at all. Colleen is a great resource for our students and staff as well. She has helped many students become prepared for college, as well as receive scholarships they would not have been able to obtain without her assistance. She is a kind and compassionate individual who loves the students, and has their best interest at heart. She had nothing to do with the resignation of the superintendent or any of the staff at SHUSD. I know for a fact she keeps her professional life separate from her personal life. (Things that happen at school are kept at school). I belive a community member who got way into the schools business is responsible for much of the friction last year within our district. Please dont post inaccurate information without gegetting he facts first.

    • I have known Colleen & her family a LONG time( since she was in grade school) She is Among one of the most caring concerned employees of SHUSD.

    • The super intendant had no care about the students interest . I am glad she’s gone

    • How sad that people make things up to push a political agenda. And then accuse
      others of their own blatant hypocrisy.

  • “my vocal opposition to educational decisions made by some individuals”

    What is the beef, are they requiring that creationism be taught, new math, ebonics?

  • salmon crk local

    I have heard the same thing about Colleen. For being a “counselor” I know of several students who will not talk to her and instead would go to Donna B or Seymour. IMO Colleen is the one who needs to go. My daughters favorite teacher was Seymour. We read his resignation letter together and she couldn’t get through it without crying. He will be deeply missed by many students and parents. We are so sad to hear of him leaving. I know where ever he ends up he will be greatly loved. Good luck to you, Seymour, in all your adventures!

  • It’s a shame to lose a good teacher. Just a shame

  • In the 60s, I had some of the best teachers at SFHS that I have ever had. There were a couple of them that needed to go but the great majority were dedicated and talented.

  • Sound a lot like Klamath Trinity school district. They have staff dropping like flies. Cathy D, Terry B, Jade T, Tayshu B to name a few and now they promoted a person with a cosmetology degree to be the asst. Superintendent! So she is over the Administrators and she doesn’t even have an AA.

  • What a terrible state of affairs when a dedicated well-liked teacher such as this resigns because of his “vocal opposition to educational decisions made by some individuals.” Was problem solving happening? mediation? It seems like the school board should have done everything they could to solve these problems. Or maybe they were the problem? To lose such a good teacher so close to the beginning of the school year is a disaster.

    • Yes the school board is the problem, there are trouble makers on the board, notice the word Makers which means two or more. The board has had issues with hiring unqualified individuals through out the district as well as letting good people go. It’s almost the good old boy club and there is no room for that when it comes to educating our children.

      • The district hungrily accepted the grants that come with strings attached to “no child left behind”, aka common core. These grants signed their liberty away. All staff must sign gag orders and stick to the mandated curriculum or leave their positions. The heroes leave their positions and invite the public to seek wisdom through knowledge. Knowledge is power.

        • This is the first possible glimpse into the problem. All this chatter but no clear information being offered. Our students and families and community deserve some factual information about this.
          If there are faculty members without qualifying credentials this must be addressed directly. What is going on?
          Our kids deserve an education!

        • Common core needs to go. Our son also very sad that Seymore is resigning.

  • Their are some people at SHSD that have way to much power.and that power has gone to their head. kinda of a dictatorship .

    • It *is* a dictatorship, nothing “kind of” about it.
      “The quest for equality means that students are treated unfairly, not receiving the attention they need, and being forced to conform rather than pursue their own path.”

      The same exact “equality” is happening across the globe. It’s a global scheme.
      It doesn’t stop at education. In America, the land of the prosperous, over 95% of the impoverished poor have refrigerators, phones, cars, shoes, cooking stoves, heat in the winter, ac in the summer, lights, roofs, beds, healthcare, education, … They are considered “rich” to those in foreign countries who do without all of the above. They are not equal. They can never be equal until ALL have absolutely nothing.

  • Colleen is not qualified to do the job she was hired for. It is unfortunate that the school board put her in a position to fail. This school district needs leadership with vision and accountability. It’s time for the school board to be rid of old cronyism. Rise up sohum residents, it’s time for you to take a leadership role.

  • Since we are typing

    From a previous personal work experience perspective with the female above named in comments I would say this person lacks careful, critical thinking skills as well as the ability to understand the population. Having some academic experience in a subject does not carry enough weight to outweigh the maturity needed to apply those concepts to a population. Implementing a theory is much different than responding to the current conditions. Dictating is neither empathetic nor effective. Additionally, working in a for profit or non-profit atmosphere are both and independently completely different than working in a public school environment, which is something that this person needs improvement on understanding. The fact that this person relies on her parental relationship still seems outdated to me, even though most of sohum is based on that. I’m also saddened that the teacher felt it s necessary to air the reasons for resigning; so there must be some benefit in doing so – I would venture to say a public benefit.

  • Out in the community, non credentialed people may look good socially. In the inner non-transparent workings of a school (yes boards don’t run schools) be wary of small town Nepotism. Highly qualified staff like Mr Seymour and others are being traded for friends and family members with zero experience. There is a reason why credential programs are in place. It takes years for credentialed teachers and credentialed admins to get where they are and they’re being thrown under the bus for small town egos and not for the students in our community. It’s free and public to look credentials up online for admins, counselors, and teachers. I did for Seymour and it’s sad to loose him.

  • Disheartened 8th grade mom

    Mr Seymour was one of the only (if not the only) decent teachers at that school. As a parent to an incoming 8th grader, homeschool is looking better and better each day. I am extremely disappointed that the school board would let such an amazing teacher leave. The decision to allow Mr. Seymour leave goes to show that the school board does not have the best interests of the students in mind.

    • Disheartened 8th grade mom, My wife and I both went to local elementary schools and South Fork High School. We now have three children and when it came time for our oldest to go to school there was no decision, we homeschool.. it’s not just here locally, across the entire nation our school system has turned into a joke!

    • Agreed. And we also have an 8th grader who isn’t very excited to go back to school now. Seymore made the environment tolerable. Some serious problems last year with teachers dropping the ball. Seymore is already greatly missed.

  • The whole school board system is a joke.

  • Trillium Hummingbird

    SoHum, you got those “come and go blues”…

    It is amazing that so many people actually move to the area with every intention of sticking around to do an important job that this community NEEDS them to do, but then, when faced with the idiotic provincial attitudes and prejudices of the born and bred locals, and when the new persons encounter the utterly crazy and random “culture” existing in this area, they run screaming for the border to elsewhere.

    ANYTHING operated by a board, in SoHum, is going to be totally over-the-top stupid!

    Happened to me, at Jerold Phelps Hospital, as well as Dr Matuskiwicz and literally hundreds of others who attempted to help the poorly operated and backwards “hospital” in Goobsterdam.

    Sorry James, those jobs should have a warning attached to the offer, stating:

    “You can work here, but your job will be temporary.”

    Lots of other schools and hospitals, lots of opportunities. Don’t take it personally!

  • There are three board seats coming up for election next November. If anyone is interested in improving the system get your paperwork from the county by this coming July. The board is now a five seat panel. It used to be seven, so there is plenty of opportunity for some new blood. There are three local women considering it and I think the more candidates the stronger the democracy. Let’s get some good old competition for these seats, so the community can vote for the best people for the job!

    • There were SUPPOSED to be three board seats up for election in November 2017, however, at the January 12, 2017 Board Meeting, the Board approved shifting elections by one year, to comply with a state law requiring elections to coincide with statewide elections in order to save costs and increase voter turnout.
      Overall, I think that’s a good idea, but the superintendent stuck that in the agenda, and the Board approved it, without any discussion whatsoever, right after I started making noise about running for the Board in November 2017. If you read the state directive, they didn’t have to shift the elections until 2020, and they certainly should have DISCUSSED it. But they didn’t.
      The good thing about this is that, if enough citizens of Southern Humboldt get involved, there is ample time to create a well thought out platform to improve the district, and then source, train and support valid, educated (and education minded) candidates, in order to really change the board in November 2018.

      • Taurus Ballzhoff

        Interesting comment. A certain SoHum Hospital District should stop wasting money on unnecessary and unpopular ballot issues… Also, feel lucky that the existing board members at the School District don’t just appoint their own board members, as they are inclined to do at SHCHD.

        The corruption existing in SoHum “Government Agencies” is pretty well developed, and stewed in a base of folks who are entrenched in the past, nepotistic “administrators for life” that no one can get rid of, and an impossible contingency of “local characters”, unwilling to evolve and completely frightened of change.

        Until the public demands improved performance from public agencies and entities, and participates fully in the operation of these agencies, I doubt that much improvement will ever occur.

        • Actually, any registered citizen can run for any of these boards, and then it is by public vote that they are instated. The reason we get board members that continue to stay on are for two reasons; they are good people who want to help their community or no one else runs for the position and so they continue to be members.
          You’re right it is up to the public to keep public agency and entities improving and honest, but that doesn’t happen here. The public is invited and encouraged to attend both the SHCHD and SHUSD board meeting. Times and place are listed on their web sites.
          Not sure what you are referring to when saying, “administrators for life” , because both districts have gone through a number of administers the last few years looking for the right one we could have for a very long time. Having an administrator for a long period is a goal. Unless you were to speaking of “Board members”, which are not “administrators.”
          Just curious, how much time have you spent on boards or in board meetings?

          • Taurus Ballzhoff

            Excuse me, but I believe that Barbara Truitt was replaced by appoinment, and that Allison Rivas was also appointed. In fact I don’t remember an election including board members for SHCHD in some time, like since 2013.

            I don’t have time to attend the board meetings, since I work for a living in functional healthcare facilities, and since the board meetings I have been to showed no development or evolution over time.

            Also, your excuses don’t fly, since people do apply to be board members, although it appears to me that the current board will not consider appointing persons based on qualifications. There has not been one board member with any kind of medical or healthcare background since 2012. Being popular or expressly local is no kind of qualification… And floating special elections but failing to hold elections for board members smacks of corruption, from my point of view.

            By administrators for life, I am referring of course to Mr Scown, whom I regard as one of the most deconstructive and abusive persons I have ever encountered in a healthcare facility. During Mr Scown’s tenure, he has employed his wife, and his friends. He has also housed employees at his brother’s motel. This is called corruption, and conflict of interest, in my opinion, and these are only a few examples of his malfeasance. I consider Mr Scown’s continued employment at SHCHD to be one of the main factors holding the facility back, and that Scown’s presense is directly contributing to the employment of poor quality leaders like Matt Rees, a clueless and dishonest man who has failed at other facilities, and Hunter Tucker, who I regard as being almost nearly barely competent.

            “Barely competent”, is an expression that would give too much credit to the current board at SHCHD, and even the “foundation”. These are people incapable of moving forward in any way, and for a long period of time. In my opinion, SHCHD is run in secret, in a manner opaque to the public that supports it, that the facility constantly skirts Federal and State law, and, it appears to me that the hospital should be closed, or turned over to professional management. Your facility is supported by Medicare, Medi-Cal, what few private pay patients you actually have, a few patients with insurance, and the money from about-to-expire property tax assessment. For a 50 employee facility, you don’t look too good on paper, and SHCHD is regarded quite poorly in Humboldt County as well as in SoHum.

            If you can’t develop services, staff, and public regard over a period of 5 years, you have failed, and don’t deserve the support of the public.

            It doesn’t really look like SHCHD can do anything at all, except the same old thing. SHCHD also fails consistenly to keep up it’s own website, publish current board meeting minutes, and notify the public of current financial status. Not too great, guys!

            I hope this is adequately clear.

            • If you would are going to defame me, please make sure you are spelling my name correctly; it’s Hunter Lehnert.
              You and I have had a total of one conversation the entire time I have been employed at SHCHD. The converstaion we had was initiated by Harry Jasper. (I am still perplexed as to why he had you come in that day we met.)
              Your thoughts and opinions of me are baseless and tell a lot about your character.
              Again, in the future, please make sure you are spelling my name correctly. Thank you in advance 😁

            • I only speam the truth

              Defamation — to make slanderous or libelous statements about a person to harm the person’s reputation or professional credibility.

              Paul Riley — becareful of what you state about others. There are those in this community that know why you no longer work at SHCHD and why you will never be hired back; despite your multiple attempts.

    • Just keeping it real

      Sounds like sh!£ or get off the Pot no pun intended😇

  • think im talking about you? i am.

    Vague letter. SFHS is a joke. The honest and talented teachers all leave. What you’re left with is tenure bound lazy “educators” who pop in another video while many students are passed out of 12th grade unable to even spell basic words or form a complete sentence. Fire them all.

    • It is a vague letter. Teachers are public employees, who have to find jobs in other school districts. Having a reputation for bashing your employer is not going to help find the ideal job.
      However, his letter is clear enough, and if the Board were minimally interested in stopping the hemorrhage of qualified staff, it would have instituted exit interviews and interventions a long time ago.
      When I wrote a letter to the SHUSD Board of Trustees suggesting that they institute exit interviews, and investigate staff bullying, and staff perception of nepotism, they slapped me with a “Cease and Desist” letter, accusing me of bullying.
      This is not a Board that is interested in positive change.

  • Exit interviews are critical for any successful business, including education. The Board should request an exit interview every time an employee leaves. Many times Boards or Management believe they have the “answer”. The answers and solutions come within the staff or employees themselves. Every teacher administrator and employee should write an end of the year evaluation and recommendation and present it and discuss it with their colleagues, administrators, the SHSD Board and provide a copy to the County Office of Education.

    Unfortunately SHSD is considered “dysfunctional” throughout the County. Although there are some good teachers and administrators, there are not enough. If we listen to one another, create a respectful dialogue and invoke public participation, positive change can occur.

  • What subjuect is Media Productions?

  • James is a hero in my book. Thank you for raising awareness.

    Homeschoolers, please be forewarned to refrain from accepting “Vouchers”.
    These vouchers have clauses that allow the states to control your children and homes.
    The vouchers come with clauses that provide the governments with signed signatures from you giving them permission to enter your homes & church schools, without advance notice, cite you with silly citations that steal your children, lock you up, and confiscate your assets.
    Federal rules, federal enforcement. State rules, state enforcement.

    The curriculum will be exactly the same as in public schools…..or else.
    The rules and mandates will be exactly the same too.
    No liberties allowed.
    If you are caught with a non-curriculum book, like say a bible, you will be … elsed.
    If you are caught with a non-fda approved product in your home, you will be… elsed.
    If you are caught with a history book that was not revised by government, you will be… elsed.

    Avoid vouchers.

  • Wow by all the letters and comments this school, terrible.Maybe folks are right,fire everyone and start over. These children deserve better. I’m so sorry for all the parents. Maybe the parents should run it..👫👬👭

  • If Colleen is Dennis O’Sullivan’s daughter then one cannot help but wonder if nepotism is at play here, especially when you hear these stories of her being underqualified and unpopular.
    Scott was similar in that she hired a crony to be the SFHS principal a few years ago who was “let go” at Arcata High, had 2 lawsuits pending against her and there were other candidates that fit the bill.
    Shaq – there is no talk of a voucher system here yet.
    People considering home school. I know from personal experience that one really cannot provide a full high school curriculum at home or with independent studies. Can one parent teach science, algebra, Spanish, civics, for example? I saw Osprey IS students handed packets week after week that were nowhere near the educational level that a regular high school program would provide. No labs, no conversational languages etc etc. It’s the same with junior high too. What college is going to accept a student who does not have thorough knowledge of these subjects and others? College of the Redwoods, for example, gives an entrance exam and if a student gets a low score he or she will go into a very basic class and that will delay completion of course requirements. Forget UC or state colleges.
    I think the best approach is to improve SFHS. Get on the hiring committee, go to the board meetings, even get on the board. It’s hard to keep teachers here who can’t afford housing and/or adapt to the culture. And here we have all these improvements to the building and not many great teachers or staff to fill them. I think a pay raise would help draw people here. I don’t know the exact number but do know that our teachers here are paid way less than other districts. And I know this is an issue for people looking to work here.

    • Disheartened 8th grade mom

      The current educational standard at the junior high basically comes down to the equivalent of free babysitting. The kids are not receiving even close to an adequate education. The few teachers that were making a difference were Seymour (gone), Friedman (gone), and Rios. I had the English teacher tell me her class was too mean to her so she would just had them the work and figure it out themselves. I may not be an expert in all areas, but I am probably way more motivated to teach my own child than the “educators” and “administrators” at that school. I refuse to let my child fail in life and unfortunately I am to the point that I believe that if I continue to send my child to this school I will be doing him a HUGE disservice.
      It’s really unfortunate that the school board would not work harder to keep qualified teachers that want to help the students succeed. Completely disgraceful and disheartening.

      • Dear Disheartened,
        I’m not familiar with MJJ (although I was very impressed with James Seymour as a leader, teacher, and a huge support for students), but I believe that a student can obtain a good education at South Fork. It is a challenge, to be sure, for many reasons, but there are many excellent educators.
        I don’t think the solution is for the parents who can to pull their students, the solution is for those same parents to get very involved in school governance.
        The Board is elected, and the main reason why they have been there so long is that almost no one runs, and when someone new does get on the board, its only one person. It needs to be a majority, so that actual change can happen.
        The Board’s recent performance has been disgraceful, agreed. But most of the staff is still excellent, albeit disheartened themselves. Change the Board, change the school culture, get involved. The beauty of a small town and district is that you can really make a difference, even if it may be uncomfortable to become a public figure and fight against a calcified and hostile Board.

      • Totally agree. I am ready to move out of the community I was born and raised in, to find a better school for my 8th grader.

    • intended for ER:

      Great comment, and thanks for filling a blank about the mysterious disappearance of Lisa Grey.

    • Taurus Ballzhoff

      The education given to you in California, for free I mean, is almost always of poor quality.

      When you seek out and deliberately purchase an education for your children from the best available provider, as you would consume any other product or service, you will obtain the best results and satisfaction with the product.

      Take your kids wherever you have to take them, and buy the best education that money can obtain.

      Settling for public school is almost never the answer, and the quality will be lowest common denominator in almost every case.

    • Eel river…I suspect small-town to be the biggest factor. Jeez. People, come to the board meetings please. You will learn that you are uninformed in many respects. These people volunteer for hours of work a week, and are your friends and neighbors. They want your kids well educated. They sometimes get their heads pointed wrong side down, and your calm, informed questions and feedback will do a lot to help them along and see more perspectives. But they aren’t the villains. If you think otherwise, please attend three meetings and begin to get studied up to take their place. As others have said…democracy is strongest nearest to home.

      • Ernestine, I agree that the school board’s job is extremely hard. They have a huge district, insufficient funds, and too much work to do. They volunteer tons of hours and its an unappreciated job. I have a lot of respect for their willingness to do it and I believe that they do have students’ best interests at heart.
        However, it is not true that informed questions and feedback will help them along and to see more perspectives. They are hostile to questions, citizen participation and any sort of problem or challenge. They respond personally and childishly as thought they were being called names when a stakeholder asks for change or points out a problem. They shut stakeholders out, stick their fingers in their ears, and get personally offended, rather than listening to information.
        I speak from experience. When I gave them information based and carefully structured feedback on bullying of staff, and the staff exodus, they shut me down every way they could.
        They first told me not to file a complaint (which they are legally obliged to respond to) and I accepted Dennis’s advice.
        Then they ignored, often rudely, everything I said.
        When I persisted, doing an informal staff survey, and bringing staff accusations of vendettas and bullying, they refused to look at my data. In the meantime, they allowed the superintendent to keep forcing quality staff out, and refused to investigate. This is why we lost James Seymour, and countless other fabulous teachers.
        When I joined the site council, they actually shut down the site council – literally. First they postponed the meetings from September to January, then they held two meetings – which also had multiple postponements) and then they simply shut it down. This wasn’t done by the school board, but by the superintendent, I presume, but they allowed it to happen.
        At the risk of being repetitious, when I responded to staff concerns brought up by the district sponsored staff survey (the one positive response to my efforts) they sent me a CEASE AND DESIST letter – accusing ME of bullying, and also sent a lying, insinuative letter to all district staff suggesting the same. This WAS done by Dennis O’Sullivan. My assumption is that staff concerns of nepotism, and bullying by Board family members on staff, which were brought up by the staff survey and completely ignored, touched a little too close to home for him.
        I do not know if the entire board was privy to the decision to take legal action against me, because there were no references to any legal matters being discussed at any board meetings prior to that letter.
        I agree with you that people need to attend board meetings, and participate more. Run for the board, join the site council, sit on hiring boards and, perhaps most importantly, get to know school staff, ask them questions, ask how the school could be improved, and then work to create a community vision for a new, healthier district.

    • Eel River, I brought up the vouchers because many comments mentioned homeschooling as a great option. I agree with them it’s the best option and wished to share the information about the Vouchers. People see dollar signs and don’t think to stop and research, or sometimes their bias won’t let them listen to those of “other party lines” or whatever the case may be.
      Homeschoolers test higher in all tests. They receive one on one attention, plus have online teachers, classes & tutors when desired.
      ” In 1997, a study of 5,402 homeschool students from 1,657 families was released. It was entitled, “Strengths of Their Own: Home Schoolers Across America.” The study demonstrated that homeschoolers, on the average, out-performed their counterparts in the public schools by 30 to 37 percentile points in all subjects.”

  • SoHumParentOfaTeenager

    I’d like to know if anybody has a specific complaint or example of Colleen O’Sullivan showing a lack of compassion, or regarding accusations of her incompetence.
    Thank you.

    • My kids saw her swearing at Mr. Seymour in the MJh office. She storms around very unprofessional at work complaining without helping. And, has no credential I was told. Nepotism.

  • spam .. i didn’t address the mysterious disappearance of Lisa Gray. It was March a few years ago when she was told that her contract would not be renewed for the following school year. That was on a Friday. On Monday morning her office was empty. She was gone. Jim Stewart had to act as principal of both Osprey and SFHS for the rest of that school year.
    People in Eureka said the day after she left SFHS she was subbing at a junior high there.

  • Kym, I still don’t know why the teacher left, but I think the horrible things people are saying should start with their names. Why the hell should anonymous posters be able to spew venom about people, using names. It’s like a gang mentality. I give out Scholarships every year and we have plenty of good students getting good grades. Use your names or shut up, that’s how I feel about commenting on this site.

    • Why are there gag orders on teachers?

      Teachers given gag orders

      hundreds of finds. It’s not bad mouthing, it’s filling the mandated silence.

    • Taurus Ballzhoff

      It is very special that certain persons from Garberville will always tell others to either “shut-up” or “leave”.

      Thanks for your special point of view, and your considered but rather rude comments.

      • Taurus Ballzhoff,
        I don’t think she said shut up or leave, I think she said use your real names or shut up. As someone who has been vilified for standing up to the school board and striving to improve the school district, I really appreciate that.
        When people hide behind anonymity, they clearly feel empowered to spew venom that not only does not help the situation, but discourages people from participating.
        When I wrote letters to the editor – carefully written to only point out problems and pose possible solutions – I was inundated with very personal, crazy and insulting comments on my person – including evil and c#nt. All comments by people who clearly didn’t even know me (judging by the ignorance of their statements) and who had absolutely no desire to address the issues I was bringing up, just the desire to hurt.
        I can understand why district staff would need to be protected by anonymity, but not why any other citizen should.
        Even though I really like Kym personally, and think she’s a great journalist, I personally disagree strongly with her choice to privilege anonymity and facilitate the spewing of hate.

    • Bunny, I absolutely agree with you.
      Its very easy to hide behind anonymous postings and say the foulest things. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, why say it behind their back?

    • Bob and Patti Harris

      Bunny, I was thinking the same thing. Put your name out there. Don’t hide behind anonymous titles.

  • Anonymous in a Positive Way

    Everyone is sorry to see James Seymour go. It’s just sad that he didn’t give the new administration a chance to make the changes he needed.

    The future is in our hands. What should we do?

    Let’s work together to build our schools up now! This is a community and these are your schools. Tell people what you want to see,talk the good talk, and do what you can to make it happen. If you have the energy to homeschool, can you use that good energy to help create better schools for ALL of the children in our community?

    “Be the change you wish to see in the world!” (Did Gandhi really say that?)

    I am very hopeful that new administration will open the doors to making good changes in our schools. When you support the schools you are supporting the children who ARE our community’s future. Help make it real.

  • Victor G. Flashman

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    Be sure to see the Appendix on Hiring mostly Women, Immigrants and other minorities! – $93 from Amazon now!

    Meanwhile – Oooooh! 4:20! Time to water the pot in the van and take your medicine!

  • Stand up parents the kids need you

    I have first hand experience with the school district here, both kids from pre school to high school. There are so many issues with the school. Let’s not start from the Begining and start from last year. New principle( 3rd one) , new VP, new counselor 🙄 new office secretary. From my own experience the counselor is a mess. From a lot of the kids they dislike her, and sadly staff ( all fired now or let go or quit .. a few have stayed ). Just recently I have found out she has no credentials to be a counselor, let alone be hired as one. How do you get hired for a job you have no experience let alone the right to give advice to children. She has no idea what she’s doing and has now a year of experience swinging her keys through the halls. How is she paid? How is she even allowed on a pay roll? Who the heck is she to ” counsel ” any one child? I’m sure she has school insurance for a job she’s not qualified for. How do I get a job like that .. She constantly harasses teachers and especially new ones. Where is her authority coming from. Who gives her that right to do that. I know for a fact she hid from the community a student break in, around 20+ kids.. breaking and entering, drugs ( pot ) and alcohol on campus .. kids found still hung over in cars on a Monday and since it would look bad she did a ” rehabilitation ” of sorts. Maybe that’s where her PBIS ( positive behavior intervention support ) came in .. 🙄 Let’s just say nothing happened to them. Also nothing was put on their records! The art room the next day still smelled of pot. How does that happen, is she the cleanup crew? Another thing I heard she hid from the principle and VP until the end of a school week a student was drunk all week at school saying she was trying to get the kid help? Personally she needs to go and for gosh sakes clean up the board. Sad to hear Seymore, Landry and Radcliffe are gone. They were very good with the kids. I strongly believe each of the teachers should get a chance to say and write why they left or were fired! The letters should go directly to the HCOE Superintendent Chris Hartley. Why? Because her dad is on the school board

  • I know not much about all that is being said. However if a teacher is not credited and has not finished the proper schooling then he or she should not be working in a position that clearly is over qualified for him or her. It’s sad to hear about Mr Seymour. I do have a question, can anyone tell me what actually happened with Mr Landry? In my opinion he was an amazing principal! From what I saw at least. Then I’m understanding that he’s not at SF anymore and it has to due with the board. That’s my understanding. I can’t quote it because I’m unsure, hence why I’m asking.

    • Mr. Landry resigned.
      It is my understanding that Ms. O’Sullivan, despite having no teaching experience, administrative experience, teacher/student support OR a counseling credential, has been attaining more and more influence in the management of the school (she does, after all have Daddy’s ear and he believes that she is “a clear minded, well educated and hard working member of the staff.”)
      I believe that Mr. Landry, who had been expressly told that he had no right to supervise Ms. O’Sullivan (despite it being clearly in his job description) and had numerous problems with her, would no longer tolerate the situation there once Ms. Scott departed and Ms. O’Sullivan was left unchecked.
      Initially Ms. O’Sullivan colluded fully and eagerly with Ms. Scott, who has been accused of intimidating and bullying staff. I was told, however, that this spring, when the Board was forced to address Ms. Scott’s behavior, Ms. O’Sullivan turned on her and consolidated her power, presenting herself as an unwilling victim. I disagree.
      Several staff members report being harassed by Ms. O’Sullivan. She is just as unpopular with staff as with the students. Her harassment has been remarkably successful considering how short a time she’s been at SF, but she fully colluded with Ms. Scott, and has the full support of the Board, so its not surprising.
      You’ll remember that Ms. Scott and Ms. O’Sullivan ran Ann Constantino out of the Student Services Tech position last year, where Ann had done an excellent job for little over HALF THE COST of Ms. O’Sullivan. Ms. O’Sullivan was an active participant in the campaign, as has been borne out by the independent investigation that the district was forced to commission (and pay for.)
      Mr. Seymour was also in Ms. O’Sullivan’s way.
      Mr. Radcliffe, to whom the district offered the Principal’s position following Mr. Landry’s departure, declined, allegedly unwilling to work with Ms. O’Sullivan.
      If the Board was willing to institute exit interviews, all this would already have come to light. The general public would not hear of it, because personnel matters must remain confidential, but the Board would know and would be required to take action.

  • Victor G. Flashman

    Thanks for taking time to educate everyone and (yawn) for typing these lengthy statements….

    I am glad someone is aware of everything that is actually happening, and has cosmic clarity about it all. In my opinion, kids do not need to be around the drama of adults fighting about school issues.

    Public schools in CA are not good places to send children. Spend the money, take your kids anywhere at all, and buy them a decent education. You will be glad you did!

  • I wrote a lengthy and well thought comment that didn’t post before. Since time is a luxury that I don’t have (or money) I will just say what I think is most important.
    There is a major teacher shortage in California. SHUSD is in danger as teachers will not live with the bullying, nepotism, low pay, and non existent housing.
    As of today, not one Freshman has a schedule. Very few if any upper classmen have a functional schedule that meet their needs and desires. Instead of working the last couple weeks of school, Colleen went to Puerto Rico and spent the week drinking with her “pet” students.
    No other district would hire a School Board President’s daughter, it is unethical. Much less one who is uncredentialed, has no experience, and bullies staff. Her salary is around 86,000$ that is double of a 1-5 year CREDENTIALED teacher. And yet our kids still have no updated books, technology, or even shade on the quad.

  • Doesn't Matter What My Name Is

    Southfork is a joke. Colleen is a joke. Do the parents even really know what goes on at that school? Its terrible. Bullying is a huge problem and Colleen does absouletly nothing about it. Its a shame one of the teachers who actually care left, but maybe its for the best. The school is only going to get worse as long as Colleen is still apart of it.

  • I would like to take a moment to address a few issues brought up in the comments. First, I did not read the comments until now; I didn’t write this letter to hear praise and support. I wanted the community, especially the students, to know I was leaving. Too often, SoHum students show up for school and see a new face. This kind of turnover is not typical in many districts. Which brings me to the second reason I decided to make my letter public: The District needs to do more to find the reasons why people are leaving. And finally, I believe this community’s voice needed to be heard and I intended to start the conversation with my letter. All the comments here and within the community is one way for your voice to resonate with policy-makers. Your vote at the ballot box is another.
    I believe your children are in great hands with the teachers of Southern Humboldt. All of them care deeply and are passionate about the subjects they teach. They are more than qualified! I urge you to look up each teacher/administrator and the credential(s) they hold on the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (
    Ironically, today my wife handed me the summer edition of NEAToday, opened to a section titled First & Foremost. It’s a quick & interesting read.

  • If you’re going to write a letter to the editor upon quitting a job, could you at least tell us specifically why? Ok, so you’re leaving. Good luck! People quit jobs all the time. Are we supposed to cry? Everyone is replaceable. Tell us what the problem is so we can fix it. Your letter nor your follow up comment does not do that.

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