The Valley Central School District Board of Education Meeting was a packed house on Monday, June 13, 2022, as community members, fellow and former teachers, and parents, joined in the fight to save teacher Tammy Coleman and to address recent security threats within the district.
In May, reports surfaced that district officials are seeking to fire Coleman with only three years remaining until she retires. With more than 23 years in the Valley Central School District, Coleman has worked her way up the ranks having numerous roles over the past two decades. She is currently the Director of APPR, the Director of Data and Testing, and the Director of the Universal Pre-K program. In 2021, Coleman applied for a UPK Expansion Grant and the VCSD was awarded $400,000 in Expansion Grant Funding.
After inquiring about the status of her tenure two years ago, she was denied the opportunity at the time with the district saying she would not be awarded tenure because officials wanted another year to evaluate her performance. Now in her fifth year, she is being asked to resign or she will be terminated. Coleman is currently out on administrative leave. For the third time, colleagues and community members spoke out on Coleman’s behalf and criticized the Valley Central administration for its handling of the matter.
As of Tuesday morning, district officials confirmed that a decision on Coleman’s fate had been tabled yet again by the board. Neither the board, nor the administration have responded to requests for comment from the Wallkill Valley Times.
A petition on change.org to “help fight the wrongful termination of Valley Central employee Tammy Coleman” had gathered 624 signatures as of Tuesday.
In addition, tensions were high in the room with concerns by parents that a recent security threat they said was not properly addressed by the school district. Superintendent of Schools John Xanthis was absent from the meeting on Monday night.
Xanthis was criticized by parents, staff and community members for his actions and decision making skills following the threat. On Monday, Village of Montgomery Police reported the arrest of an 11 year-old who was accused of making a terroristic threat against the school on June 4.
Town of Montgomery Supervisor Brian Maher was also in attendance at the meeting to discuss possible negotiations with the school district for police officers at all buildings starting in the fall.
During the course of the evening, Valley Central School Board President Joseph Bond walked out of the meeting after conflict with the crowd joined by Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources William Miller and an executive session was called minutes later. Bond later came back to the meeting after the recess. Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Marianne Serratore was also briefly absent following one of the recesses. By the end of the meeting, all parties had returned.