Following a tumultuous year, the rural Mount Pleasant School District appears to be making some good headway in its efforts to “right the ship.”
Earlier this year Cheryl Randall, who worked for the School District for 27 years, resigned after being charged with theft for allegedly using a school district credit card to purchase gas for her personal vehicle. Randall, who was the district’s bus driver, recess aide, cafeteria and custodial supervisor, and building maintenance supervisor, eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to pay restitution, serve one day in jail and four days of community service, and serve probation for two years.
The debacle also led to tension between some School Board members and Linda Slattery, who at the time was serving as superintendent and was the person who initially reported inconsistencies in receipts submitted by Randall to the Washington State Auditor’s Office and the police. Slattery eventually resigned saying she had been intimidated and harassed by school board members.
It was a year many district taxpayers, employees, parents and students would surely like to forget.
With the recent hiring of Peter Tarzian as its new superintendent, however, it appears Mount Pleasant is working hard to put these bad times behind them.
Based on his educational and professional experience — he holds a doctorate in education policy and management and has worked in small school districts and at the college level — Tarzian potentially has a lot to offer the Mount Pleasant School District and its board of directors. The one-school district’s elected leaders just need to be open and willing to take his advice and recommendations. The fact that they made the move to hire him at all shows that, so far, they are.