Tumwater schools’ staff questions superintendent’s performance


The Tumwater School Board addressed district staff who have in recent weeks expressed “continued dissatisfaction” with Superintendent Sean Dotson’s leadership in their meeting last night.

Tumwater School Board President Melissa Beard shared that on Nov. 4, they received a letter from district school leaders, principals, and assistant principals regarding the superintendent’s performance. Some of the issues that were outlined in the discussion include the mismanagement of district funds.

On his evaluation, Beard noted that several school staff gave a vote of no confidence.

This is not the first time that district school staff had questioned Dotson’s performance. In Oct. 21, Beard claimed that the same team also sent a letter outlining the same concerns and had given him roughly a week or until Oct. 29, to make the necessary improvements. “The timing seems off,” the school board president said.

As a response, Dotson promised to initiate an investigation on alleged mismanagement of district funds. In addition, the board also agreed in its November meeting to set certain goals to help improve the school district’s fiscal standing.

Despite the issues, Beard remained firm that these sentiments would not change the school board’s processes in addressing performance issues. “I think what’s going on is the principals have a tough job right now and they don’t feel supported right now, and the board understands that.”

Beard also recognized the collective impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had, “I really value this community, and we’re going through a really hard time right now, and I’m trying to figure out how we get to the other end, and it’s really really hard. I’m hurting for our community; I don’t know how we get through this. But I know we need everyone pitching in and working together.”

School Board member Darby Kaikkonen agreed stating that, “people are hurting very deeply.”


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