After 29 years of teaching at St. John Vianney, Mrs. Twila Smith was unfairly "placed on an administrative leave without contract renewal for the 2013-2014 school year" with one quarter left in the year because of her use of the word "petulant" in scolding a student who was sulking about Mrs. Smith's normal stern, strict standards of excellence which always resulted in getting the best out of her pupils. Comments, notes and letters of support reflect loving and fond memories of Mrs. Smith's methods of getting only the very best work from her students; these are a testimony that it was a trait that many students, graduates, families, and community members valued and fondly remembered, crediting Mrs. Smith for being a pivotal teacher in their lives as they went on to lead successful high school and professional careers after transition to highschool.
It is with firm conviction that we, the undersigned assert that:
1) the dismissal of Mrs. Smith was handled unjustly in an untimely and unprofessional manner
2) that Mrs. Smith should be allowed to stay to teach her students during their final quarter of the critical 7th grade school year before high school applications and beyond, to be able to give them the recommendations for quality work earned for their high school applications next year
3) that she should be guaranteed to continue on in a no-harassment environment as is endorsed by school "no-bullying" policy amongst its student body
4) that the release of a 29 year veteran teacher should be handled with more respect, warning, opportunity for intervention and input from other SJV authorities besides the Principal alone
5) that the placement of a substitute in her position who does not know the children, where they are in their academic study this 7th grade year, nor the academic strengths and weaknesses of these students is an inappopriate course of action at this crucial moment that is fatal to the livelihood and on-going exellence of this small Catholic parish school
6) and "for the greater good", based on the positive reviews from 29 years of past students, graduates, families, and community members whose lives and hearts have been positively changed by this wonderful teacher, Mrs. Smith should be celebrated!
Finally, we feel that Mrs. Smith's unfair removal from St. John Vianney will mark a turning point in the academic level of the school which we hope will not result in a drop in the quality of education to be had here and a resulting exit of many families from the school.. SAVE OUR TEACHER and SAVE OUR SCHOOL!
With enough signatures, and letters of support - it is our hope and intent that the demise of the quality of education at St. John Vianney Parish School can be avoided while preserving Mrs. Smith's legacy of excellence for future students of SJV! Let the voices of parents, students, graduates, and community members be heard!
- Superintendent of Hawaiʻi Catholic Schools
Dr. Michael Rockers, Superintendent of Hawaiʻi Catholic Schools
- School Board Community Relations Committee Chair
Fr. Thomas L. Gross
Parent Teacher Student Association
- PTSA President
- Parish Administrator
- Bishop of Honolulu
Most Reverend Clarence (Larry) Silva
Reinstate Mrs. Twila Smith to 7th gr. teacher at St. John Vianney School
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