Mount St. Mary Academy Rising Up to Unjust Leadership
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On Tuesday June 19th, Myra Davidson, a math teacher at Mount St. Mary Academy, received a phone call from the school's principal, Angie Collins, to terminate her teaching contract. On top of refusing to meet with Mrs. Davidson, Principal Collins also refused to discuss the details behind the decision of termination beyond stating that complaints had been made. Alone, this incident may not stand out as overtly unjust. But this is one of several situations in which Angie Collins has terminated teachers without clear reason, hired teachers for positions that were already filled, and disrespected faculty members to the point of early retirement or resignation. The alumnae of Mount St. Mary Academy want to express our deepest disappointment for what is happening at MSM. Mount St. Mary Academy has given us the education to know what is right and the voice to speak out against what isn't.
Mount St. Mary Academy has faced its fair share of issues in the past. In the last ten years, there have been numerous school scandals causing the education of Mount students to suffer. After the resignation of the previous school principal, Mrs. Angie Collins was hired as the acting principal for the following year, allowing for the hiring period of a permanent school principal. To many's surprise, Angie Collins was then hired to stay on as school principal. Since her time as principal began, several of MSM's most respected educators have been forced to resign due to the treatment by Angie Collins. Marcella Melandri, the school's IB/AP Biology teacher, was forced into resignation last year when Angie Collins assigned Melandri's standard Biology curriculum to a different teacher and gave her Chemistry and Physical Science classes, that she was not trained to teach, without being consulted. Devinē Barry-Stribling went on maternity leave, only to return to part-time work with no benefits after her child was born, she was left with no other option than to quit. Mary Logan retired early with this message "After 37 years I left for retirement early because this administration did not treat me and others with respect. I deplore what happened to Myra, but I can name a number of us who have left the school we love and students we were dedicate to because there seems to be no recourse. The President and the Board need to take action. The Sisters of Mercy created the 'best school we know of' ... they need to rescue Mount Saint Mary." And now Mrs. Myra Davidson has been fired from the school via phone call from the principal, and she was told over text message that there was no need to meet in person to further discuss the matter. Each of the teachers mentioned, and many that are not, are known by their students as one of the greatest teachers they have ever had, mentors who were there for them during a trying time, or even as someone whose friendship has lasted beyond the four years of high school. There are several situations in which Principal Angie Collins hires teachers for positions that are already filled, then assigns returning teachers' curriculum in entirely different subjects or as a part-time offer she knows they cannot accept. These kinds of tactics are not only disrespectful and dishonest to the educators who have dedicated their lives to teaching and empowering the young women at Mount St. Mary Academy, but also completely opposite to the Mercy Values the school and its students strive to uphold.
Mount St. Mary, your students are suffering and the hearts of your alums are breaking. And the example being set for your girls is one of deception and disregard for others. Often we as a community hear things about what is happening at MSM and are utterly disappointed. Many of us have dreams to return to The Mount as teachers, so that we may be able to provide the same incredible education and mentorship that was provided to us by the teachers that shaped who we became. Many of us also have dreams to send our children and future children to our alma mater, so that they may learn the same lessons we were taught and share some of the same formative experiences we had within those halls. But now, Mount St. Mary Academy is a place that not only do we not recognize, we wouldn’t consider stepping back into as an alum, teacher, or prospective parent due to the problems Principal Angie Collins has caused.
The central Arkansas community is counting on someone to do what is right. Teach your students that those mercy values we hold so dear actually mean something again. Share with them the power that comes from being taught by the best and brightest, not those Angie Collins has brought in to act as temporary bandaids to bigger problems. To the school's President and CEO, as well as its Board of Directors, it is your duty to repair the damage done by current principal Angie Collins. We are counting on you.
Please sign this position to let the Mount St. Mary Academy Board of Directors and President that we expect more from "the best school we know of." We understand that many of you may be active member of the school's student body, staff, and overall community. If that is the case, please consider voting in a way that protects your anonymity.
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