E-mails reveal DeVincentis' anger

School Board member has history of attacks on superintendents

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The DeVincentis e-mails

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School board member John DeVincentis is shown during a facilitated meeting between the School Board and Superintendent Donna Howell last month. Two board members who served with DeVincentis said he is attacking Howell in the same way he took on former Superintendent Cyndy Simms in 2002.

E-mail excerpts

The following are direct quotes from a series of e-mail exchanges between former Strawberry Park Elementary School and current School Board member John DeVincentis and Joby McGowan, a teacher in Mercer Island, Wash., about former Steamboat Springs Superintendent Cyndy Simms.

"She is absolutely a liar-so much so that I would say it's almost pathological, if she in fact isn't? NEVER trust her." -Aug. 27, 2004

"She lies a lot. Be ready for that! And call her on every one! DO NOT let her get away with that. BUT do it calmly and politely even though that was one of the hardest things for me." -Aug. 27, 2004

"Your union would want to pay attention to all of the executive sessions that Cyndy has with the Board. Even though you don't have access to the executive sessions, you may want to be prepared and try to figure out how to 'listen in.'"

"Go to her house and 'trash it.' Just kidding!! The sloppiest kiss that I could think of giving her would be from about three feet away, but then that wouldn't be a kiss I guess. Maybe I could call it that." -Sept. 2, 2004

"Yes, the throes of passion!! What a terrible image! Gross! I was just thinking about anyone going out with her - at all, let alone that!!" -Sept. 27, 2004

"The board president who was an IDIOT (gone now - one of Cyndy's biggest supporters and a BAST---) was banging the gavel and yelling 'You're out of order!! You're out of order!!' I went right on and it was all printed in the newspaper." -Oct. 6, 2004

"She is an idiot (I have many other words that I wouldn't mind using, but:)." -Oct. 7, 2004

"I have studied serial killers and psychopaths. I have learned that about 25% of people are psychopaths, but certainly a small number of those serial killers. BUT one thing that particularly stands out in my reading was stated that it is very bad if you have a psychopath as a boss. Thus my point with Cyndy. If you want, I'll look up and send you the descriptors. She fits nearly every one of them - which is very scary." -Oct. 14, 2004

"I wish I could have ended her career, but once again the game of 'Old Maid' (which she is) came to mind soooo : I made the intelligent move and told your suckered board members that she was great. I could tell right away what kind of people they were. I was not impressed with them either." -Oct. 14, 2004

"One of the staff made me a Cyndy voodoo doll. Do you believe in voodoo? Maybe a collective group of people with voodoo doll energy could end her career there." -Oct. 14, 2004

"NEVER GO TO EXECUTIVE SESSION. HAVE EVERYTHING PUBLIC!!" -Dec. 12, 2004

"How is Cammie, her daughter, doing over there? We've always been concerned about Cammie because Cyndy has always been a missing mom." -Dec. 13, 2004

"Cammi should be a sophomore now. Several of us have wondered about how she would be doing since her mother is never home. She was pretty much put on the back burner with her husband. Seemed like they were probably better off without her around. I can't imagine being married to her. I would have been arrested for battering and abuse!!" -Dec. 13, 2004

"I know one thing about Cyndy, she will NEVER make amends with you or anyone else who crosses her. She is a B----! Be aware she can raise her ugly (and I do mean ugly) head again." -Dec. 14, 2004

"Here our county was identified by license plates that started with WZ. She had a vanity plate that was WZ KIDS. Thought that meant she liked kids, I guess, although that is fairly far removed from her mind." -May 23, 2005

"It is getting very political here. Go on to Steamboat Pilot: It's the article about 'Havener Resigning.' It's always interesting here. It's no better than when Cyndy was here." -May 23, 2005

— During his last year as Strawberry Park Elementary School's principal, John DeVincentis repeatedly attacked Cyndy Simms in e-mail exchanges with a teacher in Mercer Island, Wash.

Today, as a member of the Steamboat Springs School Board, DeVincentis has made current Superintendent Donna Howell his target, colleagues say.

In the e-mails between DeVincentis and Mercer Island first-grade teacher Joby McGowan, DeVincentis described Simms, a former Steamboat Springs superintendent, as a "pathological liar," an "idiot," "crazy" and made references to her divorce saying, "I can't imagine being married to her. I would have been arrested for battering and abuse!" He suggests she has characteristics of a psychopath and a serial killer, jokes about spitting on her and accuses her of not being a good mother to her daughter.

He also gives McGowan advice on how to undermine Simms and admits to lying to Mercer Island School Board members to get them to take the "old maid."

DeVincentis also predicts in the e-mails he will be elected to the School Board and that he will take on the new administration. He was elected a few months after the e-mails end and now is working to oust Howell, past board members said.

Simms, who still is the superintendent in Mercer Island, said she was aware of the e-mails but had not read them.

"I haven't seen the e-mails, and I don't want to," Simms said. "I was aware of John's feelings about me, but that's all in the past. That's really how I look at it."

"You're the watchdog"

The e-mails were sent in fall 2004 and spring 2005. Printed copies of the e-mails were dropped off at the Steamboat Pilot & Today office.

DeVincentis did not respond to repeated phone calls and e-mails sent to him. The Pilot & Today offered to make the e-mails available for DeVincentis to review. He came by the newspaper Thursday to place an ad, and copies of the e-mails were again offered to him. He refused them.

"I don't want them. In the pursuit of liberty and justice, you're the watchdog," DeVincentis said before driving away.

DeVincentis' wife, Soda Creek Elementary School teacher Allyson Spear, said the e-mails are not relevant in Steamboat Springs. She accused the Pilot & Today of unfairly attacking her husband and said the newspaper should remember DeVincentis was elected to the School Board with 70 percent of the vote.

DeVincentis apparently used his school computer and his Steamboat Springs School District account to send the e-mails. Two individuals who were school district officials at the time the e-mails were retrieved confirmed messages between DeVincentis and a Mercer Island teacher were taken from DeVincentis' computer after he retired at the end of the 2004-05 school year.

Anne Muhme, assistant to current Superintendent Donna Howell, said DeVincentis signed the district's "Electronic and Voicemail Acknowledgment" policy on Aug. 26, 1998. The policy warns employees that "electronic messages are not for private or confidential matters" and that "e-mail sent or received by the board, the district or the district's employees may be considered a public record subject to public disclosure or inspection under the Colorado Open Records Act."

Not very respectful

On Wednesday, from his classroom at West Mercer Elementary School, McGowan confirmed he exchanged e-mails with DeVincentis. He sent the e-mails from a personal e-mail account and said he never intended for anyone other than DeVincentis to see the e-mails.

"The intention was those e-mails were for (DeVincentis') eyes only and not to be published in the newspaper," he said. "I disapprove of them being shared with the public-at-large. I think it's sneaky and a disservice."

McGowan agreed school officials using school computers and accounts have a lessened expectation of privacy.

"It's not respectful what (the newspaper is) doing, but of course, the things we said about Dr. Simms weren't very respectful," he said. "Those e-mails reflected several personal conversations and experiences with (Simms) that I had."

Repeating the past

In the e-mails, DeVincentis says current Superintendent Howell "is very similar" to Simms and tells McGowan of his plans to get elected to the School Board to take on the administration.

"So you know, I'm most likely going to run for the School Board here when I'm through this year," DeVincentis wrote on March 16, 2005. "Someone needs to hold the upper-level staff to getting things done and done well. Too much involved in all the explanation, but there is a lot to hold them accountable for."

Tom Miller-Freutel, a former board president who has met with DeVincentis and two other board members in the past week, said DeVincentis now is coming after Howell.

The School Board members "as a group do not understand the ramifications of their decisions right now," Miller-Freutel said. "I think John plays a huge role in this. I can't say that enough. John is out to get rid of Donna Howell."

Earlier this week, Board President Denise Connelly said "everything is up in the air" and that all options are on the table when asked about Howell's job status. On Wednesday, board member Pat Gleason, Howell's strongest advocate on the board, resigned because of differences with the board.

Gleason agreed with Miller-Freutel. He said DeVincentis' agenda with Howell is no different than it was with Simms in 2002. "His agenda is to get rid of Donna Howell," Gleason said. "That's perfectly clear."

Howell declined to comment on DeVincentis or his e-mails, saying it would not be appropriate. Hired in the summer of 2003, Howell has a contract that runs through the 2008-09 school year.

Looking to undermine

In the e-mails, McGowan expresses frustration with Simms' successes in Mercer Island. "The board and Cyndy are tight and they have like thinking on many issues," he wrote in September 2004. "She has been the community's best advocate and made decisions that clearly reflect the wants of families over the needs of the staff, etc..."

DeVincentis suggests ways to undermine Simms.

In an e-mail dated March 22, 2005, DeVincentis tells McGowan to have McGowan's principal call him if she is having trouble with Simms.

"Tell your principal that I not only survived, but I WON!! (Simms) is gone and that in itself was a HUGE success. The board hired someone very similar though, so: Luckily, I will retire and most likely run for the board: I was here 19 years and have a great reputation among teachers and parents and community members (most community members except for those few who were aligned with the b----. Now I include them on my 'losers' list, too.")

DeVincentis also suggests trying to gather information on her personal life. The two exchanged e-mails about Simms' ex-husband, Chuck, and her daughter, Cami.

"Have you heard anything about her daughter, Cammie (sic), and how she is doing there?" DeVincentis wrote. "I just wonder and hope that she revolts against the 'regime' sometime and drives Cyndy absolutely nuts. When you see her, give her a 'hello' from me. She'd love to hear that from you!"

He advises McGowan to push for a staff climate survey about Simms to use against her.

"Has your association done an organizational climate survey of teachers in the district?" DeVincentis wrote. "Why not do something like that to get an indication of the level of discontent. My belief is that many other teachers may be concerned, but not willing to give the time and energy to getting 'into it.'"

Using surveys

DeVincentis has pushed repeatedly for the use of climate surveys about Howell and current administrators. Last fall, climate surveys were completed by staff about all administrators in the district. Howell promised administrators the survey results would be seen only by the individual administrators and her. Administrators also collectively asked the board to follow what Howell had promised.

But the board, based upon a request from DeVincentis, issued a directive ordering Howell to release the survey results to them. The directive came after a Jan. 8 executive session that was called despite protests from administrators who asked that the meeting be held in public.

DeVincentis repeatedly advises McGowan to fight the Mercer Island School Board's efforts to go into executive session.

"Your union would want to pay attention to all of the executive sessions that Cyndy has with the Board," DeVincentis wrote on Aug. 31, 2004. "Even though you don't have access to the executive sessions, you may want to be prepared and try to figure out how to 'listen in.'"

Lying to the board

Simms was the superintendent of the Steamboat Springs School District until the spring of 2003, when she was named superintendent in Mercer Island, a district with 4,100 students. She left after an often bitter public battle with DeVincentis about a critical performance evaluation he received.

In the e-mails, DeVincentis said he lied to two Mercer Island School Board members who came to Steamboat Springs to talk to school officials and community residents before hiring Simms. DeVincentis said the board members did not impress him.

"Hate to say it, but I lied like a snake and blamed our board for everything," he wrote in an e-mail dated Oct. 13, 2004. "I blamed (believe it or not) policy governance for being a major contributor to our problem. Another major lie on my part. It was (literally and figuratively) like getting rid of the old maid! Almost funny, huh? But not for you guys! Sorry. I will say that we were all high-fiving each other (teachers at our school) when she got the job. Everyone here hated her and most of the rest of the district were uninvolved and disinterested."

E-mail in the dark

At one point, McGowan warns DeVincentis about the risks of using school computers and e-mail accounts. "Somewhere : out there : in the dark : a school district is listening, and I am sure my e-mails are flagged : so I'll send you some mail from my Yahoo! Account," McGowan wrote March 15, 2005.

Yet, DeVincentis appears to have always used his school account, jdv@sailors.steamboat.k12.co.us.

He writes to McGowan that he should go to Simms' house and "trash it! Just joking." He jokes about being in the "throes of passion" with Simms. He says he has a "Cyndy voodoo doll" and suggests that the staff in Mercer Island should try collective voodoo energy to end Simms' career.

Simms said she moved on from her dealings with DeVincentis long ago. "Life is too short to hold grudges," she said.

DeVincentis' e-mails suggest he felt otherwise.

"See, I'm still angry about her dealings with me," DeVincentis wrote in September 2004. "Nothing bad could happen to her that she wouldn't deserve."

-To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

WZ 7 years, 3 months ago

God bless the internet and the digital age!

Pretty soon the day will come when there will be a digital trace right down to the DNA structure of every crap we take and is flushed down the city sewer line.

Let's not stop with DeVincentis.

Let's sniff every email that has passed through sailors.steamboat.k12.co.us and every other domain owned by the tax paying public of Steamboat Springs.

Live in fear, teachers, administrators and all tax payer funded employees - some one is watching you, if not now, 5 years in the future!

I'm sure there will be dozens of breaking-news emails and cell phone text messages generated from that effort!

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dundalk 7 years, 3 months ago

WOw! And to think that Dr D is around children and supposed to be looking out for the best interests of the students.

If indeed all the correspondences (e-amils) are accurate and true, then job well done to the Steamboat Pilot for exposing them.

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Andyeast 7 years, 3 months ago

This is news? What a waste of time, energy and money. Who cares what these two clowns wrote about Cyndy Simms TWO years ago. - GIVE IT A REST.

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Andyeast 7 years, 3 months ago

As funny as the exchange is, and it is funny... Adults acting like high schoolers, Do we really care what these two wrote so long ago? What message does reporting this send to the community? our kids and the school district?

Would any of us want our email conversations with friends or family published in the paper? I'm guessing now. Of course people communicate in a different way when the audience is someone they confide in as opposed to having their words splashed on the paper.

Shame on the Pilot for publishing this. This is not news. This is just plain stupid. I am dumping my subscription to the paper. What a waste.

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gwendolyn 7 years, 3 months ago

Explains a lot.

Now, is there a lawsuit 'out there' somewhere? If not, there should be...

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Andyeast 7 years, 3 months ago

A lawsuit for what? Speaking someone's mind? What about freedom of speech?

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plainjane 7 years, 3 months ago

It is way past time for DeVincentis to go. He is a disgrace to the school district, the community and the profession of education. Who would trust this man to have their kids' best interest in mind? He is a vindictive bully.

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Socrates 7 years, 3 months ago

John DeVincentis has pulled the wool over the voting public's eyes long enough.

Wouldn't it be interesting to find out how many of the 70% would vote for him now.

Why is he so angry and vindictive against accountable, intelligent and successful women?

His behavior is inappropriate, unacceptable, and detrimental to our community's education system.

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sickofitall 7 years, 3 months ago

ummm silly question... who dropped the hard copies off? How do we know they are genuine? This paper has a pretty good wrap for printing garbage, so, how are these documents genuine? Also, how are the methods of retrieval and delivery to the pilot legitimate? Can I just drop off anything to the Pilot and have it be a top story or just things related to the school district? I bet 10:1 this is garbage in, garbage out.

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gwendolyn 7 years, 3 months ago

If devincentis did correspond in this manner (will the Pilot print at least one of these emails???), his behavior is potentially actionable.

As a parent with a child in this school district, I thought I was disgusted before any of this came to light with so much crap going on here in little old steamboat....but now it's so much clearer. Contempt breeds even more contempt and this town is raising children with educational leaders who truly are sick, sick, sick...

grade school antics? I don't think so. More like unprofessional behavior that's simply unforgivable.

with this kind of leadership no WONDER the likes of Knezevich have been able to continue along....

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forsteamboatkids 7 years, 3 months ago

It is amazing that someone could actually defend the actions of DeVincentis. These e-mails are scary but the more disturbing thing is that it doesn't seem to surprise anyone. He is a very scary man with many skeletons in the closet. My best advice is not to cross him- You may become a member of his "losers" list and have a voodoo doll made in your honor. Great reporting. We are all now aware that the troops need to be rallied-John needs to go! It should be only appropriate that he steps down from his position and save our school district further embarrassment.

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SteamboatJoe 7 years, 3 months ago

could we be more embarrased? He has to go, Denise has a lot to think about.........how will she twist this into an "okay" issue.........one the previous board left her with.......... however, the pilot needs a refresher on souring information........

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Andyeast 7 years, 3 months ago

Yes, the Pilot needs a refresher course on sourcing their information.....

How is it that Dr. D. is getting so much press time? What makes this so newsworthy? 2 year old emails? Come on.

Why do we care?

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reallocal 7 years, 3 months ago

Andy, freedom of speech is a hugely important right that we enjoy in this country. Just because you have the right to say something DOES NOT MEAN that you should not be held accountable for these actions. The real question is not whether he had the right to say the things he did, the question is whether you want him representing your best interests as a community member.

By the way, anyone interested in determining whether these emails are true could contact Joby McGowan at joby_mcgowan@misd.wednet.edu joby_mcgowan@misd.wednet.edu. This address was available online via the staff directory of Mercer Island School District, and is a matter of public record. The entire staff directory can be found online at http://misd.k12.wa.us/schools/wm/staff.html#classroom.

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smokhaus 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm curious how and why the McGowan/DeVincentis relationship started in the first place. Who initiated it? If McGowan, how did he learn he'd have a sympathetic ear in DeVincentis? If DeVincentis, did he blanket the Mercer Island district staff with emails, fishing for a sympathetic ear?

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Andyeast 7 years, 3 months ago

Reallocal, Do you really think McGowan is going to reply to any emails he gets about this issue on his school district issued email? -

Though, I agree with you... He may be a source to clarify if this article is substantiated.

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smokhaus 7 years, 3 months ago

http://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Poverty-Rock-Joby-McGowan/dp/1413714552

Read the Book Description at the above link to learn more about how McGowan views administration similarly to DeVincentis.

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Andyeast 7 years, 3 months ago

Yah, I already Googled McGowan and saw that book he wrote. Sounds like a disaster. McGowan appears to have had plenty of his own time in the negative spotlight. There are at least a dozen newspaper articles on his antics on Mercer Island.

If you look at the date on all of this.. The emails from two years ago.... who is to say that they still harbor so much hatred for Cindy Sims? and once again I ask.. Why do we care so much?

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bcpow 7 years, 3 months ago

As the little town turns... In this weeks potential episode a spurned lover corresponds with a pen pal, sharing passions full of anger, revenge and suggestions. Who would have thought that their chance meeting in Reverand Teds Chat Room Jamboree would lead to a small towns front pages.
Stay tuned for scenes of next weeks episode.

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Andyeast 7 years, 3 months ago

bcpow, you have great humor. YOU should write for the PILOT! THAT would be newsworthy!

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zzzz 7 years, 3 months ago

Board members, administrators, parents, and teachers need to start focusing on kids and stop attacking each other.

The kids in the SSSD are out performing just about every other district in the state.

There are so many great things going on in the school district, but all we ever hear about is conflict.

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reallocal 7 years, 3 months ago

I find it slightly amusing that so many people are posting to the tune of "No one really cares..." If that were true, no one would be posting.

Secondly, the paper is called the "Steamboat Pilot." Of course it will report on local issues. I can learn all about regional, national, and international politics from other sources if I want. Sorry, but this newspaper is not putting a dent in the circulation of USA Today or The New York Times. Local issues are the primary reason to subscribe to a local paper. Unfortunately, this has been forced into a local issue.

Finally, the idea that no one cares is an apathetic view. I elect to give one cent of every two dollars I spend directly to our school district, not including state and federal taxes that support our school system. So while all of you (presumably without children in the district) may find this highly amusing (although bcpow, you really should consider a career in writing) this is not just a matter for parents and administrators. Everyone in this town is part of the community, and everyone should care what is being done with their tax dollars. This is not limited to the Steamboat Springs School Board. Cliche as it rings, the children in the district are our future. The way of life in Steamboat is already highly endangered, and our children's educations and experiences here may be some of the last and most unique to their generation. I encourage anyone who thinks this is not newsworthy to reconsider their priorities. We are all part of this community, and we are being represented in both a public and policy light by DeVincentis. Regardless of whether this occured two years ago or two weeks ago, the public has to decide if this is the person they want representing them. I don't. Enough private politics. Time to give the community at large a school system they can be proud of. Obviously, that simply cannot happen in the current political climate of the board.

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Books 7 years, 3 months ago

Did Howell direct school district employees to go out and find Dr. D's old computer and dig up some dirt for political revenge? They just happened to come across these e-mails? And then deliver them to the pilot? Who ordered these people to do this? For any of you who know Howell you know its just business as usual. Howell is the real problem here not Dr. D.

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Scott Wedel 7 years, 3 months ago

The emails are newsworthy because Dr D is part of a school board that is in the middle of a public fight with the current superintendent. The complete lack of respect shown for Cindy Sims is disturbing and it certainly raises serious doubts that current superintendent Donna Howell could do anything to work things out with the school board.

It took a lot of time and effort by Cindy Sims to become superintendent and she did not achieve that by being completely incompetent. It would have been reasonable for Dr D to she was a failure because was not a good manager, but he seems far more interested in going after her via personal attacks which includes hoping to use Cindy Simms daughter to force out Cindy Simms from her superintendent job at Mercer Island. That is repulsive and disgusting.

My daughter is scheduled to start kindergarten next fall in the Steamboat Springs school district. The thought that a man like that can have any influence at any level upon my daughter bothers me.

Of course, the other part of the story is exactly how did emails from the school district's email server reach the newspaper? I do not know enough to say if Donna Howell should stay or go. If she requested a history of Dr D's emails on the school's servers then she needs to go. We cannot have a superintendent that searched archived district records that then results in disclosing personal emails to the local newspaper in order to fight a political battle with the school board.

But Dr D just needs to go. By his own words he is immoral and unethical and thus should not be o the school board. Though, I'd have to say he now appears well qualified to be on the Steamboat Springs City Council.

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okie 7 years, 3 months ago

The Truth comes out. The tyrant has finally been exposed. Yes all you parents should be horrified, because this is how your wonderful Dr. D. has treated children also, and I am saying this as a parent who had children in the school system 10 years ago. Anyone who does not agree with the wonderful egotistical Dr. D. is considered beneath him. Good luck to you all! To the people who are saying why bother, it happened two years ago, NO!!!!!!!! It has happened during his whole career in Steamboat and is still happening now.

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freshair 7 years, 3 months ago

The man certainly knows how to hold a 'grudge' against those perceived as 'unfriendlies'. Even more damning is his admitted lying. Not someone we need to be serving the public in any capacity.

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another_local 7 years, 3 months ago

He not only admits lying but brags about it and clearly feels justified in doing it to reach his goals. This is not somebody that can be trusted in a role of public responsibility.

Time for Dr D to go.

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Andyeast 7 years, 3 months ago

SO, Call for his resignation. Instead of complaining about him. Demand that he step down from the school board. How does that song go? "A little less talk and a little more ACTION!"

I will lead the million man march to get him out if it will mean we can get on with the real issues that face our school district and STOP all of this petty arguing.

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Gadfly 7 years, 3 months ago

11,000 people in Steamboat and this nasty little psycho is the best we can find for a school board member?

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sbspowderhound 7 years, 3 months ago

Dr D is good for the School Board. I would vote for him again.

Printing these emails is a petty move by the Pilot.

Lets see if we can dig up anything on the former SSSD employee that bolted in a petty manner for a better job at TIC....oh wait she is the wife of Stanford...doubt it will be looked into!

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gwendolyn 7 years, 3 months ago

Petty?

Completely out of line for ANYONE to communicate in this manner to others, much less to someone in another state who's trying to ALSO damage someone's career!

As for the Stanford's, give me a break. What the crap does Scott's wife have to do with any of this b.s. dished out by DeVincentis? Good grief. He made his own bed and the rest of the school board members have been completely negligent in dealing with him.

Last I checked, Kelly Stanford isn't/wasn't on the school board. And if you want something on Kelly, it's probably 'out there'. She made mistakes (like we all do) but she sure didn't try to ruin anyone's career or behave in this kind of manner towards anyone. She did her job and did it in what she thought was the best interests of students.

The level of behavior of DeVincentis is beyond jaw-dropping.

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Gladys 7 years, 3 months ago

I don't know about the new supt, but getting rid of Simms was definitely a good move. Any derogatory statements made about her were most likely true.

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reallocal 7 years, 3 months ago

Pow and Gladys,

Your loyalty is touching. Really. It's your common sense (or lack thereof) that's disturbing. The fact of the matter is that DeVincentis forced many qualified and excellent teachers into early retirement so that he could replace them with his cronies. No wonder he was much loved by his staff. Unfortunately, his antics have not been enough to motivate the public to do what they needed to, which is recall DeVincentis or demand his resignation. While these emails are petty, and maybe even publishing them was, I regret to say that this is one instance where the ends justify the means. The children of SSSD deserve so much better, and once this mess is cleared up we will have an extraordinary board of dedicated community members who actually want to contribute positively toward solutions in our district. No wonder we can't find anyone to serve right now-would anyone want to be on this board while DeVincentis is seated? I know I wouldn't want a voodoo doll in my honor. While many people may have taken issue with Simms and the past administration, these personal attacks are beyond reprehensible. And statements made about her daughter are even lower. We are talking about a senior in high school here. How would you like it if a business rival attacked your children? Why do we allow people in a publically funded position to get away with more than they would in the private sector? If anything, DeVincentis should be held to a higher standard than would a company's executive. It's obvious that he falls far short of expectations, regardless of which yardstick used. John, you have one last chance to retain that iota of dignity remaining for both your reputation and that of SSSD. Resign.

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gwendolyn 7 years, 3 months ago

The good ol' boy network has to stop patting him on the back, first. Doubtful he'll resign as long as the guffaws and back-slapping continues...

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student 7 years, 3 months ago

i am a student at steamboat springs high school. i was simply looking at the pilot to read the article about my soccer team when i came across an article about Dr. D. he was my elementary teacher for five years. I read this article (i have no back ground knowledge about this whole situation) but i am embarrased that this is even posted in the paper. I looked up to him as an adult leader for five years. through elementary school we were taught to look up to adults with respect. Is this respectful at all? Yes, it might be true that he wrote those emails, but is it neccasary to post them in a Paper!? What you are doing to him is horrible and it makes you no better then him. I am a ninth grader for peete sakes and i feel like a bunch of adults are being totally irrational. This situation definitly needs to be solved, what he did was wrong, but this is absolutly not the way to solve it! Not only is it embarrasing him, but it is embarrasing the whole town!

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gwendolyn 7 years, 3 months ago

Sorry you are embarrassed -- but the reality is simple: the situation would continue as status quo if not openly and quite publicly revealed. He can't be forced to resign, as far as I know, and based on past behavior won't go willingly. Therefore, the public needs to know about it so THEY can be involved in righting this wrong.

As for the town, well, it deserves to be embarrassed. His district put him in power and were either misled or of similar thinking. Now, they must choose which side they want to stand on. What happens next says a whole lot more about this community than you could even begin to imagine.

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Scott Stanford 7 years, 3 months ago

All:

You can find my response to some of the questions raised here in my Blog:

http://www2.steamboatpilot.com/weblogs/from-the-editor/2007/apr/06/the-devincentis-e-mails/

As always, I welcome your feedback.

Scott Stanford (970) 871-4221 sstanford@steambatpilot.com

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Andyeast 7 years, 3 months ago

Well, a few things that I wonder about... Just because Dr. D. told McGowan how to get under Simms skin, does it mean that he followed through? My best guess is that these two were simply venting with one another. Is there any evidence that McGowan actually carried out any of Dr. D's "advice".

Would any of us want our emails published? Probably not. Several leaps are being made here that may or may not be substantiated.

Just because people talk about someone negatively and ways to stir up trouble doesn't mean that the recipient actually followed through on it.

Is there any evidence that McGowan is as crazy as Dr. D appears to be? - Maybe.. Maybe not.. Based on the few quotes from McGowan is doesn't seem like he is as crazy as John, but then again, we don't really know because the quotes from John are very very negative. McGowan's seem to sort of be less venemous, or at least based on the ones published..... Do we really believe that these two are trying to destroy Simms? Maybe John, but I am not convinced that McGowan was up to the same antics.... I could be wrong....

One side note.. Who was sent on the fishing mission to get the emails off of John's computer after he retired. That seems to be a very interesting question...

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geezer 7 years, 3 months ago

Touting Dr. D's freedoms of speach while bashing the Pilot appears to be hypocritical at best. Nonetheless, with freedom comes responsibility.

Defending anyone who says "I can't imagine being married to her. I would have been arrested for battering and abuse," is shameful and irresponsible. Dr. D is in the public eye and should know better to say anything so disgusting, much less even think it!

On the other hand, the Pilot should consider how its reporting (regardless of source) affects this community, particularly the children. Let us listen to "student," who, sounding more adult than most folks addressing this issue, states that the situation needs to be solved. Bravo!

While I appreciate the ability to read other people's opinion in this forum (and humbly offer my own), I would like information from the Pilot on appropriate measures concerning ultimate resolution. Therefore, I ask the Pilot to publish an article on what concerned community members can do to address the apparent hate-mongering by one entrusted to represent the best interests of our children. There is a process, let us hear about that.

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Gladys 7 years, 3 months ago

Maybe you should read my post again reallocal. Strictly about Simms - she was horrible and I was happy to see her go.

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JQPUBLIC 7 years, 3 months ago

A few of these posters need to be on the wrong end of a witch hunt to know how it feels to have your reputation and career ruined by the lies and actions of a self-righteous, sanctimonius, self-appointed judge of what is best for everyone. These are the type of people you cannot fight on a level playing field, you must expose them for the nasty underhanded people they actually are; if it takes exposing emails, so be it. If either of these women gave the emails to the paper, more power to 'em, they have every right to fight back and to fight dirty, at least they are doing it with the truth. I don't know this Dr. D, my kids are grown, but it does sound like his time has come to retire and let the board work with the truth instead of his personal agenda.

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kt 7 years, 3 months ago

Very Disappointed in the Steamboat Pilot & Today!! I think this was handled very inappropriately, but I don't think this will be the last time; the paper seems to handle many situations improperly.

I am so sorry our kids had to see this mornings paper in their schools.! Dr. DeVincentis has served this community for over 20 years in many different facets. Maybe, JUST maybe, he has seen something during his years on the School Board, which I haven't seen, isn't that why 70% of the voters trusted him to be in this position? Yes! It was his experience, and concern for our kids! Maybe he knows more than the emails are telling.

I can't tell you how many times I have run into him in the halls of Soda Creek, just checking in on things!. I appreciate what he has done for my kids, and our school district! I wish more people (like one of the 11,000 someone mentioned!) had the time and experience to step up and take on a thankless position like this. I know I don't have the time or experience! DOES SCOTT STANFORD? Maybe he could be a little more productive on a School Board, instead of dragging down the people who are willing to provide their time and expertise! I am not sure how this will impact our district, but I will be very disillusioned, if we lose Dr. D. over this. Dr. D. may have said some inappropriate things, but I do not want to seem him resign or released.

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Brian Bavosi 7 years, 3 months ago

I do not have any children but the article in the paper has fired me up b/c of the madness that is known as Dr.D. I have never met the man but having lived in town for ten years can tell you that there is always "some" truth in what is printed in the news. I have to say that many of you who have commented are really missing the big picture....This man was elected, and to imagine anyones vote for him was intended to elect someone who is clearly unstable is the craziest part of this whole thing. The remarks made in his emails are irreprehensible and expose the true inner thoughts of a person who has lost the intent of ethical and moral responsibilities required of all elected and non-elected officials.

This Board Member's control of policy and governmental outcome is the exact same power that our City Council controls. I would tell you that the reaction of such hostile words and actions from a councilman would not be tolerated by other council members or the public.

Regardless of the past positive influence on any of the children or organizations in Steamboat Springs, based on the current public perception, Dr. D. must resign.

I feel it is time to recognize that the personal agendas of this elected official have strayed from the desired needs and expectations of the voters who have elcted him. I applaud the pilot and today for sticking to their guns and also offering Dr. D the opportunity to get involved before it hit the fan. His arrogance in ignoring their requests only solidifies the notion that his own polotical gains and losses are more important than protecting his constituants representation.

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corduroy 7 years, 3 months ago

student: Why are you the only one on here who makes any sense! At least some students are getting some positive out of our school system. I agree, it is embarrassing to Steamboat Springs as a whole that the only news in town lately is adult arguments that turn into catfights. We are supposed to be adults here, setting an example for our children. Barely any of the scratching and biting in this catfight has done anything more than make adults look like toddlers.

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geezer 7 years, 3 months ago

What am I missing? Dr. D's statements, if true, are offensive and not just "inappropriate." However, this only gives rise to this community's inquiry of his fitness to be a school board member; it is not a final verdict.

His resignation or release is better left to the established process and all allegations should be investigated. Dr. D should also be afforded the opportunity to defend himself.

I would be interested to know what a school board member would do to a superintendent who made comments such those made by Dr. D (again, assuming he did indeed make the statements).

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fmrstudentlxa 7 years, 3 months ago

As a former student, I find it unnerving that a trusted school official would lash out in such a fashion. Having grown up in the Steamboat School system and spending a year working for the district I find myself extremely disappointed to learn of the malicious comments made by Mr. DeVincentis. I also am disappointed that there is still unwavering support from parents for a man that seems to be so insecure that he must undercut fellow employees to feel important and keep the spotlight on himself. I hope that this issue is resolved in a timely fashion and that DeVincentis can perhaps show himself to be a man of character and consider stepping down as the president of the school board.

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JustSomeJoe 7 years, 3 months ago

I think the school district and the school board would be a better place without John DeVincentis. Do the right thing John and resign, today. There's no room in our system for your type of "leadership".

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concernedparent 7 years, 3 months ago

If Dr. D does not resign, we have the ability to do a recall. Elected by 3373 votes, a recall can occur with 1350 valid signatures. Are we, as a community ready to do this? Our children's education comes first. A newly elected group of concerned community members for the School Board should be our top priority in November -community members without hidden agendas.

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citizenjohnq 7 years, 3 months ago

"Wise men store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin." -Proverbs 10:14 NIV

"A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly." -Proverbs 12:23 NIV

"Watch your words and hold your tongue; you'll save yourself a lot of grief." -Proverbs 21:23 MSG

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Brian Bavosi 7 years, 3 months ago

that is certainly easier than original thought and i don't think it will save Dr. D

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ardowden 7 years, 3 months ago

The materials on DeVincentis is for many, many of us just a case of "suspicions confirmed". This man is nothing more than a disgrace. I have watched Donna Howell and her performance since the day she arrived and we should all be thankful to have a Superintendent of that quality and dedication. Shame on the School Board for allowing things to get to this point. Shame on all of them!

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citizenjohnq 7 years, 3 months ago

Brian, I was quoting the Bible to show Dr. D's error(s). He should have held his tongue. Now that he hasn't, he's brought on himself trouble. And, no, quite obviously it won't save Dr. D, it wasn't meant to.

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Socrates 7 years, 3 months ago

I don't believe the community feels the school district is being mismanaged by Dr. Howell.

We are a community that funds a 1/2 cent sales tax, provided a quarter million dollars in private donations for the turf field and voted to build a new elementary school and support instructor salaries. On CSAPs, we have one of the highest performing schools districts in the state.

Our elected officials were not charged with creating strife, inviting lawsuits and causing district employees and school board members to resign en masse.

What exactly is the problem with the school board? They should be translating the vast community support and their excellent management team (hired by a previous, competent board) into an even better education system.

Being a principal of a 300 student elementary school for 20 years does not equip a person to manage a 20 million dollar, multi-tiered, heavily staffed, publicly funded enterprise.

I would sign a recall petition.

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Brian Bavosi 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm hoping that a petition will be going soon b/c anymore publicity for this individiual only plays into his twisted game

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reallocal 7 years, 3 months ago

Many people on this board seem to think that these were released in an attempt to mar DeVincentis' reputation. Consider this: everyone seems to agree on one thing. The constant bickering and undermining that have characterized the current board and adminstration have to stop. The common denominator in every major problem has been DeVincentis. That was the purpose of releasing these emails. Unfortunately, DeVincentis will not give up when any glimmer of hope exists. Therefore, the only solution to this problem is to force him out of his office, either by recall or by resignation. I doubt anyone wanted to resort to this to force him out, but they obviously did this in the best interests of the community so that our district can move past this difficult phase and begin picking up the pieces to assemble a district we can all be proud of.

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ElBorracho 7 years, 3 months ago

That DeVincentis would use his school e-mail account to write e-mails like these just shows the unbeliveable size of this man's ego, not to mention his utter lack of professionalism. And for those complaining about how these e-mails were given to the paper by someone in the district -- how on earth can you even raise that concern when you look at what Dr. D was doing in his own e-mails?!?! Talk about scheming and underhanded. Whoever gave the e-mails to the paper just served Dr. D a big, fat taste of his own medicine. Turnabout is fair play, reap what you sow and all that.

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beentheredonethat 7 years, 3 months ago

time for the "friends of Dr. D" to step up and either defend their man or disavow themselves of him.

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Andyeast 7 years, 3 months ago

So.... How do we know FOR SURE that these emails are even real? Yes, they are printed hard copies of alleged e-mails, but do we know, in fact that they are real?- Who verified them? Are we simply believeing someone who says, "Yep, they are real."

How do we know that the paper really talked to this McGowan character in Washington? What proof do we have that these emails were even every really written?

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SteamboatJoe 7 years, 3 months ago

Excellent question Andy, one Scott Standford did not answer in his blog. While I agree Dr. D should resign, the paper could have easily made this article valid by exposing the validity of their source. It is interesting that Dr. D was given several chances to review/discuss the article before it was printed and he ignored any communication with the paper. That says a lot about him.

Does this mean if Dr. D goes, Gleason will consider returning to serve the board? I hope so.

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rabbit 7 years, 3 months ago

Congratulations to the Pilot for doing exactly what it should do--open a door on a serious situation which otherwise would never be known by most of us. This paper keeps getting more and more relevant, and I would say better and better.

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jaunty 7 years, 3 months ago

There are many current and former employees of the Steamboat Springs School District who are very relieved that Cyndy Simms finally left before she could totally destroy the faculty.

She was a nasty, petty, vindictive, untruthful person.

If the current atmosphere of freedom of speech and newspaper coverage of the School Board and administration had been around in the 1990s, she would have left a lot sooner than she did.

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portagetheyampa 7 years, 3 months ago

HOW did it ever come to this??? We residents of Steamboat(I have been one for more than 30 years) have always been proud of our schools and thankful our children were able to learn in such a great academic environment.

All my children attended SPE under John's principalship. They liked him and so did I. As a community professional I had many professional dealings with John for a numbers of years and those were always positive. I supported him running for the RE-2 School Board.

John's email comments about Cyndy Simms are deplorable and, frankly, disgusting. And that he utilized a business computer to impart his feelings, most likely during work hours, impresses me as highly unprofessional. To carry a grudge and anger, as he appears to still maintain, renders his effectiveness on as a productive member of our school board, quite useless and certainly counterproductive to the goal of educating our children.

Likewise, I have known and liked Pat Gleason for many years and I am very disappointed to learn of his resignation from the school board.

Those who decry the Pilot's printing of John's emails, opining that emails are somehow sacredly private, convey naivete with their respective lightbulb "off." In our electronic, technological age every email can be scrutinized. Hence, each of us has to take responsibility (you know, that admission, "I did it," that seems to have gotten lost amidst the "lawyering up") for what our fingers type into those communications.

Our children are the future and our education of them is such a priority!

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plainjane 7 years, 3 months ago

There are many current and past school district employees who respect Dr. Simms and were sorry to see her run out of town by DeVincentis. Too many people stood by and watched that happen. The community needs to do the right thing and ensure that we have a school board comprised of honest, dedicated and sane members. If DeVincentis had a shred of decency, he would have already resigned from the Board today!

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Andyeast 7 years, 3 months ago

Steamboat is CRAZY! - Do we have anything better to worry about? I gotta get OUT of this town. This is pathetic.

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dodobird 7 years, 3 months ago

I think the Pilot needs to step back on THEIR OWN agendas (and where is that lawsuit scandal anyway?)

And are "the people" in this section commenting on their own experiences or are they commenting on the (slanted) opinions of the Pilot? It's a shame because the paper itself has a lot to offer, but then they report slander on people. Why didn't the paper report the excellent work of the proud students who presented a issue about recycling & being environmentally correct?

I trust the new school board does not have their own agenda, and know a lot more than I do about what the REAL issues are in the schools.

I have heard they are out & about actively SEEKING information about what's best for YOUR kids. They are a long lost needed voice. We (the people) elect the school and they speak for us (the people) and the super. works for "the people - through the board." I think the new school board not only listens, but hears us--the people.

And those who personally know any of the current board member, know they ONLY have and has ALWAYS had the best interest of YOUR kids in mind - especially the past successful Principal, who my kids still adore and miss greatly.

Remember, he who casts the first stone........

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fmrstudentlxa 7 years, 3 months ago

Those who keep revolving the topic around Simms and Howell are doing the same thing Dr. De was and is doing. The focus of this argument is his inappropriate comments and actions. An administrator at any level is expected to handle himself with proper decorum. DeVincentis' actions and comments were out of line. He talks about making sure you can "listen in" on exec. meetings. I wonder how he would react if one were to do the same to him? A person in power will always do whatever it takes to expand that power or to keep it. As a former student: to look back and find that this posturing was going on makes me think about how his obsession with getting Cyndy Simms removed affected his work with the school. Judging from the evaluations it affected it a great degree. What Dr. D should do is prove to the students that the morals we teach are worth something. He should resign. If he doesn't then the board needs to show a vote of no confidence in this coward of a man who is School Board President

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citizenjohnq 7 years, 3 months ago

Denise Connelly is school board president, not DeVincentis. And I agree that DeVencintis has shown poor moral character, and set a horrible example for the entire community. Vodoo? Are you serious? Out of the mouth comes the overflow of the heart. I also can't help but sort-of chuckle at this email situation: I would liken the ravings in the emails to that of Dr. Evil or any other 'Bond'-type villan, declaring his entire plan when he thinks the fat lady has sung.

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ElBorracho 7 years, 3 months ago

DODOBIRD SAID: "It's a shame because the paper itself has a lot to offer, but then they report slander on people. Why didn't the paper report the excellent work of the proud students who presented a issue about recycling & being environmentally correct?"

You're kidding, right??? You clearly support Dr. D yet don't seem to see that the only "slander" here comes straight from the e-mails of Dr. D himself. If you think this article makes him look bad, think again: He's being hoisted by his own petard.

And why didn't the paper report about the kids' recycling project?

Hmmm ... well, it could be because this is an issue that relates directly to two (or three, depending on how you count) of the most powerful people in the school district and their relationship with each other. They ARE the ones responsible for making sure kids have all those cool opportunities like the recycling project you mentioned. They ARE the ones responsible for making sure what's best happens for the kids, but Dr. D only seems interested in watching out for what's best for HIM personally, ethics and professionalist be damned. How much is this current witch hunt of his costing, and even more importantly, how badly is it distracting from the REAL work the board and superintendent should be doing?!?

And about he who casts the first stone. Well, looks like John's got that job cornered, trying to sabatoge Cyndy from thousands of miles away. Don't tell me he was worried about the poor little children in Washington. He was just hoping to take another shot at her. Personal vendetta. That is all.

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reallocal 7 years, 3 months ago

So who's "Boatthroat" anyway? Just for fun, let's see if we can get 70% of the voting population to sign the recall petition. Man, talk about irony...

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lavicats 7 years, 3 months ago

Dr. John's self-centered personal biases uncovered are despicable for an adult, an educator and professional. I am ashamed that I was one of the 70% that supported his place on the school board. He should resign before he is recalled.

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steamboatsconscience 7 years, 3 months ago

The Pilot needs to reveal the "anonymous " source of these e mails, it will probably reveal another personal vendetta. How about it Scott? Freedom of Information works both ways.

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steamboatsconscience 7 years, 3 months ago

i think this is all kind of dumb. just chill. politics suck

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Andyeast 7 years, 3 months ago

I checked... The emails are all a lie! Someone made up much of what was printed. Yes, they did email one another, but the malicious nature of the emails was MADE UP.. Nice job, Pilot. How athetic to destroy a town with your lies! You need to do a BETTER job of getting the facts.

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jeannie berger 7 years, 3 months ago

Andyeast, who did you check with? What are your sources. The big D just told everyone that he is responsible for the emails. I agree with reallocal, he's gotta go, sooner rather than later.

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SSPerson 7 years, 3 months ago

Thank you Pilot for reporting this story. If you end up revealing your source, or the source comes forward, I want to be first in line to thank them as well. As voters, we are limited to the information that we have to make "good" decisions. Unfortunately, I did not have enough information to make a "good" decision last November and regret voting for that candidate. But I am certainly glad that I have the information needed when I am approached with a recall petition.

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Socrates 7 years, 3 months ago

Generally, when people are slandered or libeled, they don't offer an apology, they file a lawsuit.

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wzwzwz 7 years, 3 months ago

Having worked for the district with both Dr D, and Dr Simms, I find the Emails from Dr D disturbing. Anyone in the position of setting policy for our kids education should be of the highest character. Unfortunatly, Dr D has shown his character does not come close to meeting the minumum of this standard.

An thin apology was only made after he was exposed, therefore holds no water.

Show us that you really care about your behavior John and resign. We need someone in your slot who will act in our kids best interest, not pursue personal vendettas.

Pat Gleason, please reconsider.

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dundalk 7 years, 3 months ago

..."I checked... The emails are all a lie! Someone made up much of what was printed. Yes, they did email one another, but the malicious nature of the emails was MADE UP.." says poster Andyeast.

One question to you Andyeast. Does "Dr. D" make it a habit to apologize for things that are "all a lie"? Why would someone put himself on a chopping block, attempt to atone for all his transgressions and apologize for e-mails that were not accurate and true? Just curious.

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Andyeast 7 years, 3 months ago

I made that up to stir the pot. It is fun to hear all of you riled up!

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dundalk 7 years, 3 months ago

Ah...so your the little boy who cried wolf. Gotcha!

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