Steamboat Springs School Board member and former Strawberry Park principal John DeVincentis issued an apology Saturday morning for e-mails he sent in 2004 and 2005 that were highly critical of Cyndy Simms, a former Steamboat Springs Superintendent. Asked if he had any plans to resign from the School Board, DeVincentis said, "the letter speaks for itself." His letter states, "In the future I will serve as the board member the public expects and deserves."
Also Saturday, Pat Gleason, who resigned from the School Board last week, sent the newspaper a copy of a letter to School Board President Denise Connelly. Gleason advises Connelly to call for DeVincentis resignation for the good of the district. If she does not, Gleason said, both DeVincentis and Connelly will face a recall effort.
The following is his letter as submitted to the Steamboat Pilot & Today.
There are no words for the regret I feel about the comments I made in anger after what was, for me, a very traumatic year. In 2004-2005, when I wrote those e-mails, I felt that I had been treated unprofessionally for a stand I took in supporting parents concern regarding the issue of class size. Looking back at these e-mails now I realize that I also acted, in this regard, in an unprofessional manner. These e-mails were meant to be private, and I did not intend to make them public or to hurt anyone. But, I do now see how they are hurtful. I wish to apologize to Dr. Simms and her family for the way that they come across.
I used emails to vent my anger with a teacher who had emailed me stating he was facing similar problems with her on Mercer Island. Looking back, I wish that I had dealt with his situation differently and can honestly say that I have learned a great deal from this unfortunate disclosure of private communications.
I still believe that there are reasons for change in our district and that we are moving in a direction that will be more beneficial to the children of our district. I also recognize the harm and conflict that this has created in the district. I deeply regret that and that my friends and family have had to read this in the newspaper. I am very sorry to have acted so poorly, no matter the reasons of how I was feeling at the time.
I have not moved for the superintendent's removal. I will honor the board's wishes in that regard and will support any decision related to her tenure.
I will continue to serve the board and will reflect on my past actions and words. I will seek the advice and support from friends in the community and my family. I will work cooperatively with the Board and the superintendent. I know my actions will be under close scrutiny, as they should be.
Please accept my apology to all those involved. In the future I will serve as the board member the public expects and deserves. There are several goals, as a Board that we still need to accomplish: the completion of our building projects, improvement of staff morale, a better communication system within our district, enhancing our ability to respond better to our staff, parents, children and community members, and continuing to attract and retain the best staff for our children, gifted and talented, and elementary school Spanish. In the future, I will work towards these goals, and I vow to leave the past behind. It is the time to serve the needs of our District and students. Everything else is secondary.