Steamboat Springs Dr. D was a brilliant educator. He instituted an educational process at Strawberry Park that started with clearly identified goals for educating students. Dr. D tested all students every year to assess progress that each of them made toward those goals. He critically assessed curriculum to assure that it appropriately led to desired results. Dr D integrated ethics and values education in everyday teaching. Dr D initiated performance awards in the District. He would reward outstanding efforts by staff with awards with financial value. Dr D also regularly surveyed staff and parents to gather information about direction for the school. He established an ongoing line of communication with parents and staff that was unsurpassed in the District. The bottom line was that Strawberry Park students were well educated and the school won awards for it.
In fact, all that Dr D established at Strawberry Park was exactly what the administration and the board were trying to establish in the entire district. Policy Governance allowed staff to execute educational processes without micromanagement from administration or board as Dr D demonstrated. Pay for performance was intended to recognize outstanding performance of staff. Curriculum was changed to accommodate content standards which were the goals-for-learning. All students were tested every year in every subject to assess results for each student against the content standards. The district conducted periodic surveys of staff and parents to assess direction. The Education Fund Board included representatives from all stakeholder groups to guide the district. In fact, it always bewildered me that some loyal Dr D supporters opposed what the district was trying to do.
However, Dr D had a compulsive opposition to authority. Although all that was going on at Strawberry Park was in line with district desires, Dr D systematically undermined the superintendent and perpetually displayed counter productive activity to his peers on the administrative team as they tried to implement in the district what he was doing at Strawberry Park.
Much of the negative activity by Dr D was hidden from the public because of an unwavering commitment to protecting personal performance issues of staff by administration and board. In 2002-03, Dr D's performance review by the superintendent was made public by Dr. D, not the administration nor the board.
Dr D had an uncanny ability to cultivate loyalty and shape public opinion. He was acutely aware of the protection from the "negative" that he was afforded and would continually test and reaffirm for himself that he remained protected. There were teachers who asked to be transferred from Strawberry Park because of Dr D. There were parents who requested a special audience with the superintendent because of Dr D's ham-handed approach to some issues.
As recent information has divulged, there is also a mean, vile and extremely vindictive streak to Dr D as well. He apparently even confessed to lying to suit his purposes. This is not news to the administration nor the board (now or past) nor his peers and this is not a one-time event. There are board members from the mid '90s that still live in Steamboat that can attest to the fact that Dr D has demonstrated forever a pattern of create a flap, apologize, create a flap, apologize, with one steadfast purpose - manipulate everything to get whatever Dr D wants and undermine authority.
So who is the real Dr D? The answer is both, with too much of the latter element that is so counter productive to district efforts that it overshadows positive gains.