DeVincentis: I am not that person

School Board member says he is not same as three years ago


The DeVincentis e-mails

Past Event

John DeVincentis public forum

  • Thursday, April 19, 2007, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Steamboat Springs High School, 45 Maple St., Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / Free



Steamboat Springs School Board member John DeVincentis, center, delivers a statement during an open forum held at Steamboat Springs High School on Tuesday. DeVincentis set up the forum to discuss his emails printed in the Steamboat Pilot & Today on April 5.

— The easy thing would have been to resign.

Instead, embattled Steamboat Springs School Board member John DeVincentis stood his ground, apologized for a series of harsh e-mails he sent about a former school district administrator three years ago and said he is willing to talk "face to face" with any community member interested in hearing the "real deal."

During a public forum Tuesday at Steamboat Springs High School, DeVincentis sat in the middle of a half-circle of chairs filled with six or seven community members, parents and former school district employees. The forum was an opportunity for DeVincentis to address the community personally since deciding not to communicate with the Steamboat Pilot & Today.

Some spoke of their disappointment in DeVincentis' actions, some thanked him for his apologies and some questioned why DeVincentis should remain on the board.

"I'm not resigning from the (School Board)," he said. "It's not out of stubbornness or to be contrary."

DeVincentis said several times that he has been "humiliated" and "humbled" at reading his past words in the newspaper, and that he is seeking professional help to help him deal with what he characterized as "a fixating anger."

"I believe the purpose in life is to always improve," DeVincentis said. "You're always improving emotionally and mentally to really understand yourself, to be the best person you can on the last day of your life. In a short time I have learned a lot about me. I have really, really focused on myself. Myself alone. And I didn't like what I saw. I can honestly say I am not that person I was three years ago."

Despite DeVincentis' public apologies, there still is a faction of former School Board members and his past supporters pursuing a recall. DeVincentis said that is their right.

"I don't view a recall as a threat," he said. "I was elected through a democratic process, and if the public chooses to replace me, my feelings won't be hurt," DeVincentis said. "They can choose someone else. If that happens, I can walk downtown proudly and say I stood up for myself. It would have been very easy to resign. I wrote a letter of resignation but decided not to turn it in because you don't get slapped a couple times in the face and slink away. I've never backed down from a bully, ever."

Randall Craig, a father of two school district students, said he is concerned DeVincentis' presence on the board could be detrimental to the future of the district because of his past actions and the board's decision to pursue an internal investigation to determine whether district policies were violated in releasing the e-mails.

"Why should I not recall you?" Craig asked. "Your actions were neither ethical nor professional as someone representative of our community. What's relevant now is that you're being recalled. Why should you be on the board? Why are you more valuable than a replacement?"

DeVincentis replied that his knowledge of the "system," 23-year employment and positive effects he has had on the community in the past will continue to make him a valuable asset and productive member of the school board.

"My relationship with the remaining : board members is excellent, and I believe I will continue to be productive," he said.

DeVincentis praised recent training and mediation as driving forces in improving School Board and district communication, and attributes that communication to a healthy School Board meeting Monday night.

"I felt like for the first time, we were in sync," he said of Monday's meeting. "My No. 1 goal now is to create a much better working environment for everybody."

Longtime Steamboat Springs resident and high school basketball coach Kelly Meek expressed his disappointment in DeVincentis but also praised his legacy. Meek also called for whoever released the e-mails to come forward.

"For the healthiness of the district, have the integrity and put your name on it," he said. "Don't just sneak it out and run. Everyone has the right to face their accuser."

Community member Elisa-beth Mullen concurred and commended DeVincentis for not "taking the easy road out."

"I think this is a lesson for our children. He's a leader, he's stepping up, and he's fallible," she said. "I'm glad you didn't resign, that you didn't step down and leave town as some are horrifically suggesting."

DeVincentis answered all the questions asked of him and addressed comments other community members had, and said he would continue to do so since he isn't in communication with the public via the newspaper. Another forum is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. tonight and Thursday at the high school.

-To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail


reallocal 10 years, 1 month ago

I am one of DeVincentis' former students. There is nothing that he can say to me to offer me an acceptable explaination. Again, he is relying on his charisma to carry him through. Let's rely on common ethics and morals here: I personally asked him if he was sorry for the comments he made. The best he could offer was, more or less, that he was sorry of their reprocutions. Doesn't mean much to me. It would, actually, appear to be representative of his main operational tacic: Perform for the public while keeping his true sexist and self-rightous feelings to himself. If only he hadn't been so centered on the sexist part. By this point it has become apparent, or is his personal agenda really to blame. Parents still supporting DeVincentis shoud be ashamed. He has been a great administrator in the past. He is NOT a good school board member now. That is what we are recalling him on.


another_local 10 years, 1 month ago

Yes John, you ARE that person.

John is his own accusor; he does not seem able to face that. If he did, he would realize that he has to reswign rather than forcing recall in defense of his vanity.


beentheredonethat 10 years, 1 month ago

It is a lack of courage that is preventing DeVincentis from resigning.


David Taylor 10 years, 1 month ago

Mr. DeVincentis, YOU are the bully on the playground. It's time for the community to stop backing down from you.


cclamo 10 years, 1 month ago

It's apparent Mr. DeVincentis has neither the integrity nor ethics required to serve on the Board. If he is "not the same person" as he insists, then he should do what would be a turn-around for him and gracefully resign. His plowing on requiring a recall is just evidence that nothing about him has changed. To him, it's all about him with no concern of the damage he's doing.


beentheredonethat 10 years, 1 month ago

John says: "I can walk downtown proudly and say I stood up for myself........

so that is what it is all about, your ego gratification. Instead it is supposed to be about creating the best learning environment for our children.

the definition of narcissist? John DeVincentis


Books 10 years, 1 month ago

Wow, this the first time, in a long time, that the Pilot has reported the news about Dr. D fairly. I was expecting another slam job. I only hope Alexis doesn't get fired over this. As for realocal and anotherlocal, both of you need to get a life. Anyone who can spend the whole day writing nasty letters doesn't have enough to do. There are many ways you can help your community that would be more productive. Most of the people who are getting trashed or praised in the newspaper everyday are volunteering their time to try to make our community a better place. You could too.


Tall_Poppy 10 years, 1 month ago

But Books.... Was your irony intended?

"[quote Books] Anyone who can spend the whole day writing nasty letters doesn't have enough to do."
Dr. D also spent significant periods of his time writing nasty letters (via e-mail)!

"[quote Books] Anyone who can spend the whole day writing nasty letters doesn't have enough to do. "
Would that Dr. D devoted less time to vituperative letters and more time to what he was paid to do.

"[quote Books] There are many ways you can help your community that would be more productive."
And this is precisely the problem. Dr. D has single handedly removed the focus from productive action and placed it on himself and his personal anger-driven agenda.


marathon 10 years, 1 month ago

Imus is a nice person too and has made changes. He received appropriate consequences for his actions. Dr. D. of all people should know and understand the need for appropriate consequences, obviously it doesn't apply to himself. He is a legend in his own mind now and certainly a horrible example for our children - what is with the school Board President - doesn't she understand the need to set an example - instead she goes after who leaked? give me a break - maybe we need a new Board President???? Or maybe she is starting a new class on teaching our students how to avoid the issue by diverting with another?


linus 10 years, 1 month ago

I'm glad John has the courage to hang in there. The hypocrites who tried to destroy him are way more vindictive than he ever was. They're calling up their old cronies all over the world trying to get them to write in. Like the guy from Savannah who just had to write in to call John "vile." Personally, I think it's vile to write a letter to the newspaper calling someone "vile." The other side of this story will come out and it's not going to be pretty. Plenty of people know how those e-mails were taken off John's computer. If Gleason and his group want to do a recall then that's their right. But it's a waste of time and money and a distraction to what the Board needs to be doing. And real local, the word is repercussions, not 'reprocutions.' Another local, it's accuser not 'accusor.' Are you the same person or what? Guess you didn't learn that much at Strawberry Park.


linus 10 years, 1 month ago

p.s. Tall Poppy - good point about the irony from Books. But then doesn't that apply to these bloggers who go on about Dr. D. day after day? They're doing what he did except I bet they've spent a lot more time at it. Maybe they should follow Dr. D.'s example and do a little self-examination. Also, he didn't single-handedly remove the focus from productive action. Someone else put two year old e-mails in the paper that didn't need to be there. I won't be hanging around to read the lectures from the locals. Gotta go.


Brita Horn 10 years, 1 month ago

Nail on the head! beentheredonethat quote "the definition of narcissist?" Check out and go thru the check list. Make your own decision. Bullies on the playground of life are never forgotten and those who have danced with them before can see them coming before they turn the corner. Watch your back Steamboat!


JQPUBLIC 10 years, 1 month ago

"he is willing to talk "face to face" with any community member interested in hearing the "real deal."... the real deal according to Dr. D and that doen't give it much credibility. DeVincentis sat in the middle of a half-circle of chairs filled with six or seven... doesn't sound like too many were in the mood to be appeased by the real deal according to John. "he is seeking professional help to help him deal with what he characterized as "a fixating anger."... this is the old stand by that is supposed to fix everything and frankly it's been a bit over used by public figures and celebs lately. "I'm not resigning" and If recalled "I can walk downtown proudly and say I stood up for myself... he will say anything it takes to be forgiven but that ego comes out unscathed.


Ilike2dv8 10 years, 1 month ago

It's not the same town it used to be: All this rhetoric is incredibly sad, Dr. D. did this, and the administration did that: what a terrible joke. Each and every one of these people/entity's should be ashamed from the newspaper to the school board to the administration to the parents and even the teachers. They have all made a mockery out of our school system. They have waged war in the newspaper for years (literally); it's embarrassing, immature and a ridicules waste of time and energy. I have always been a strong supporter of the public school system but it doesn't take much understanding to know why private schools are on the rise. Perhaps the saddest part is the things being said on the street and on these blogs, I stand amazed at the incredibly self righteous people who rant and rave their hate for one another. It is definitely not the kind and understanding town it used to be.


marathon 10 years, 1 month ago

so Ilike2dv8 - its just fine with you that a leader in our educational system can write e-mails like that on school computers? Even worse that our town elected someone like that who thinks those kind of thoughts? And its ok to lie??? If the town is standing up to this - then good job town for not being "like it used to be". Time for your head in the sand aproach to move south and outta here! I want my kids to learn good values - can't do it with Dr. D's attitude about people and life.


Andyeast 10 years, 1 month ago

So, what all of you are saying is that we don't value letting someone improve and change?

DO you want the same for your kids? What if the school did NOTHING to let those who fail improve? Do you not want your kids to be allowed a second chance for impropper actions they take?

Yes, John is a visible cmunity member who is supposed to be a role model. He has failed.. But do we send the message to the youth and to other adults that if you fail in this town you have no opportunity to improve? Maybe we do. Maybe we should cast off anyone who makes a mistake , police officers - The ones who didn't really respond to that rental house that was destroyed... Maybe to the dispatcher who didn't really relay the info. correctly or urgently enough. They didn't do their job. so , let's write them off?

COME ON! -This is a huge soap opera over something that was three years ago and YES, people do change.... Maybe he hasn't, but do we not owe people the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to change?


autumnwitch 10 years, 1 month ago

I find it sad that there are those that are willing to blame the newspaper for publishing the imcriminating e-mails-lets shoot the messenger, huh? How very ostrich of you all. John is all talk and no action. He gives a lot of lip service, but amazingly...never changes!!! How shocking!!! Does anyone who supports him truly believe that the rest of us have no clue? We are speaking from experience, not just blowing smoke out our collective rearends. We know. Check the board minutes from the past several years, if you have the guts to face the truth, and you will see what your god hath done.


another_local 10 years, 1 month ago

"But do we send the message to the youth and to other adults that if you fail in this town you have no opportunity to improve"

How about: Do we send the message that when you behave in an unacceptable way as an adult there are no consequences....

Yes, this series of emails took place three years ago, but the activity continues. In the emails he details how to use surveys and fight closed hearings as a means to undermine an administrator; sound familiar? He states before he was elected that he planed to go after Howell; has that happened?

I was told (but have no way to verify) that his masters thesis included the subject of removing ditrict administrators and the use of surveys. If true, this would indicate a long standing antagonism to authority and a pre-disposition not suited to the role he currently occupies.


autumnwitch 10 years, 1 month ago

Hmmm...who else have we heard about lately who has a problem with "a fixating anger". I hope this community doesn't have to go through the same thing that the college town in Blacksburg Virginia is going through.


gwendolyn 10 years, 1 month ago

Title: The current status of school public relations programs in Pennsylvania / by John Andrew DeVincentis.

Author: DeVincentis, John Andrew, 1947-

Publisher: 1980.

Physical Description: 3, vii, 223 leaves ; 29 cm.

Notes: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Pittsburgh, 1980. Bibliography: leaves 170-175. Major: Educational Administration.

Location: STORAGE: From record page, click REQUESTS button; use BOOKS Call Number: Thesis Ph.D. Status: Not Checked Out


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