A rebuttal to FWISD board member Ann Sutherland

06/17/2014 6:22 PM

06/17/2014 6:24 PM

Tuesday morning, Ann Sutherland of the Fort Worth school board submitted an article to the Star-Telegram disparaging the life and family of Walter Dansby, former superintendent. I have had enough.

First, I was under the notion that an agreement had been reached that no further statements criticizing the board and or former superintendent would be given to the press. This article from a Fort Worth ISD board member certainly breaks this agreement and needs to receive a response.

Dansby is my friend and a superb educational leader whose main concern is the academic and social learning of students. He was certainly that way when he coached and was the principal of O.D. Wyatt High School. Where Sutherland gets her facts in criticizing this educational giant, I do not know, but the breaking of the agreement and these erroneous statements should necessitate her being removed from this board.

Fact 1: Dansby’s wife was an employee of the district for some 30-plus years and was employed when Sutherland became a board member. Sharon was a wonderful employee and should not be subjected to this fallacious statement about her and her daughters. Mrs. Dansby retired from the district shortly after her husband became superintendent.

By the way, his younger daughter was an employee of Advise TX, a TCU initiative that prepares students for college. This allowed her much time to work with FWISD students. She presently works for the Boys and Girls Club. None of the daughter’s salary comes from the FWISD budget. She is paid from a grant.

The Fort Worth minority and majority community should instruct Sutherland to make a public apology to the Dansby family. I worked with the district in central administration for some 30 years and I know that persons are hired in positions without the knowledge of the superintendent if that position does not need board approval. If she is complaining that individuals related to board members are hired, she should discuss this with other board members to seek a resolution, if one is needed.

Fact 2: Sutherland also accuses the former superintendent of unethical hiring practices. I have never in all my 40-plus years of working with public entities read so many falsehoods coming from a person who sits on a board and should know what is going on, and yet flagrantly present lies to the public. Speaking as a 73-year citizen of this city, my beloved city, we should request that this person vacate her seat on the board. Her constituents who are decent law-abiding residents should not at all tolerate these lies. In fact, don’t just take my word, ask other board members and staff about her accusations. Enough of these lies.

Fact 3: Sutherland comments about the FWISD budget and its process. I personally believe that much of what she says is strictly her opinion. One thing I know about Dansby in these last 20 years I have worked with and for him is that he is ethical. The Fort Worth ISD budget process is open to the public and board members before the board approval. So I believe that on this subject, it is her opinion and, based on her other accusations, probably falls in the category of lies.

Dennis Dunkins Sr. is a community activist and former director of Magnet Planning for the FWISD.

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