Dear Shaker Heights Schools Families,
I want to express my position on recent events and circumstances at the High School.
First, I want to apologize to longtime High School English teacher Ms. Jody Podl. The review process was meant to be conducted promptly but those leading the work did not respond as timely as desired. As the leader of Shaker Heights Schools, I am genuinely sorry for that. (As shared last week, Ms. Podl was cleared to return to work on November 7.)
Second, I want to apologize to the impacted students and their families. The students did what we ask them to do when they feel something is wrong—namely, to speak up. We should have quickly reviewed the matter and immediately implemented restorative practices. We did not do that, as many of you expressed during last week’s community meeting. To all of our students, I am sorry and promise that we will do better.
In addition, I am reviewing the performance of Principal Kuehnle and Assistant Superintendent Breeden in regards to this important matter. They did not live up to my expectations for how to process such reviews. I will take any appropriate corrective actions pending a thorough examination. We are also revamping our football and cheerleading programs to ensure our students come first.
One of the things that we must strive to do every day is to get better. Our work is to prepare young people for the future both intellectually and emotionally. Let’s all pledge to learn from this, to get better, and to deliver what we promise—excellence, equity and exploration for all.
Dr. Stephen M. Wilkins