A Public Apology to Ms. Maidstone

People should make sure false facts don't influence important decisions.

Dear Ms. Maidstone,


I am not someone labeled rude on a daily basis.   You are correct that I was rude in what I wrote to Mrs. Greenwell last night.  I am sorry if my being direct offended you or any other reader, but sometimes people have to stand up and say things in a certain manner to get a point across.  Over a great period of time I have tried to understand the positions Mrs. Greenwell avers.   This district’s students are required to “back up” what they write with citations of a certain standard, and I expect that from Mrs. Greenwell and anyone else who claims they are the best person to represent the students.  


I understood from your first post on her blog (correctly I hope) that you were just stating a fact about your beliefs, and not that you were asserting any particular position on candidates.  I too don't believe that financial conservatism is a bad thing.  The personnel of this district who had any of the children from this home could attest that it has the highest of educational standards and individuality.  This house doesn’t ride with the herd as Mr. Reno labeled it yesterday.  In the sojourn through life with our children we discovered that things aren’t always black and white in the field of education, as some would have us believe because of its continuous evolution.  We discovered that what works well for some may not work well for others, and as a result we don’t espouse a radical change of public education based on standardized test scores that can be influenced by many factors.  We do believe that all schools have strengths and weaknesses.  In our experience this district has many more strengths than weaknesses, and those weaknesses can be pragmatically ameliorated. 


Mrs. Greenwell for weeks has said she is the right person to question the expenditures of this district during the building of the new high school, and to determine expenditures so as to increase the educational outcomes for a vast array of students.  The substantiation for her position has been that she cares deeply, her husband is in the building business, her mother and mother in law were teachers, she has a family member with special “situations” (her word, not disabilities or needs), and that she was a substitute teacher for 6 years.  In today’s world none of those things is a qualification that would get her hired to analyze building costs, to be a teacher, or to be a psychologist/therapist.


Mrs. Greenwell’s writings over time state that she is a person passionate about accountability and transparency.   These things are admirable and I find that our district is practicing these things.  But, Mrs. Greenwell’s writings also exhibit a list of things about her that make her incapable of representing equitably the best interest of the students of this district as well as the taxpayers.  She is a person who doesn’t understand finance, a person who bandies about statistics without understanding them or perhaps even looking at them, a person with an inability to give direct answers to direct questions, a person who would have left this district without any leadership through a recall of all seven board members at one time, a person who labeled an ex-board member a quitter because she chose family over being a school board trustee when her husband received a job in another state, a person who despite saying she has moved forward and has let go of the past brings it up at every available chance, a person who shows derision of those who question her “facts”, a person who hasn’t written one positive thing about the community in which she lives, a person who says we need to increase educational standards but encourages parents of bored children to search elsewhere, and a person who would cut “non teaching “ staff which I fear means the staff who help struggling learners succeed.  I won’t go on.


At this juncture it is important for people to stand up and question Mrs. Greenwell on some of the things she asserts before her misrepresentations continue evolving into fact.  Everyone is free to make their own decisions about how they feel about things, but I would encourage them to make their decisions based on verifiable facts as well as an understanding of those facts.  Lastly, I am sorry but I won’t back down from using directness in attempting to make sure that someone not only better qualified academically is invested with that 2 year trustee position, but someone who’s actions exhibit caring, understanding, pragmatism, and empathy for others.


S. Sera

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Amy Cardin September 27, 2012 at 03:35 AM
S.Sera, you have articulated quite eloquently several of the issues I too have with Mrs. Greenwell. Her candidacy this year, as in several previous failed attempts, hinges on negatives and worse...misinformation that she espouses as the truth. I think this is why we see such passion in the replies, pointedness in the questioning and fervor in the hunt for the truth. When the future of our children is at stake, I would expect nothing less.
MsMaidstone September 27, 2012 at 09:28 AM
Mr. Sera I think you attempted to write an apology for your postings, but drifted into another (more polite this time) diatribe against Mrs. Greenwell. I get it....you aren't going to vote for her. What I would like to see from you ( since you are now a columnist it seems) is a serious attempt at a critique of the other two candidates. Are you capable of that?
Jon September 27, 2012 at 11:48 AM
We have two serious candidates running for the two year term: Joan Berndt and Rob Herner. Then we have a chronic candidate who thrives on conflict for conflict's sake. Running a school district in these times is a serious enterprise; the BHSD deserves better than Jenny Greenwell reality show drama.
Neal Charness September 27, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Ms. Maidstone: S. Sera explained why you may have felt some of her postings were tough but why they were necessary. Frankly, it was very eloquent I couldn't have done better. I don't know what parts of the last 8-10 years of our school district discussions, votes, etc, you experienced. Starting about 2004 there became a vocal group who, in my words, bullied the district and community. They're still trying but with less effect. I will readily agree that some of their ideas were worthwhile, the new high school is being built with very wise use of money in a tight economy. This is good. I have never told Ms. Greenwell she has nothing to say. I have said she should present her thoughts and ideas to the board as a community member, not a board member based on her behaviors, statements, and apparent qualifications. She is running for office while haughtily dismissing legitimate questions about her background and saying she never said things when there are posts or blogs of hers that directly contradict those assertions. Why wouldn't people who have children in school work at keeping her off the board, she could only create havoc. I'm sorry you may not like the tone of some of the statements but if you look at her accusations and innuendos over the years it's clear that if you don't answer strongly you're fighting knives with feathers and that won't do.
S Sera September 30, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Dear Ms. Maidstone, I appreciate your crediting me with being a “columnist”, but I certainly wouldn’t list that as one of my attributes. I wrote what people need to know and I gave my reasons for it. People should not vote for Mrs. Greenwell. If she were to be elected she will continue to be the cause of acrimony for this community as she has been for almost 10 years. Please note her “blog” of 9/29/12, which clearly demonstrates not an iota of goodwill towards others and a desire to internally destroy the Bloomfield Hills public schools. As for your request for a critical analysis of Mr. Herner and Mrs. Berndt I will have to disappoint you, because there is nothing to say of a critical nature of either of them like there is of Mrs. Greenwell. They are both more qualified academically and experientially than Mrs. Greenwell. This community needs to know that Mrs. Greenwell should not be elected for any reason to the Bloomfield Hills School Board because to elect her would cause great harm to the comprehensive education of our students as well as create an environment into which no one would want to move. I believe that people need to say things strongly when others may not be listening.


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