Tonawanda News


December 19, 2013

Principal tenure raises tensions

Tonawanda News — The North Tonawanda Board of Education on Wednesday approved the tenure of Spruce Elementary School Principal Victoria Pohlman following an overwhelming response from teachers and administrators in the district who supported the move. 

Only one board members objected to her tenure, James Martineck, who did not cite his reasons for his decision. 

But the discussion among board members during the weeks and months leading up to the vote about Pohlman’s tenure, held outside of the public’s purview in executive sessions, was initially split, sources said, though they declined to elaborate on the nature of the disagreement.

Union employees, made up of teachers and administrators, packed the district’s board room on Wednesday, some speaking out in support of Pohlman during a public session. 

Pohlman is a longtime educator who has more than two decades in the district as a speech therapist, had various stints in Amherst and North Tonawanda as an assistant principal, and two years as principal of Gilmore Elementary before it closed and she moved to Spruce. She was in attendance. 

Pohlman had already been granted tenure for several of her past positions, but was up for a new evaluation while in her third year as principal. 

The possibility that the board would not back Pohlman’s tenure caused dozens of letters to flood into members on her behalf, including one from Mayor Rob Ortt, while board member Colleen Osborn said she received what she described as a threatening letter at her home, which she read aloud during Wednesday’s meeting. 

The letter, obtained by the Tonawanda News, was not signed, but referred to Osborn as “vindictive” and called her the “worst mother of the year.”

“I don’t know your name but have reason to believe you are in this room,” said Osborn, of the letter’s author, while also citing the fact that many of her own children have attended Spruce over a 12-year period. “I have firsthand information when it comes to turnover and turmoil that surround the school.” 

Text Only
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page
NDN Video
Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US