Education Commissioner Gist Responds to Teacher Concerns

May 21, 2013

State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is responding to teachers who say she has an overbearing management style and is disconnected from the rank and file.  At a meeting Monday night, more than 500 teachers demanded that Gist’s contract not be renewed when it expires next month.

Gist said she welcomes the feedback of teachers and hopes that in the years to come management and staff can avoid acrimony and focus on what’s best for students.

Responding to teachers’ concerns about new evaluations, Gist said she is well aware that change can be, “challenging and uncomfortable.” But she said her decisions are based on what’s best for children, not on public outcry or popular opinion. 

Gist’s statement was issued in advance of a union-sponsored teachers’ forum Monday night.  Hundreds of teachers attended and expressed displeasure over new teacher evaluations, an emphasis on standardized testing and what they see as Gist’s failure to communicate.

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