Whistleblowers: Personal Pettiness on TUSD board perpetuate Pueblo problematic principal as Hicks saves Auggie Romero

We grant our permission to publish this letter and to distribute it widely.

64th Open Letter

From: TUSD Whistleblowers– Comprised of a Large Group of Extremely Concerned TUSD Administrators, Teachers, Retired Administrators and Parents, Grandparents

Subject: Auggie Romero’s Exploitation of His Pueblo High School Staff and Students (Abuse of Power); Mike Hick’s Vote to Keep Romero on Contract Based on His Personal Petty Conflicts with Rachael Sedgewick and Mark Stegeman; and the Mean Girls Grijalva and Foster Win at Great Cost to Students

Auggie Romero’s Exploitation of His Staff and Students (Abuse of Power):

It was bound to happen again. We all knew it, especially those of us who know what happens at Pueblo High School on a daily basis. Auggie Romero runs (down) the school by allowing “his people” to do their thing. It is management by default. It is a cozy set up. Many love his hands-off-do-your-thing approach. Those in his camp (including his relatives) are not held accountable. They get great assignments, training, materials, equipment, and other benefits.

But if you happen to be a Pueblo employee who is on the wrong side of Auggie Romero you get horrible assignments and absolutely no support to do your job. These are the poor souls who get on his radar for not supporting him. He plays havoc with their lives, no matter their expertise and experience as teachers. His tactics have chased several very good teachers out of the school. Because of the turn-over rate, he has succeeded in multiplying his supporters by replacing good teachers with many not-so-hot teachers. This has created even more of a free-for-all school. Students are continuously late to their classes or choose to wander the campus with their friends as they skip class after class.

Pueblo’s Site Council has attempted to deal with the high number of tardies and absences (visible to everyone) but month after month, nothing has happened.

Auggie insists that things have improved at Pueblo. He has pages and pages of rhetoric which he uses to convince people of the great improvements he has made at Pueblo. It is all manure. He knows it is all a lie but he is a convincing liar so he continues. He also knows how to cheat and manipulate numbers so that he can distort the facts to his benefit.

Have things gotten better at Pueblo? Well, if you like the lack of accountability; yes.

If you like the favoritism games he plays; yes. If you like watching students being exploited to support his job; yes. But, if you are looking to find quality instruction in most classrooms; no, it has not. If you are looking for real positive outcomes for students; NO! The public needs to know that Pueblo is not serving its students. It is serving Auggie Romero and his group of sell-out flunkies.

At the Board meeting on Tuesday, March 27th, Auggie Romero’s contract was renewed even after it was revealed to the public that he had illegally changed the grades of six students of a former Pueblo teacher. The Board voted to release the investigation report which was the result of a complaint that was filed about the grade changes. The teacher’s complaints against Auggie were supported. He violated state law and TUSD policy. Auggie Romero, however, remains unscathed.

About this time last year, Auggie Romero put out a call for support to save his job. He actually presented a list of his so-called accomplishments and a “plea” statement for faculty and staff to contact Governing Board members to lobby them so that he could keep his job. He said he needed those who support him and want to have Pueblo continue to move in the direction needed to speak up to the Board. He asked several Pueblo flunkies to coordinate an effort to keep him at Pueblo. So, his lackeys began their coordination; their lobbying; and their pay pack to Auggie for all the favors rendered to this list of “supporters.”

It is ironic that the two people who headed up his cheer squad are NOT teachers. They have a lot of “extra” school time to lobby in support of Auggie. School Nurse Kate Straub and School Counselor Teresa, have written letters and crafted language for others to call Board members. They have made sure people showed up to Board meetings, etc. They have even gotten students involved in saving Auggie’s job.

What is so disgusting about each of these individuals is that each of them neglects their jobs to focus on the stupidity of doing things for Auggie. Toro does very little in her role as a school counselor to support students who are failing, including contacting parents. Each of them has disgraced their professions. The nurse has helped make the school sicker and the counselor needs therapy. But good old Auggie will do nothing but praise their work. This is how the school operates with Auggie at the helm.

Auggie’s has given a repeat performance this year in convincing his crew that they must do everything possible to save his job. He has again pulled many staff and faculty members aside to share with them that he has been victimized by a former Pueblo teacher. He said that she complained about having her grades changed (this is the repeat story he gave last year). He said he did change the grades because she had suppressed curriculum for certain students.

He has again outlined his list of accomplishments so that his supporters can read the laundry list to Board members. School Nurse Kate Straub and School Counselor Teresa Toro immersed themselves again into the “save Auggie” campaign. (By reading the investigation report we discovered that Toro was interviewed as a witness in the investigation into the grade changes that were made for 6 students. We wonder why so many of us that actually know the facts about Pueblo were NOT interviewed.)

Funny thing, when all of us look at Auggie’s so-called accomplishments against what is actually happening at Pueblo- there is a great discrepancy. Pueblo has some of the lowest achievement scores. This fact is never surfaced by his supporters.

Once Auggie Romero admitted that he had changed the grades for six students many of us felt that he should have been pulled from the school and either demoted or fired. What the public does not know is that for the last several years Romero and Frank Rosthenhausler (Auggie’s hinge man) have pressured several teachers to change their grades. This has become a tradition, especially for students who are athletes. Teachers feel that they have no recourse. They give in for fear of what will happen if they do not go along with the administration. Pueblo has never had such a self-serving, self-ingratiating, and inconsistent site administrator. If Auggie Romero’s lips are moving, he is lying. He lies about just about anything.

Everyone knows that Pueblo High School lost its status as a magnet school. This was a significant failure. But Auggie blames the magnet identification loss on the District, even though he was one of the principals who stood up at a Board meeting (under the Sanchez Regime) and proclaimed that Pueblo was provided with all that was needed to succeed as a magnet school.

What everyone needs to give A LOT of thought to is that Auggie’s illegal grade changing actions boosted his academic achievement percentage enough to have the school state grade go from a D to a C. What everyone also needs to understand is that there were many other grades that were changed either through the Auggie/Frank twist-arm technique or by Auggie unilaterally changing grades.

Pueblo HS teacher Yolanda Sotelo (right) tells her story to KGUN’s Valerie Cavasos.

Teachers remained silent due to intimidation. It turns out that these teachers were right.

If they had complained like Yolanda Sotelo complained, Auggie would have demonized them the way he has her, with Grijalva’s and Foster’s help.

She remains a hero but one who has been abandoned by the Governing Board and Superintendent.

Academic achievement scores for Pueblo are horrible, but Auggie does NOTHING about the problem. The spring 2017 AZMerit achievement scores for Pueblo High School are beyond shameful: 11% of the Pueblo student body passed the English Language Arts portion of the assessment or, more clearly, 89% of the students failed the English Language Arts section of the assessment and 9% passed the Math portion of the assessment or 91% failed the math portion.

Still, Auggie still managed to bring up his state letter grade to a C from a D by changing several failure grades to passing grades. He is a cheat and a liar. Of course, those who are not pulling their weight at Pueblo accept all that Auggie does to disguise the school’s failures.

(Catalina High School and Santa Rita High School both scored below Pueblo. All three schools need drastic changes.)

Mike Hick’s Vote to Keep Romero on Contract Based on His Personal Petty Conflicts with Rachael Sedgewick and Mark Stegeman:

Adelita blindly supports Auggie. She could care less about the Pueblo High School students. Kristel is part of the Grijalva clique and she is not about to disrupt her status within the clique because it would cost her the political leverage she cherishes. She clings to her “leverage” as if it is all that she lives for anymore.

Adelita went ballistic during the March 27th Board meeting defending Auggie while attacking Mark Stegeman and Rachael Sedgwick. When she was silent about Hicks we should have all known something very fishy was up. Mark is now “marked” the failed Brainiac-manipulator because he could not pull off getting rid of the most corrupt principal in the entire District.

Rachael began rambling, as she does at every meeting, and going in a direction that immediately splintered any possible action resulting in Auggie’s non-renewal of his contract. She decided that she wanted to add the Santa Rita High School and Tucson High School principals, along with Auggie, to the non-renewal contract list. This created a lot of confusion.

Most of all, it set Mike Hicks off because Mark allowed the whole thing to take place. He allows Rachael to set Mike off all of the time and because Rachael and Mark hang together on all votes, Mike has become totally irritated with Mark. Mark is a manipulator (although, at this point, one who has drastically failed) and all of the Board comprehends this, except Rachael (or maybe she welcomes being manipulated by Mark).

Rachael assumes to know more than anyone and constantly introduces ideas that are ridiculous and stupid. She has become an obstructionist, lecturing staff and fellow-Board members, in a very superior, elitist way. She practically told a staff member to “cut it short” during one of the March 27th agenda presentations, yet, she goes on and on and on with her senseless rambling. Mark allows it.

This, along with how the mean girls (who hate her and who she hates) have continuously out-smarted her has turned Rachael into the most in-effective Board member on the Board. Rachael has succeeded in giving the mean girls what they want several times. If this is not stupidity; what is? Rachael is often outwitted by them and for as smart as she believes she is, let us say it again; she is stupid!

Mike’s shallow reaction to the situation was to vote with Adelita and Kristel and approve all of the administrator contracts, which included Auggie Romero. He could have pulled Auggie’s name from the list and asked that it be voted on separately from the others. Mark could have done the same thing. Both of them failed. This would have at least shown that they were willing to take action that matched what they each have been saying for a year and a half.

Instead, Mike allowed Rachael to rattle him again and Mark, once again, showed NO leadership as Board President. People think that Mike cut a deal with Adelita. Maybe, but we think it was his pettiness about Rachael and Mark that got him to abandon his commitment to hold Auggie accountable. He backed himself into a corner because of his lack of self-control, which showed NO leadership.

We did not expect the mean girls to do what was right, but Mike, Mark, and Rachael really have let the Pueblo kids down.

We do not see Superintendent Trujillo as being innocent in this situation. He got caught in the middle of his Board and he took the very easiest way out. He is going to get caught in the middle of his Board a lot and unless he makes decisions based on what is right for TUSD students, instead of what is easy, he will be no better than his predecessor. Ignoring evil is no better than participating in evil deeds. On the Auggie issue, he has done nothing. Under his leadership, he should have ordered another more thorough investigation. He did not.

The Mean Girls Got Their Way at Great Expense to Pueblo Students

Adelita and Kristel won another self-serving adult battle without regard for the students at Pueblo.

One comment

  1. I see you mention Frank Rosthenhausler, problem is he is only a mention in your article when he is just as much of the problem. I wish more about his “contributions” was put on the spot and really examined for what they are. Now that Dr. R’s contract has been rescinded, it’s time to look into the chain of command…why does Pueblo continue on this road? Easy…

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