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Lexington schools hire consultant to address low morale concerns

Posted by Brock Parker  September 7, 2011 01:23 PM

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Concerns about low teacher morale have prompted Lexington's school system to hire an outside consultant to help.

Superintendent Paul Ash said the consultant, Bruce Wellman of MiraVia LLC, will be paid between $17,500 and $35,000 to meet with groups of school employees and make recommendations about how to address morale in November.

Parents raised concerns about low morale in the school district in the spring when longtime teachers Michael Fiveash, Karen Girondel, and Steven Bogart retired.

Ash said he met with school principals and worked with Lexington Education Association president Phyllis Neufeld over the summer to address the concerns about morale.

But Ash said Wellman, the codirector of MiraVira and coauthor of “The Adaptive School: A Sourcebook for Developing Collaborative Groups,” would be brought in as a third party to work with teachers and district administrators.

Neufeld said the LEA will work with Wellman and a steering committee being formed by the school district to address the concerns.

"That we have a morale problem is accepted,” she said.

Ash told the Lexington School Committee at its meeting Tuesday that, with more than 1,000 employees in the district, he believes there is a mix of happy and unhappy employees.

“I believe we have a lot of employees who are thrilled to be here,” he said. “But we have places where we need to improve professional work relationships.”

--brock.globe@gmail.com

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