On May 9, 2017, members of Nashville Education Association took a vote to confirm that a majority of our membership has no confidence in Superintendent Ernie Fowler. We are aware of the gravity of such a vote, and we do not take it lightly. However, under Mr. Fowler, Nashville Community High School has seen a drastic loss of vision and direction, and we are concerned that continuing under Mr. Fowler’s leadership will lead to continued harm to our district, our students, and our members’ working conditions.
Superintendent Fowler has not displayed the honest, effective leadership that students and staff at Nashville Community High School deserve. The Nashville Education Association has no confidence in Mr. Fowler’s ability to lead our school for the following reasons:
• Mr. Fowler has demonstrated little support for teachers, departments and the academic vision for our school.
• Mr. Fowler expresses support for teachers and student programs in private, but when called upon to take action, Mr. Fowler bends to the will of others.
• Mr. Fowler has displayed poor judgment in his decision-making skills and failed to communicate honestly, effectively, and professionally.
• Oftentimes, Mr. Fowler fails to solicit input from teachers regarding decisions that impact academics, extracurriculars, and scheduling, and even when input is sought, there is a failure to follow through or a total disregard for the ideas from educators.
• Mr. Fowler’s failure to communicate professionally and effectively causes confusion and contention among staff members and other district employees.
• Mr. Fowler demonstrates a lack of stewardship regarding district financial resources. Mr. Fowler takes little initiative to seek aid from outside sources in order to improve the district’s financial situation.
• Mr. Fowler spends district funds without being able to clearly justify the need for doing so.
• Mr. Fowler discouraged teachers from seeking grant money to improve the district finances.
We believe that Mr. Fowler’s unprofessional approach to educational leadership has caused dysfunction in our district and failed to promote positive collegiality, which in turn negatively impacts our students and school climate. We believe it is imperative that action be taken to preserve the quality and reputation of education provided by our district. Nashville Community High School deserves strong leadership. Nashville Community High School needs honest and professional support for teachers, sound decision-making and communication skills, as well as careful stewardship regarding district financial resources. Mr. Fowler has not shown these qualities to be part of his skill set. This action is unprecedented for our district, but it is necessary for the good of our students.