Superintendent Jay Charette, left, and Regional School Unit 38 board Chairperson Shawn Roderick confer during a meeting last year at Maranacook Community Middle School in Readfield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

READFIELD — When veteran teacher Dan Holman tried to speak out against attempts to keep the results of a survey on school climate conducted by the teachers union from the members of the Regional School Unit 38 board of directors, he was shut down by Superintendent Jay Charette.

Emails obtained by the Kennebec Journal through a public records request show it was the latest attempt by teachers to get the survey into the hands of the RSU 38 board of directors. The survey results include multiple responses critical of the superintendent and school administration. The effort has been resisted by Charette and Shawn Roderick, chairman of the school board, who say the union’s survey is flawed.

Holman’s public attempt brought the issue to light. He was shut down at the June 5 meeting by Charette, who claimed at the time the middle school teacher’s comments were “illegal” and forced Holman to stop speaking. Controlling who speaks at a school board meeting is not within Charette’s authority.

When first sent the survey results May 3, according to the emails, Charette said he wanted the weekend to think about it before he declined to share the results with the school board. He then responded May 6 to Dylan Sirois and Jill Plourd, co-presidents of the Maranacook Area Schools Association, saying he would not distribute it.

“After taking the weekend to reflect on this ‘survey,’ I am going to respectfully decline to share it with the full board,” Charette wrote. “You are certainly welcome to speak with Chair Roderick and Vice Chair (Rebecca) Lambert about it if it is appropriate and necessary action to take with the ‘results.'”

The union responded May 17, addressing Roderick and urging him to share the survey results with the other members of the board. 


“In the spirit of transparency, and in service of our membership who have asked us to share the survey results,” the union co-presidents wrote, “we want you to be aware that we will be including reference to the MASA Survey Results in our next Board Report and will be sharing that we requested you share the results with the rest of the board so that there would be time to digest and ask follow up questions as needed. If you haven’t yet, we ask that you forward the survey results to the full board immediately.” 

Sirois and Plourd did not respond to the Kennebec Journal’s requests for further comment. 

Roderick confirmed last week to the Kennebec Journal that the board had not seen the survey. He said he will not be the one to circulate it.  

The survey includes criticisms of the central administration, alleging that they micromanage staff members and do not value professional judgment, and that communication from top administrators is unclear and contradictory.  

Roderick said his decision was made on the basis of his personal experience with legal issues, but also because he believes the survey is the equivalent of a superintendent evaluation, which is traditionally not considered public information. 

“I study law and in the case of targeting one person, it’s not a true survey, so I saw it as a personnel matter and not to share it is a decision that I made and no one else,” Roderick, who has worked as an aide in the Maine Legislature but is not a lawyer, said.


“I believe if the union wanted to share the survey, they would have. They have a monthly update to the (school) board and if they had issues and thought it was right, they would have included it in the monthly report.” 

The survey collected responses from 51 teachers across the district. It does not name any staff member by name and collects data on the district and school, not an individual person.

The union believes it is a fair representation of the information they have heard from staff members outside of survey responses.  

At the district level, most of the concerns raised by staff members and teachers focused on communication from the central administration, which is seen as manipulative, limited and lacking transparency. Respondents also noted that decisions were often made behind closed doors and without teacher input, and that the superintendent micromanaged principals. 

Teachers and staff members who responded said they value their coworkers and want the best versions of themselves for students. Teachers said they wanted more time for professional development and support for burnout. They also said instructional plans are effective, and praised the open communication among colleagues.  

After Charette stopped Holman from speaking at the June 5 school board meeting, Holman has made attempts to encourage more dialogue between administration and the RSU 38 board of directors.


On June 12, Holman, who has taught at Maranacook Middle School for more than two decades, sent a note to Charette, Roderick, the union co-presidents and the Maranacook middle and high school principals acknowledging his statement at the board meeting and the concerns he expressed on behalf of other staff members, with an open invitation for further discussion.  

Additionally, he sent a letter June 14, signed by 21 former school administrators and officials, to the school board that urged the board to reflect and make decisions on behalf of the district’s mission to be a “caring community dedicated to excellence.” 

We are of the mind that educators (especially leaders) must model caring in their relationships. Educators need to engage in dialogue in which they can critique and better understand practices through feedback,” Holman wrote in the letter. 

Holman, said he has received no response from the board or administration, and he is disappointed by the lack of response to the two letters, especially the open letter signed by former principals, board members and teachers, which he called “appalling.” 

However, a few days after the letter was sent, on June 18, Roderick posted a statement on behalf of the board of directors in response to the incident at the June 5 school board meeting. 

“We welcome everyone to participate during the public comment period at the school board and to contact board members when appropriate. When it comes to this communication and action of the school board there are policies and procedures the board must and does follow,” Roderick wrote in the statement. 

In response to Roderick’s statement, Holman said he is glad to see the board’s commitment to open dialogue. 

“I support the goal of open and respectful dialogue and I am glad the board has affirmed its commitment to this sort of communication,” Holman said. “Regrettably, the board chair’s posted letter did not acknowledge that our district failed that standard. There has been an ongoing effort to block open dialogue and the suppression of staff voices at the last school board meeting is a recent example. It was not respectful, and it cut off open communication.”

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