It started with the detailing out of Haskell’s School President, Dr. Linda Sue Warner, almost a year ago and has continued on a slow, but, steady downcline every since.
We are speaking of leadership at the school.
First, one of the best, brightest and most distinguished presidents that Haskell has ever had, Dr.Linda Sue Warner, a women who holds a Ph.D from Penn State, was accepted in Harvard and has spent her entire life helping to educate Native Americans, was detailed out of the school, by Stephanie Birdwell-Bighorn.
Birdwell-Bighorn, a much lesser educated Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) (holds only a master’s in social work) employee, with no experience in the field of education, oversees all of the BIE schools (recent articles are proving that the BIE runs one of the most distressed school systems in the United States). Apparently experience in education is not needed, if one is only going to educate Native Americans. Can you name another United States school system that would tolerate this?
We are slowly watching Haskell lose its leadership. The latest casualty in the Haskell leadership fiasco is Deborah Thompson. Ms. Thompson is Haskell’s Safety Officer and one of the heads of its Facilities Department, she is also one of Haskell’s crème de la crème employees. Often working early mornings into late nights. Any threat of bad weather or danger at the school brings her running. Not to mention the millions of dollars that she has bought into the school through all of the grants, she has written. Her departure in October will be irrecoverable for Haskell.
As has been the lose of the following Haskell employees: Dr. Ted Wright (who admits that employees bullied him right off of the Haskell campus), Dr. Russell Blackbird (who also admits being bullied off of the school’s campus), Coach Ted Juneau (a wonderful man ,who is as much loved and admired by the Lawrence community ,as he was at Haskell), again, you have Stephanie Birdwell-Bighorn who oversaw Coach Juneau’s demise as well as the others.
One of the issues that the Higher Learning Commission quoted on Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute lost of accreditation, was, the turn over and lack of leadership at the school.
Apparently, it is not looking too good for Haskell either, with the lose of at least five of its key leaders in less then a year.
haskellnews commentary, Sept 14,2010.