Saturday, July 20, 2024

Statement by Dr. Uyi Osunde

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Response to July 3, 2024 letter from Board Chair Michael Henrick:

Editor’s Note: Board Chair Mike Henrick’s letter to Dr. Osunde was shared with the Board of Education Marked as Confidential and Not shared with public!

For some time, Stratford Republicans on the Board and in Town Administration have been determined to remove me as Superintendent for partisan, discriminatory, and retaliatory reasons.  After I was hired as Superintendent three years ago, Michael Henrick and other members of the Board majority ran as a block to “take back” the Board.  When I acted to protect our students and advance the interest of our public schools by opposing the actions of Stratford’s Town Administration to decrease funding for the public schools as the student population became more racially diverse, and also challenged the racial bias reflected in public statements against me by Michael Henrick and a local Republican party leader, the Stratford Republicans became even more resolute in their determination to punish me. Once the Republicans gained majority control of the Board in December 2023, the newly formed Board launched a baseless campaign—that would play out for almost 200 days—to terminate my contract, assassinate my character, and destroy my reputation. 

 In order to achieve their objectives, the Board’s majority relied on a sham investigation to create illegal and/or pretextual reasons to support their pre-determined outcome.  I was not interviewed as part of the investigation and, despite our requests, the Board has still not provided us with all of the information that they supposedly relied upon to support the actions against me.  With respect to the incident involving the police that Mr. Henrick’s letter seizes upon, there is no allegation that I physically hit anyone nor was the alleged statement reported even allegedly made on the evening of the dispute.  The charges against me were quickly dismissed by the Court, without objection from the prosecutors.  If there was any credible evidence that I was a danger to anyone, that would not have happened.  There are reasons why Connecticut law prohibits employment actions based on charges that are dismissed and other erased criminal history information.       

 Over the last three years, the positive narrative across the State of Connecticut about what has been happening in the Stratford Public Schools would contradict these weak and inconceivable allegations regarding inefficiency, incompetence, and ineffectiveness, etc.  I led the Stratford Public Schools, one of the top 20 largest school systems in Connecticut, through the most volatile peaks in the pandemic.  Under my leadership, Stratford Public Schools has experienced improved outcomes on the SAT, Advanced Placement test and other metrics. I have also created programs that respond to climate and culture, improved the safety infrastructure of our district, balanced the student residency grievances that Mr. Henrick has long held, advanced and advocated for budgets that kept the workforce intact, led the construction of a new strategic plan with a new vision and mission, initiated the study of redistricting (which is currently being mishandled), and improved family and community relations.  It would be impossible for us to achieve these results and outcomes if the allegations that I was ineffective, inefficient, insubordinate, and dishonest, etc. were even remotely true.

 It is clear that I am being singled out and subjected to a level of scrutiny unlike any other previous Stratford Superintendent.  The discriminatory and retaliatory nature of this process is palpable, and the adverse impact is real.

 We look forward to stating the facts through the appropriate legal processes.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you Dr. Osunde for clarifying what has been shrouded in secrecy regarding the Republican Board of Education members’ “investigation” of you.

    You have the support of the Stratford school staff, of parents, students and much of the public. You are seen as a courageous, capable and principled executive who has been wrongfully persecuted for political reasons which are difficult to understand.

    Because of these political motives, our schools and, consequently, the reputation of our community are being destroyed.

    Dr. Osunde, you are respected and gratefully regarded as a protagonist for our schools. It is good to hear from you, and you have much community support.

  2. And thank you Stratford Crier for allowing Stratford residents to hear from Dr. Osunde in his own words. We are still very confused as to what exactly led to this action by Republican members of the BOE.
    Dr. Osunde was not interviewed or given a chance to answer specific issues of which he is being accused by the Republican members of the BOE??
    How is it that it appears that Dr. Osunde also has not been given specific reasons for his termination hence his only remedy is to file a law suit? Law suits should be avoided as very costly and unnecessary expense to our town.
    At the very least Dr. Osunde and Stratford Residents deserve to know specifically what egregious wrong doing occurred to cause the action taken by the Republicans on the BOE.

  3. I have heard a lot of excellent things about our Superintendent Dr. Osunde. All of Stratford’s allegations against Dr. Osunde is just bringing this town down. Let Dr. Osunde continue doing his job instead of assisting in bringing negativity to Stratford. Our children need to receive an excellent education. Not a bunch of people putting each other down, especially over politics.

  4. A real disappointment and shame for the students of our fair town.
    If the Superintendent, was all that he said he was, we wouldn’t be it this position.
    Certainly not the roll model example, I would like to supervise my children.
    Get off all the bias stuff and blame game crap and let’s start anew.
    Jr

  5. If they have nothing to hide, why are the Republican’s still crying “not to be shared with the public”?
    They were elected and serve the people of Stratford, including the parents who have asked and demanded that Osunde be reinstated. Unfortunately some only serve Laura and Lou. Why were parents utterly disregarded?

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