Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bye, Bye, Michele

Recently the board of directors of the Whitby School terminated the contract of headmistress Michele Monson, which still had four years left to run. No reason given.

But then again, in your scribe's humble opinion, none needed. While your scribe has never met Michele, he can attest from first-hand experience that she is a very unpleasant person. Some years ago, soon after his local history of the Town was published, he made the rounds of the local schools. Mike Batcheller at Greenwich High School loved it, and immediately ordered 40 copies from the publisher. Every elementary school, every middle school, and virtually all the private schools decided it was a "must-have". Your scribe was always happy to inscribe them personally: "For the students of Cos Cob School, with best wishes, etc." What fun!

Until, of course, he came to Whitby School. As always, your scribe started at the top, since many heads of school followed the lead of Patsy Howard at Greenwich Academy and requested a copy for their office. "Is Ms. Monson in?" he enquired of her secretary. "Doctor Monson is on the telephone," she replied. Oops. It appeared we had a pedant on our hands.

The minutes passed. A half-hour passed. Close to an hour had passed when a burly man came up to your scribe and invited him to leave. Doctor Monson was not available, and would not be available at any time in the future. The burly man walked your scribe to his car and watched him drive off.

As he headed down Lake Avenue towards the center of Town, your scribe focused on the beauty of the autumn trees, and by the time he got home had almost forgotten that the unspeakable (and unspeakable-to) Ms. Monson existed. Almost.

But not quite. An hour or so later, his doorbell rang, and there stood two of Greenwich's finest in full uniform. They had a succinct message for him: Doctor Monson had filed a complaint that he had been trespassing at Whitby School, and he was never to show his face there again. Message delivered, the cops got into their cruiser and drove off into the sunset.

Well, dear reader, at this point your scribe was obviously not very likely to forget dear old Michele's existence. Rudeness was one thing; police action was quite another. Clearly the woman had some major issues and was in dire need of therapy. If she didn't get professional help soon, she would probably self-destruct, reasoned your scribe; and with that he consigned her to stewing in the juices of her own bad karma.

Well, obviously she never got the help she so desperately needed. After throwing her weight around and terrorizing the faculty, over 100 of whom left during her seven-year tenure, not to mention spending thousands of Whitby's dollars on frivolities like $500 hair jobs at Warren-Tricomi and $2,400 worth of baubles at Tiffany's, she has finally been shown the door just as unceremoniously as her burly minion showed it to your scribe. Who says that karma doesn't work? Not your faithful reporter, for sure.

Moreover, the Attorney General of the State of Connecticut has now opened an investigation into her free-wheeling use of school monies since June 2006, involving 14 transactions totalling more than $15,000. While the Whitby board claims this played no role in their decision to fire her, it certainly doesn't help matters from her perspective. Once karma gets up on its hind legs and starts moving, it's pretty much unstoppable.

Perhaps Michele should have taken a few minutes to read Whitby's mission statement: "Our approach to education is based on wisdom, respect and spirit: a deep, abiding respect for each individual...." Well, it would appear to your scribe that despite her vaunted doctorate, Michele can act like a pretty dumb bunny at times; nor does the widespread faculty unrest and low morale speak very well for her deep and abiding respect for individuals; on the other hand, one has to give her credit for lots of spirit in her creative uses of Whitby credit cards. It will be interesting to see what AG Richard Blumenthal's probe comes up with over the course of the next couple of months.

And so, gentle reader, let us be glad that karma obtains, as always, and that the nasties get what's coming to them sooner if not later. Congratulations to the Whitby board of directors for making it sooner in Michele's case, and not four years later. Buy out her contract and say good riddance - that's the kind of direct action we need to see more of in this town.

(Now if only the Board of Education could learn a lesson or two from the Whitby board....)


Blogger shellrae said...


March 28, 2008 9:58 AM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Thanks, shellrae! Always nice to know that others share my opinions!

March 28, 2008 11:42 AM  
Blogger Julie at Virtual Voyage said...

Bill, I just posted one you might enjoy - bit of Roman history at Colchester. (The one before might appeal to your sense of humour as well).

March 28, 2008 2:16 PM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Julie, you freak me out! Just as you posted this comment I was actually over at your blog reading and commenting on these two posts! Clearly 3,000 miles of ocean (or whatever) are as naught when it comes to being on the same wavelength!

And I loved your posts - go visit, everyone! You will learn, and laugh, and laugh, and learn. Julie should be hired by the BBC!

March 28, 2008 2:30 PM  
Blogger Julie at Virtual Voyage said...

Cheers Bill - they've already done one docu based on my stuff, maybe I should give 'em a ring....

March 28, 2008 4:24 PM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Absolutely! I doubt they have very many - if any - staffers as talented as you!

Y'know, you should become the new Alastair Cooke! And get syndicated over here! You'd be gangbusters!!

March 29, 2008 9:58 AM  
Blogger NB said...

Dear Mr. Clark,

On behalf of Whitby School and our new Interim Head, Mrs. Brent, I would like to invite you to visit us whenever you might have time. We would enjoy meeting you, and we are interested in talking with you about your books. We hope you will give us the opportunity to give you a proper Whitby welcome. Please call and ask for me or send an email if you would like to schedule a visit.


Nicole Butterfield
Language Arts Coordinator
Whitby School
(203) 869-8464

April 04, 2008 6:46 PM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Well, now, if that isn't a most gracious invitation! Clearly things have changed at Whitby - and much for the better.

Thank you, Ms. Butterfield and Mrs. Brent, for your thoughtfulness. Ms. B, I see you even signed up at Blogger in order to leave a comment - now that you've done so, I hope you may consider starting a blog of your own. That's how I began: leaving a comment, and then deciding to stick my toe in the water. C'mon in - the water in the blogosphere is fine indeed!

April 05, 2008 10:40 AM  
Blogger Nevill said...

I am sorry not to have seen your blog until just now. I was the first of many victims of Dr. Monson's tyranny. I loved Whitby and now can again!

June 07, 2010 3:55 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

Here it is years later and I still hate that woman. She hired me from VA and I moved here to be Director of curriculum and instruction. She offered an amazing salary. I created a curriculum, provided training sessions and in February she sacked me because she could at "the whim of the headmistress." Thereby "saving" the school a bunch of money and taking all of my curriculum and materials. She ruined five of us that year. Two of us sued her through the CT Human Rights organization. There was some justice done, but now I am stuck in CT when I probably never would have left VA. I see now that she teachers in Indiana. Poor students and people who work with her prevarications and cruelty.

April 12, 2011 10:16 AM  

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