Letters to the Editor
January 23, 2014

To the Editor:
For the last three years FUSD leadership has operated in a toxic mode which is poison to school improvement and staff morale.
Recently NPR broadcast a report on the Army and toxic leadership. This report emphasized the same issues are faced in the civilian world. U.S. Army Doctrine Publication 6-22, details what toxic leadership means for the first time.
"Toxic leadership is a combination of self-centered attitudes, motivations, and behaviors that have adverse effects on subordinates, the organization, and mission performance... Toxic leaders consistently use dysfunctional behaviors to deceive, intimidate, coerce, or unfairly punish others to get what they want for themselves... Prolonged use of negative leadership to influence followers undermines the followers' will, initiative, and potential and destroys unit morale."
The Fillmore School Board is currently searching for a new Superintendent of Schools. It MUST choose a leader who is knowledgeable, competent and collaborative. This new leader must have the ability to earn the trust of the Fillmore teachers, staff, parents and students and repair the damage done to FUSD over the past few years. As the FUSD Board is looking for new leadership, I recommend that they ask the subordinates of potential and current leaders to evaluate their supervisors — anonymously as the US Army is doing. As the NPR report states, “Toxic leaders were also good at snowing their superiors — so they kept getting promoted.” That is why input from subordinates must be sought and heeded.
Karen Ashim
Retired Head Counselor, Fillmore High School
MS Counseling & Guidance
MA School Administration