On Monday, TCAPS board member Jeff Leonhardt publicly broke the party ranks. He and the outspoken Erica Moon-Mohr were the only two board members who failed to cast a vote for long-time TCAPS administrator Jame McCall for the open TCAPS superintendent spot. Who is Jeff Leonhardt, and what can we read into the fact that he failed to vote for McCall?
The Traverse City Ticker says that Jeff Leonhardt was a social studies teacher at TC East Middle School. His Linkedin profile says that he is retired. Rate My Teacher doesn’t have any ratings for him, which is probably a sign that you’re neither outstanding nor controversial.
Did the fact that Leonhardt is up for re-election before other board members play a role in his decision to vote for candidates other than McCall? Jane Klegman is also up for reelection in 2020. Not only did Klegman vote for McCall, but she also tried to call for a revote when McCall failed to advance to the final round.
Will the 2020 TCAPS board election be a single-issue election featuring Leonhardt on one side (who broke the Sue Kelly ranks), and Klegman on the other (who fought for McCall until the bitter end)? Is Leonhardt too far entrenched with Sue Kelly and her policies to avoid the backlash in the voting booth by breaking the ranks now? Is Sue Kelly correct that the TCAPS reform movement is a mere vocal minority?
Perhaps she is. However, it’s also possible that TCAPS has done too much for too long without accountability. The Homeschool Partnership fraud, which remains unresolved, the Grant Chandler/Jame McCall contracts, and how Ann Cardon’s departure played out are just a few of the things that members of the public have seen come and go without Sue Kelly ever explaining herself or answering to the public for what she is doing with their tax dollars. While it’s true that Sue Kelly and her cohorts got more votes than others at one time, even Richard Nixon once won the popular vote. Winning an election gives you the authority to govern; it never gives you the power to rule.