Kat-Lewisboro Teachers Union Blasts Kreutzer's Leadership

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Katonah-Lewisboro teachers union members Geoff Curtis, left, the union's vice president, and Paul Saloom attempt to address the Board of Education at Thursday night's meeting. Photo Credit: Bob Dumas

CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – The Katonah-Lewisboro District Teachers Association has told the Board of Education it has lost faith in Superintendent Paul Kreutzer’s “ability to lead." The teachers cited, among other things, allegations of sexual misconduct and claims that Kreutzer employs bullying and intimidation tactics.

A six-page statement from the union laid out a litany  of charges, including allegations that Kreutzer has been accused of sexual harassment on four separate occasions. The statement also questions the superintendent’s ability to “skillfully manage a high-pressure job.”

The union is demanding that the board undertake an investigation into its allegations.

Both Kreutzer and Board of Education President Mark Lipton would not comment on the union’s statement, but Lipton did say, “We won’t allow a meeting to be ambushed like this. We have all sorts of methods in place [to get on the agenda].”

The teachers association released the statement at Thursday night's school board meeting to the audience and members of the press after a bizarre scenario in which several association members tried to read it aloud during the public forum portion of the meeting.

Union Vice President Geoff Curtis approached the podium and asked the board if he could have 15 minutes to speak instead of the traditional three. After some discussion, the board asked him to keep it to three minutes and then it would decide if more time would be granted.

“The Katonah-Lewisboro District Teachers Association is here tonight to announce that we have lost confidence in Dr. Paul Kreutzer’s ability to lead …” Curtis began before Lipton abruptly cut him off.

“I am going to stop you right there,” Lipton said. “We won’t allow this time for personal attacks.”

The board then broke for a recess as Lipton attempted to reach the district’s legal counsel for guidance, but he was unable to do so.

The board then continued with the rest of its agenda, skipping the public comment portion of the meeting, while union members milled around the podium. However, before the board could adjourn the meeting, union member Paul Saloom presented it with the document and demanded the board begin a Title IX investigation into its allegations.

Union members said they’ve been trying to meet with the board in executive session to discuss their concerns but have been thwarted.

“We have constantly been asking them, but they have not wanted to have the conversation,” said union President Sandy Grebinar.

The union’s statement lays out its contention that Kreutzer has been accused of sexual harassment by staff members.

“In his first year as superintendent, four female employees of the Katonah-Lewisboro School District independently alleged that Dr. Kreutzer sexually harassed them,” the statement reads. “The women directed their complaints to the district’s Title IX officer [then] Human Resource Director Carol Ann Lee. Ms. Lee could not address the complaints because she had filed her own discrimination lawsuit against Dr. Kreutzer. The district reported that its own subsequent internal investigation found the evidence unconvincing and dismissed the allegations. However, we believe the district could not be completely impartial in investigating its own superintendent.”

The union’s statement also alleges that Kreutzer has used bullying and intimidation tactics.

“Dr. Kreutzer has reportedly bullied and intimidated school district employees, administrators, teachers, town leaders, and outside workers creating a malaise and unhealthy work environment in the school community,” the statement reads. “Indeed, as a result, before his first year at the helm had ended, an unprecedented number of top-level administrators have abruptly left the district.”

The statement also accused Kreutzer of having a volatile temper that frightens employees.

“At the district office … Dr. Kreutzer’s expletive-laced, door-slamming, table-pounding rants have terrorized secretaries and staff,” the statement reads. “This is the atmosphere he has created in our heretofore highly respected school district.”

The statement also criticized Kreutzer’s handling of Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath and the subsequent nor’easter snowstorm, claiming he was on the road “screaming at NYSEG linemen” and was on the phone “venting his rage in a series of petulant tirades at town officials.”

Kreutzer was hired in April 2011, coming from New Berlin, Wisc. to fill the superintendent’s post. The appointment was controversial. The report states it was greeted with “a storm of public outcry due, in part, to the circumstances surrounding his hiring and his questionable background and reputation.”

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Comments (13)

LewisboroL:

If the union doesn't like him, he must be doing a great job

Reeve1:

Curious, your view was not shared by the vast majority of his school district,'s students, parents and administrators who spoke his praise when the Katonah Lewisboro school board traveled to Wisconsin for their due diligence. And with the failed recall of Gov. Walker, it appears that a majority of those in Wisconsin understand that for education to survive the unions cannot continue to demand more than struggling families can provide.

jmavorneen:

I am a curious observer from Wisconsin. Curious to see how it all unfolds. Paul Kretuzer was at the entry level of adminstration as a principal when he impacted my children's lives. I have zero respect for him and for his tactics.

Dean Travalino:

"Redacted," "fact check," "it has been reported," are all the same thing. A web of partial truths and anonymous innuendos that never amounted to anything when the unions in Wisconsin tried the same trick and has already been rejected by a school board investigation here. Parents who speak out against the union, even in the privacy of their homes, should beware, lest their children be urged to turn them in to Sandy Grebinar.

fact check:

I would caution the knee-jerk union bashing, witch hunt theorists who believe this is little more than a character assassination to withhold their own judgement. Read the letter of no confidence. Notice the word "Redacted". That means there is more in it than what was made public.

Dean Travalino:

The politics of personal destruction rears its ugly head. I hope that the rumor -mongers and anonymous bloggers throughout the media outlets are proud of their reckless comments. Dr. Kreutzer and his young family have embraced our community by moving here to be treated like this? But then again most of his opponents live elsewhere and pay their own children's teachers much less. They have chosen to live in Connecticut and other less taxed areas while sucking our community dry.

I would like to caution all of those participating in what looks to be a witch hunt that there are libel and slander laws that apply here with only limited immunity at best. Think before youy speak. Sandy Grebinar will not pay your legal fees or the judgement.

GDeFaber1:

This is a scurrilous attempt by a desperate and militant union to destroy the second most important obstacle in their quest to continue K-L’s path to bankruptcy. The first being the 2% tax levy cap which the teachers union has already brought suit against. For many years Sandy Grebinar president of the union has used her “foul mouth” to intimidate anybody who opposed her agenda. She has taken this fight to a new low in alleging sexual harassment. Dr. Kreutzer is not the teachers’ union pawn the last four superintendents have been. When one cannot win on the merits of their argument evil people resort to character assassination to achieve their goals. I hope every parent can now see that these self-serving union officials are not there for their child’s well being but for their own personal gain. How low does an organization have to sink to use children as pawns in their quest for greater power over the taxpayers in K-L?

Arizona:

You may be totally correct about the union's agenda but if any of these allegations are true besides the sexual harassment allegation, the subject should be suspended with pay immediately pending an inquiry.

GDeFaber1:

The school board has already performed an internal investigation and have found no evidence in the allegations. By suspending him, even with pay will only embolden Sandy Grebinar and her union cronies.

Arizona:

Are you saying that all of these allegations against Kreutzer are untrue and without merit?

Marcus Junius Brutus:

I would counsel any young person looking to purchase a home in Lewisboro not to bother. In effect, it will really be owned by the teachers’ union, and the young homeowners will spend their lives working to fund teachers pensions while any incremental rise in the value of the home will not keep up with inflation. Dr. Kreutzer understands this dynamic and that is why he’s so dangerous to the unions

Arizona:

If any of the accusations against Kreutzer are true then I would say this imbroglio has to do with a lot more than funding teachers' pensions.

Arizona:

Well there ya go. Ask and you shall receive. What do you expect when you have a Board of Education comprised of morons? Anyone doubt me?

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