Looks like District 51’s conservative school board majority is getting ready to fire Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent and Director of Equity & Inclusion

Meeting agenda quietly put up on the School Board’s website on short notice announcing a special meeting the next day to discuss employment contracts of the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent and Director of Equity and Inclusion

The District 51 School Board’s new conservative majority — Andrea Haitz, Angela Lema and Willie Jones — appear to be getting ready to fire School District Superintendent, Diana Sirko, Assistant Superintendent Brian Hill and Tracy Gallegos, the District’s Director of Equity and Inclusion, who was hired into that position in July, 2021.

The three Board members gave short notice about a special meeting to be held on Monday, February 5 at 5:00 p.m. discuss these three employees’ contracts with attorneys they just hired in January to serve as their own representatives: David Price and Tammy Eret of Hoskin, Farina and Kampf.

The Board members produced the agenda on Saturday evening, 2/5/22, and then quietly slipped it onto the School Board’s meeting website (pdf) on Sunday evening, 2/6/21.

Mimicking Douglas County School Board to the letter:

The D-51 School Board’s conservative majority appears to be following the playbook of the Douglas County School Board, which just caused chaos in their School District by firing the District’s superintendent, Corey Wise, a 26 year veteran of the District, after unsuccessfully trying to push him out.
The move let to mayhem.

Andrea Haitz

Over 1,000 Douglas County teachers called in sick to protest the move February 3, leading the District to have to cancel classes. The Douglas County teachers’ union is warning that a high percentage of teachers will now likely leave the District in the wake of their superintendent’s firing, and an online petition is pushing to recall the school board members who voted to fire Wise. So far that petition has gathered 21,781 signatures.

Haitz, Lema and Jones appear to mimicking Douglas County’s playbook to the letter, running afoul of open meetings laws by conferring with each other in secret, moving quickly to clean house of established administrators they don’t like, rescinding the district’s coronavirus masking precautions amid the pandemic without consulting public health authorities and making wholesale changes to the district’s equity policy.

Call to Action

If you want to protest the ongoing attempts at wholesale degradation of School District 51 and help stop the District’s descent into chaos, here are some ways to help:

The school board members will hold their meeting behind closed doors, but supporters of Diana Sirko, Brian Hill and Tracy Gallegos are asking people to show their support by physically gathering in front of the building where the school board members will hold their meeting on Monday at 5:00 p.m.:

D-51 Harry Butler Board Room

455 N. 22nd Street, Suite B, Grand Junction

Sign making: There will be a gathering for sign-making and a quick activist training from a representative of Positive Women’s Network on Monday, February 7, at 3:00. Meet at 1160 N. 4th St. (KWSI Radio station) at 3:00 and then head over to the Harry Butler Board Room (455 N. 22nd St.) for a rally at 4:30.

To email comments of support for those threatened with firing to the school board, use this online form.

Please flood their public comment email with support for Dr. Sirko, Dr. Hill and Tracy Gallegos:

Here are email addresses of the school board members:

Doug Levinson: doug.levinson@d51schools.org

Kari Sholtes: kari.sholtes@d51schools.org

Andrea Haitz Andrea.Haitz@d51schools.org

Will Jones:


Angela Lema: Angela.Lema@d51schools.org

…or use the Comment Form: https://www.mesa.k12.co.us/apps/contactus/index.cfm

  19 comments for “Looks like District 51’s conservative school board majority is getting ready to fire Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent and Director of Equity & Inclusion

  1. Cindy’s page is just BRAG BRAG BRAG BRAG as if any of this has to do with her. No one cares what she thinks. Dr. Weber entered the D55 race to oppose her. She will never be on the school board, her “friends” who won the election roll their eyes when her name is mentioned. Most of the people who watch her page do so for entertainment purposes, she doesn’t even get it. Her lack of self awareness is unbelievable.

    • I have been in so many situations where I’m minding my own business (bathroom stall, grocery line, coffee shop etc) and I hear people just flabbergasted at what Ms. Ficklin said or did. How she behaved or how she bullied someone. I hear horrendous stories about her regularly. These folks talking about her are doing so out of morbid curiosity. Not out of any form of support. Ms. Ficklin is SO shallow and self absorbed that she doesn’t see what she has become; comic relief.
      This “PhD candidate” from a pay for it program, cannot even spell. As a matter of fact, she can’t communicate without emoji’s. She might as well use crayons and a coloring book!
      The entire community would be better off if she would shut her mouth…. And her legs.

    • Cindy is going on about her X-Husband (who couldn’t get away from her quick enough BTW) because she such a narcissist. She is making accusations that he still tries to contact her because she is not handling it well that he is so happy in his new relationship. He dumped her. Period. Literally kicked her ass out. He does not try to contact her. He wouldn’t just bow down and let her run the relationship, so of course in her mind that equates to abuse. Here’s the thing that everyone can clearly see, Cindy still talks about the relationship constantly, daily, all the time. He never speaks of it. You don’t need a fake phD to clearly see, Cindy is the one obsessed. Also. She called him 28 times when she was drunk in Hawaii.

      • It is her echo chamber that caused the quivering voice Andrea Haitz displayed at the school board “meetings” this week. Those three board members live in CIndy’s echo chamber. They thought they had a community mandate. But this isn’t Douglas county and theirs was no mandate: the current conservative wing of the school board won by less than 300 votes, and now they know they do nto enjoy anything close to universal support from this community. You cant just hire new legal represtnation or fire board members that actually support public education. ENjoy your contentious 4 year term and your 3 a.m. meetings, Haita/Jones/Lima. Your rabble rousing and politicking have given you exactly what you asked for. You earned it and you deserve every late night. This distict preceeds you and it will be here long after you’re gone, no matter your attempts to destroy it or turn it into a charter school.

    • This will make it hard for parents and teachers to attend unless teachers call in sick and flood the meeting. Rumors continue that Ficklin will be chosen superintendent.

  2. Truly curious, who is pulling the strings of these puppets? They are not loyal to our community and our schools, and seem to be following the orders of out state nut jobs orchestrating their every move. What a bunch of spineless, weak, selfish, simple-minded, saboteurs.

  3. Dang Anne. I love reading your reports. I’m particularly interested in government ethics and Sunshine Law, so I’ve been watching the Douglas County fiasco intently. Sad to see it possibly happening in Mesa County too. So glad that folks are calling out ex parte communication and the two-person meetings used to come to a collective decision “loophole”. Sure hope Douglas County is successfully sued and the practice brought out and into the sunshine.

  4. The meeting will be open until it is called into executive session. I suspect their lawyers will tell them of their legal exposure if they fire them without an agreement to buy out their contracts. They could come back from executive session and discuss this some more and then they can pass resolutions to enter into discussions, remove them from their duties and offer to have discussions about termination agreements or just fire them and wait for the lawsuits. Some of the four may be able to be terminated without cause, others have better contracts. If they try to end the contract for what looks like a general contractor, that could cost a lot and delay construction of a new high school and what general contractor would want to work with these people? Perhaps they think they can build a school for far less and we’ll end up with a really bad new school. Will people wait until they return from executive session? It could be very late. Will teachers come to the meetings and will they call in sick like they did in Douglas County? There are teacher shortages everywhere, so teachers here will have an easy time finding jobs elsewhere. These people are determined and will change things radically. They may go back to old style learning and abandon the changes adopted several years ago when it appears the new system is working. There is great potential for violence and those willing to go should be versed in non-violence and if they can’t do that, should keep a distance. Will the city police be there and which side will they be on? The media will show up and if they actually do choose Ficklin, whether her degrees are real will soon be discovered. Ficklin thinks she will be put in some job according to her post, but we’ll see. The worst thing the new board can do is employ her because of all the negative attention it will attract, but some people crave attention of any kind and radicals do radical things. This local law firm is also exposing itself to identification with them and their business will suffer.

  5. Ignorance is bliss. The Happy Valley just becomes more blissful. You get what you vote for. Too bad the children of the valley will be denied a full and factual education.
    If you haven’t already watched “Idiocracy,” please do. The 2006 sci-fi comedy is not great, but the story line where intelligent people stop procreating for logical reasons is way too scary and real.
    It may be too late here.

  6. Here is a provision of the MVEA teacher contract in effect pertaining to notification of board meeting agendas. “The Board shall notify the Association of regular Board meetings by providing it with a copy of an
    agenda twenty four (24) hours in advance of such meetings. In case of special meetings, notification to the Association shall be as soon as practicable. The Association shall be provided with three (3) copies of the official minutes of all meetings. At least one (1) copy of the Table of
    Contents of the agenda shall be provided to the Covered Employees in each building. One (1) copy of the Board minutes shall be available to the Covered Employees in each building.”

  7. Let’s hope Levinson or Sholtes record this “meeting” if they try that closed door bull. Taxpayers deserve to know what these school board members are up to and how much their vendetta is going to cost us.

  8. I’m sorry: they want rid of Brian Hill? He is under contract–how much exactly is THIS going to cost me? So much for a “fiscally conservative” “transparent” school board.

  9. Don’t worry, district 51. I’ll be a benevolent dictator. I just need to get rid of Dr. Brian Hill and Dr. Diana Sirko. Oh, and I’ll need you to call me doctor from now on.

    [Please note: This comment MAY not be from the actual Cindy Ficklin.]

    • Very funny. I doubt very seriously this is the extreme-right wing Cindy Ficklin who stirs up trouble without a clue of what she’s saying or doing. It muddies the waters when you use her name. Good thing she didn’t get on the school board! Did you notice that her FB page still says she’s running for State Congress?

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