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Lovejoy ISD is also one of the richest in the state. According to the Collin County Central Appraisal District, the average home value in LISD is over $327,000. Even with the high property values, the taxpayers in the district pay one of the highest rates in the region at $1.4763.
In 2007, the TEA rated only one school district in Collin County "Exemplary" - Lovejoy ISD. Ted Moore (picture below), the LISD superintendent has been named as one of 5 finalists for Texas School Administrator of the year.
Yet there is a dark side to the Lovejoy success story.
For several years now, one of Collin County's oldest community bulletin boards, lovejoyschools.com, has been sharply critical of the LISD board and policies.
Recently, lovejoyschools.com, which styles itself as the " unofficial Lovejoy Independent School District information site", has leveled allegations of nepotism, official oppression, and other "unnamed, serious allegations" made against the LISD superintendent, Ted Moore.
While the mainstream press has refrained from covering the scandal, a teacher, recently voted as "Teacher of the Year" was fired and then paid off in a $50,000 settlement. The superintendent held an "invitation only" closed meeting with selected citizens to defend himself, and a parent was served with "Cease and Desist" orders, banned from the schools and then cleared of all wrongdoing.
Last November, Laura Goodson, who is one of the members of lovejoyschools.com and a parent of a LISD student, posted a response she had received from the McKinney ISD on an Open Records Request. Goodson asked MISD for any records concerning misappropriation of funds in regards to Ted Moore, Dennis Muizers and Mark Slavin during their employment of MISD in 2004-2005.
Dennis Muizers had worked under the supervision of Ted Moore when Moore was at MISD, and Moore had recently hired Muizers as the Assistant Superintendent at Lovejoy.
After protracted 4 month legal battle, allegedly paid for in part by the Lovejoy ISD, that resulted in the Texas Attorney General ordering the release of the documents, MISD released documents detailing allegations that Muizers had left MISD after being placed on administrative leave during an investigation on his falsifying time records for one of his employees, Mark Slavin.
Mark Slavin is Ted Moore's stepson.
After being hired by LISD, Muizers then hired Slavin to run the newly created preschool for LISD employee's children. Research by members of lovejoyschools.com revealed that Slavin had no college degree yet was placed in administrative authority over certified teachers and was paid a salary larger than experienced teachers in the district.
On March 11, 2008, while the Open Records battle was happening, Ms. Goodson attended an open house at her child's school. Goodson stopped to talk with Laura Hendrix, a sixth grade teacher about getting her child transferred to Hendrix's class.
Another teacher overheard the conversation and reported it to the school's administrators, alleging that Ms. Goodson 'defamed' Ted Moore by spreading rumors about Moore's family issues. It seems LISD has a rule forbidding anyone from disparaging the district or its administrators on school property.
Then on April 10, 2008, Ms. Goodson met with Gavan Goodrich, the principle of Lovejoy Middle School regarding her child, towards the end of the meeting, Gavin Goodrich said he had to check on something – left the room and returned with Mari McGowan of the law firm of Abernathy Roeder Boyd & Joplin. McGowan handed Goodson a Cease and Desist letter from Abernathy representing the LISD board and another one from Ted Moore’s personal attorney. Goodson was banned from all LISD campuses.
Laura Hendrix, the teacher in the conversation, was no longer seen at LMS. She had been suspended. Now the parent, Ms. Goodson, was banned from the campus.
Attempts by Ms. Goodson to ascertain the reasons for Hendrix' suspension and her own banning using the Texas Open Records Act were stymied by LISD. At one point the district demanded $871 to fulfill her open records request. For the second time, the Texas Attorney General had to intervene to require that the district comply with Goodson's request.
On May 6, Tonya Vining, the Executive director of Personnel, send Ms. Goodson a letter stating, "Based on the findings of the investigation, the District has determined that you did not make the specific statement alleged. Therefore, the directive previously issued regarding your access to Lovejoy ISD campuses has been revoked."
But while Goodson was cleared, on June 17, Laura Hendrix's contract was terminated by the school board for the same incident.
On July 16 Ted Moore invited "selected parents" to a closed meeting where he showed a power point presentation comparing lovejoyschools.com to the National Enquirer. A public meeting that he had previously called for July 22 was abruptly canceled with no real explanation.
And on August 19 the LISD board approved a settlement agreement ending Ms. Hendrix's contract and paying her $50,000.
One effect of the settlement was to end all litigation. Earlier, lovejoyschools.com founder, Brenda Rizos was served with a subpoena in a lawsuit styled Lovejoy Independent School District vs. Laura Hendrix. That subpoena duces tecum required Ms. Rizos to produce the servers and all computers used in her email and for the lovejoyschools.com website. It also required Ms. Rizos to furnish the real names of all subscribers to her website, all communications to the press and all emails to Hendrix, Goodson and others.
The battle, which started over an Open Records request back in November of 2007, had ended On August 19.
To date, the Texas Attorney General had to intervene twice against the school districts, a parent was served with a Cease and Desist writ, and then exonerated, and an award winning teacher was fired, and then paid off. A subpoena has been served on the founder of lovejoyschools.com, and the school district paid unknown sums in legal fees for itself, Moore and Muizers.
No apologies or admissions of wrongdoing were ever issued by Moore or the LISD.
It is still a violation of LISD policy to defame or disparage Ted Moore, or any administrator at Lovejoy ISD.
"All communications, including any email communication, between you and any member of the press since January 1, 2008."
Have you ever wondered why Lovejoy has the only Exemplary rating in Collin County? It's because Lovejoy has forced its special needs children into all HONORS classes from middle through high school and forced families to flee. Lovejoy has eliminated regular track classes in core academic subjects altogether.
Free speech rights are not the only rights the Lovejoy school board and Superintendent Ted Moore ENJOY taking away.
I have corrected 2 errors that appeared in the above article -
1. Slavin is Moore's stepson, not son-in-law. I have changed the sentence on Slavin's relationship to Moore to read, "Mark Slavin is Ted Moore's stepson."
2. I have corrected Laura Hendrix's position from "fourth grade teacher" to "sixth grade teacher".
I regret the errors
I am so glad that we have the Collin County Observer to report these things. The Dallas Morning News is conflicted.
Kudos to www.LovejoySchools.com for being vigilant in trying to keep the schools accountable to the students and their taxpaying parents.
I wish every ISD had such eyes and ears on the ground. The self-serving interests of the "adults" in these administrative capacities will not make our kids more successful. If the right people were running the schools, and for the right motives, everybody would win.
Lovejoy is a GREAT district and all the teachers and administrators I've had contact with have gone above and beyond for my kids.
Watchdog sites are good when they provide objective information, but only when they report the truth. Lovejoyschools.com is definitely not one of those sites.
Please feel free to explain where I have maligned or misconstrued any facts.
I have linked documentation on everything I wrote. If you have a different side to the story, I'd love to hear it.
At this time, I have read some of the references you (and lovejoyschools.com) have provided and it seems like you have presented only half of the truth.
A perfect example is the letters from the attorney general that you referenced as proof of wrongdoing on LISD's part. If you read them, they SUPPORTED Lovejoy's decision to withhold parts of the information request for privacy matters (their main reason for withholding). The AG defined what MUST be whithheld and ordered the rest released (which Lovejoy did).
Other parts of the story present facts that, while true, are only part of the story and are very slanted towards one side of the story.
I am not a central player in this drama, only a parent who has asked a few questions. I don't have the time or resources to research the issues enough to give you the information for a "balanced" story. As a journalist, I would have expected for you to do that yourself and use more than one source for your story (your story almost exactly matches the one on lovejoyschools.com).
My post was one that came from the frustration of "journalists" who thrive on shock value and controversy without making the effort to report both sides of a story.
I challenge you to interview ALL the players in this issue to find out what the REAL truth is.
If you haven't researched the issue (which is just plain lazy) then how do you know the story isn't "balanced"?
As the recipient of the information in the AG's letters, I can tell you that very little was redacted. Only the home address for the teacher and a paragragh in an email from Ted Moore to the "Board" where he's letting them know that I'm the one who made the public information request to McKinney for Dennis Muizers' exit papers. Like that makes me a criminal to find out the backgrounds of those running the schools that my children attend. I think the documents that came FROM McKinney ISD and Lovejoy ISD speak for themselves. More parents should take the time to research their school district's employees to rid us of those who may endanger our children or over-spend much needed funds in the classrooms.
The only incorrect thing I see in the article is where it says someone overheard me tell a teacher something. NO ONE has ever stated that they overheard me say anything. The teacher who was wrongfully let go never said that in her sworn statement either. And yes, I have that document, without any redactions, from Lovejoy ISD.
I don't understand how people can keep on their blinders when the documents are glaring you in the face.
And if this upsets you, I've got a few school emails that will blow your socks off!
*I am using my real name so that Lovejoy ISD won't have to spend any more of my tax dollars to subpoena this website to find my identity as they have done to lovejoyschools.com.
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