"I believe she is a hero. Will you print that in your headlines?"
Anonymous letter writer leaks misleading confidential information and lies
Valdez Star photo
The anonymous letter sent to the incorrectly named Valdez City Star, postmarked April 7. We are happy to show the original copy to the public. Just call to make an appointment to make sure we are in.
The following letter was sent to the Valdez Star anonymously. Normally when someone sends an anonymous letter to the newspaper it is read, scrutinized to make sure it is not from a genuine whistle blower and then thrown away.
As editor, I have never once printed an unsigned "letter to the editor." We believe this letter was not sent us for publication, and the writer is not a "whistle blower" exposing institutional wrong doing, but is blatantly attempting to sway the newspaper by discrediting critics that have publicly testified at school board meetings criticizing the current school board superintendent's management style.
This particular letter contains flat out lies about one outspoken critic in the community and leaked information that is confidential and not always truthful about a school employee. We contacted both individuals mentioned by name in the letter and are publishing its contents in full below with their full permission. Editor's notes are in parenthesis to clarify a few blatant mistruths or information that is wildly misconstrued. We have been verified by official documents that many of the accusations are either misleading or flat out lies.
We met the challenge that was anonymously sent to us – and it's signed. We challenge the letter writer to have the courage to do the same.
Lee, I think of you as a pretty reasonable person so that is why I am writing this letter to you. I am not signing my name, as it really serves no purpose, but I will say that I work for the school district and am pretty familiar with the school situation, historically and in the present.
The district was a mess when Mr. Jensen left. Dr. Stroh has come in and tried to make order of a lot of things that were not her fault. She expected people to show up for work and actually work while they are here. She has asked for collaboration from others like no other administrator has done. She, however, due to her position as a superintendent, had to make some very tough decisions. As a school employee, I believe those decisions she made were long overdue! As a parent of students in the school, Dr. Stroh has done what I expect of an administrator – made the tough decisions.
People are mad because their worlds have changed, but let me tell you, the district is much better off because those decisions. I hate to see her leave, but I can't imagine why she'd want to stay in a community who has been so cruel to her.
Dr. Stroh cares deeply for the kids. She even speaks highly of you and I have heard her say how you are a very good person. However, Lee, you are missing the boat with your reporting the last few weeks. You should at least not sensationalize misinformation. (Editor's note: the Valdez Star has not been informed about any factual errors in its reporting on recent school board meetings) J.B., our maintenance man, called her "polarizing" so that is what made the headlines. (Editor's note: JB Crawford did not once use the word polarizing during public testimony, a teacher testifying did however use the word several times in public testimony.) I believe she is a hero. Will you print that in your headlines? (Editor's note: YES) She has done more to positively affect the kids than anyone during my tenure here at VCS. Do you know that J.B. hasn't been at work last week Tuesday-Friday. He hasn't called in. He just doesn't show up, and that makes more work for the rest of us. Dr. Stroh has been trying to get him to work and he won't. However, he is able to bash her in a public meeting, get huge headlines from it, while she is torn down for doing what is right. She can't defend herself by saying he had lots of reprimands in his file because that is confidential information. (Editor's note: We contacted the employee in question regarding the above allegations; not only are the accusations taken out of context, but sensationalized and misleading, and lacking additional information that documents the accusations as misleading. We were shown the documentation and it is bona fide.) Right now she feels very betrayed by you, the community doesn't need to think she is doing a bad job because she is trying to clean up this mess that was dealt to her when she came.
The winner in all of this will be Dr. Stroh come July 1. Valdez will continue to destroy lives and be a toxic place in which to raise kids- and more families will leave our community However I ask that you please report both sides of the story and not bash her in the newspapers. Our community must heal. I know that her family was supposed to come visit her next week. But she told them to stay home because she doesn't want them to read your headlines. Your actions are destroying one of the most caring people I know. Ink is power, but with it comes the responsibility to do the right thing for our community.
I ask you for compassion and balanced reporting. Let Dr. Stroh finish out her time her in peace. This community will be better off for her decisions and they have tortured her enough. I asked her to call you, but she said she left messages on your answering machine but you don't call her back. (Editor's note: FALSE. We have had ZERO phone messages from Dr. Stroh. We did try to contact the superintendent on her cell phone several times as per one emailed request sent to us at 11:35 a.m. Saturday, April 5 but her phone consistently went straight to voice mail which was full. ) and Please, you don't know the whole story behind her decisions. Have trust that she is doing a good job. Dr. Stroh is what Valdez needed, if only she could have stayed.
Also, why do you print the lies from Michele Rogers? She spent time in jail for selling drugs on school property. What she is saying are flat-out lies. (Editor's note: The accusation you make is a flat out lie and slanderous. Letters to the editor are open anyone in the community who is willing to sign their name to what they have to say, and I challenge you to prove the letters are lies.) Printing her letters and sensationalizing bits and pieces of the stories are making you lose your credibility as an unbiased reporter. You can do better than that, Lee, and we all expect you to do better. Like I said before, ink is powerful. Please use it in a positive manner and you WILL sell more newspapers because we aren't buying the ones the last few weeks. We will continue to widen our boycott your papers.
A very concerned VCS employee