NEW BERLIN – Several parents, community members and teachers all plan to speak in support of recently dismissed teacher and former New Berlin Education Association President Joe Kindred at the New Berlin School District 16 Board of Education (BOE) meeting tonight. At its last board meeting on July 25, the BOE voted to fire Kindred and to discipline Tonya Delaney, a fellow teacher who is now the NBEA president.
“We are in the midst of uncertain times and it’s causing a lot of stress for our parents, students and educators. But one thing that is certain now is that when school starts up again this fall, whatever that looks like, we want Joe by our side,” Delaney said. “It’s simple: Joe has been an outstanding leader and a strong advocate for our students and our fellow teachers. We want him to get his job back.”
“The community stands with Joe and the rest of our New Berlin teachers,” parent Rebekah Fuchs said. “We are standing up to the bullies on the board. They were elected to act on behalf of the people of this community and we want the board to know we believe in our teachers and we want Joe to get his job back.”
The board’s move to dismiss Kindred and discipline Delaney comes after the union took a vote of no confidence against former Superintendent Adam Ehrman in October. Shortly after the union vote, the administration began multiple investigations into NBEA leaders, including Kindred and Delaney.
“We took the vote of no confidence in Superintendent Ehrman because we believe he created a toxic working environment, and our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions,” Delaney said.
The NBEA represents more than 60 teachers within the New Berlin School District. Kindred has spent nearly 15 years in the district as a high school math teacher and the baseball coach. The district has three schools and serves 950 students.
The virtual BOE meeting is tonight, July 9, at 6 p.m. The meeting is being held via Zoom. Attendees can join through this link. Those joining the meeting in support of New Berlin teachers are being asked to use the attached Zoom profile picture and Zoom background.
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.