Denise Birdwell Is Radioactive

SUSD's toxic environment is taking a toll: Teachers are exiting, parents are protesting and taxpayers worry that their money is being mismanaged ... to put it mildly.
To make matters worse, the school district's name is constantly in the news and being tied to allegations of a cover up of chronic corruption. And the Respect Our Scottsdale Students' (ROSS) Facebook page is beginning to look like a police blotter as its editors uncover reams of evidence incriminating individuals who are complicit in the erosion of ethics.
All of it is costing SUSD dearly.
Superintendent Birdwell's erratic behavior and sadistic management style have taken a personal price. It has cost her friends. And of the few who are left, most are referred to as her "Fake Friends." That's the people too petrified to either stand up to her or take a walk - because they fear losing their fat paychecks and fringe benefits.
There are those, however, who still hold out hope that the dark cloud parked over the school district will pass. Some with impaired judgment are even trying to save the superintendent from the inevitable ending to her tenure by creating distractions from the shock and awe of what's happening to SUSD.
Take, for instance, Businesses United for Scottsdale Schools (BUSS), the brainchild of School Board member Kim Hartmann.
Tomorrow BUSS is presenting an event called the "Coronado Success Initiative, a Summary of Year One Progress." One of the keynote speakers will be Dr. A. Denise Birdwell. The same esteemed Dr. Birdwell who is systematically destroying our school district's credibility.
Kudos to those who have been working diligently to turn around the performance of Coronado High School students - especially ASU's Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and Scottsdale Charros. Chris Gilmore, the new principal, deserves a special shout out for how he has managed the educational makeover of the south Scottsdale high school. But it's the teachers who are the real heroes because they've had to adjust to significant changes and increased expectations.
The event will be well attended. Who, after all, doesn't support improving the academic performance of Coronado students.  Attendees will hear that things are on track. But they will be reminded that the process to get Coronado students up to the learning level of their peers at other SUSD schools isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. So the community needs to be patient.
There's also plenty that people won't hear tomorrow.
Superintendent Birdwell's enemies list won't come up. Neither will the short-term memory loss she exhibited when interviewed during SUSD's internal investigation into when she knew Laura Smith, the former CFO, had a conflict of interest that forced Smith to resign. SUSD teachers' vote of "no confidence" in the superintendent won't be mentioned, either. And don't expect to hear anything about the attorney general's probe into possible improprieties in the Birdwell administration nor the effect the superintendent's political radioactivity is having on the community.
No, tomorrow will be a chance to escape reality for 90 minutes about what's being allowed to happen to our school district.
Coincidentally, there will be a rally today at 4 PM at Coronado High School, 7501 E. Virginia Ave.  The ROSS sponsored event's rallying cry is "terminate the superintendent, demand fiscal responsibility and support our teachers."