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Will Danville board reverse demotion/firing of Ed McKinney? We’ll know in a few hours

By LARRY VAUGHT

In just a few hours the Danville Board of Education could decide whether to uphold the demotion of Ed McKinney, one of the district’s most loyal employees, or reverse the action that former superintendent Keith Look took.

McKinney has been the district’s director of pupil personnel before being demoted by Look on May 8, according to a story in today’s Advocate-Messenger by Ben Kleppinger.

A four-hour hearing was held Monday where McKinney and his lawyers contested the demotion and a board meeting tonight at 5 p.m. could either keep McKinney in the school system or send him on his way.

Let me be perfectly clear here. I am biased. Totally biased. McKinney not only was my son’s high school basketball coach, he’s also been a friend for years. When he had opportunities to leave Danville, I encouraged him to stay — advice I now regret — because of what he meant to the school system.

Now his reward for his loyalty of not taking another job or making sure his three children did attend Danville schools is to be demoted by a superintendent that had already been fired and obviously never respected McKinney.

“It’s not Danville Schools. It’s former Super and it’s complicated. But know for sure that Ed McKinney has my support too!” was one message I got on Twitter today.

About 20 coaches from across the state have called to ask me if this is really true about Danville basically firing McKinney. All were shocked.

Check out a few of the responses I got after a rant on Facebook about this:

“That is terrible. How can a fired superintendent fire anyone? Ed has been a great advocate for Danville high school for years,” posted David Cornelius.

“Mr. McKinney was such a positive influence on our son. Praying the school system does the right thing by him,” wrote Carmen Hampton.

“Thankful for your post, Mr. Vaught. Ed McKinney is a loyal and positive person who has been kid-focused and commited to DISD (Danville Independent School District,” wrote Bridget Johnston Mountjoy. “The former superintendent, not the current board members, was responsible for appointing/hiring staff. The full board, only, allocates positions. Hopefully, now that this board is less the former superintendent, the board will do what is right for our learning community: reinstate Mr. McKinney, for he is the sole admin with such long-term knowledge and connection on our community. Surprised by anyone who expresses anything but full support of Mr. McKinney.

“What a shame! Ed McKinney is such a positive role model! posted Marti Gum Nesbitt.

One current school employee talked about the “value” McKinney adds to the district and hopes the “board will do the smart thing tonight and overturn the decision.”

So do I. The board has to understand McKinney has put his heart and soul into making the Danville schools better for probably the last 25 years. If this demotion is not overturned, he has no job. How can anyone on any board justify that? I know loyalty is not part of most business structures any more, but shouldn’t a school system value what is good for kids and there’s no way dismissing McKinney — like some before him have been in recent years — can be good for Danville schools.

McKinney wisely has had little to say about the situation. He only told a few folks what had gone on in early May. Perhaps he thought the new superintendent or the school board would reverse this decision without him having to have a hearing.

“The community, this district, and people like you have done far more for me and my family than I have done in return,” McKinney said in a response today when I reached out to him. “So today, I’m really just thankful for all the great years my family and I have had in Danville and in the Danville Schools. 

“This community has shaped all of our lives in so many positive ways I couldn’t mention them all.  The McKinney family is blessed to have been, and still be, part of this great community and school system.”

That’s the Ed McKinney I know and love. He could be bitter but instead he’s taking the high road and is appreciative of what he has had.

I would like to go to the board meeting tonight. However, if McKinney’s demotion is not overturned, I would be embarrassed to be there and it will be hard for me to support a school system going forward that I have loved for as long as I can remember.

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