Former Everett Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani’s placement on administrative leave because of the allegations of ten unnamed school department employees claiming they were fearful of her retaliation is the stuff of contrivance.
At worst, it is evil. It is a bold and transparent effort by the school committee to besmirch her reputation for the sake of getting rid of her.
The school committee’s collective majority voice, except for three members not controlled by city hall, voted Tahiliani out – and did so with vigor, a bit of contempt, and with the effort largely designed to ruin her reputation, but mainly to get rid of her.
A woman of color acting independently to improve the Everett public schools has been removed for the pettiest of reasons and by unnamed employees who claimed they were fearful of Tahiliani.
The majority of school committee members resented Tahiliani because she knew what she was doing, did it well, and gained the respect of teachers and administrators alike throughout the school system.
Those who voted against her delighted in doing so and did so with a great effect, that of the mob mentality.
We know this, Tahiliani’s time here was entirely positive for the public school children of the city.
During her time here, the city was forced to recognize that racism cannot be tolerated, especially in a school system that is largely Black, Brown, Hispanic and Brazilian.
Her energy and skill during the pandemic was notable, but largely ignored and then criticized by those determined to be rid of her.
The majority of school committee members disliked her independence, her intelligence, her power as an educator who understood the public school predicament.
She did not bend to the wishes of those of who wanted her removed…and ultimately…she was removed by them.
This proves an important talking point for anyone seeking to become the next superintendent of the public schools here.
Unless you are prepared to be a rubber stamp for politicians who have no idea how to head the Everett public schools in the right direction into the second decade of the 21st Century, don’t apply.
As for Tahilliani, she will learn over time that her dismissal, or whatever one seeks to call it, at the hands of the school committee, was a joke, and a bad joke at that.
Her worst sins were being an independent educated Indian woman trying to play out a leadership role in a city where all her attributes were considered impediments by most of the school committee.
Not being in Everett anymore will come to be Tahiliani’s savior, as she will learn that there are other opportunities in other communities where public school education is put before politics.
It is hard for her to imagine right now that her life has just been improved dramatically and a better future is unfolding for her because of a vote of the Everett school committee.
She will have the last laugh.