GOODYEAR, AZ - Angry parents, frustrated teachers, and a long time superintendent now sitting in the hot seat — that's the drama unfolding at the Liberty Elementary School District right now.
The future of Dr. Andrew Rogers was on the table at a hastily called special board meeting Thursday night. The agenda item listed an executive session to discuss a buyout of Dr. Roger's contract.
Liberty elementary school district board members met in executive session on Thursday night.
A board member introduced a motion to terminate the superintendence contract and discuss a possible buyout. There was no second for the motion so the issue was dropped and the superintendent kept his job.
Many parents who have been behind this effort to fire Dr. Rogers said it's a hefty price they were willing to pay for the future of their children.
Parents said they were not satisfied with Roger's leadership, calling it "tyrannical." One parent compared his management style to that of Adolph Hitler.
A former teacher, who had worked in the district for 14 years, called the superintendent "manipulative, underhanded and very sneaky."
Connie Crowley who led the "gifted students" program at the district said she was "walked off" campus on three occasions with no real reason given. Crowley said she believed it was because she had raised concerns about the district not following state law. She described the atmosphere as "hostile."
"I had decided enough was enough. I decided to resign my position so I could speak out about the things that were happening," said Crowley.
Crowley quit her job with the district at the start of the school year.
She said the first time district officials walked her off campus was very painful.
"The first time I really lost myself. I thought, 'What is going on here? I know I'm an amazing teacher,'" she explained.
Mary Spadaro has three children in the school district. She says she got involved in the effort to oust the superintendent after seeing a decline in the quality of education; also seeing some of her favorite teachers being re-assigned to work from home and "investigated" for voicing concerns at the school.
"They're forced to leave, and they're forced to be quiet. They can't say anything. I have had teachers coming up to me and saying thank you for never quitting on us. Thank you for fighting," said Spadaro.
Emily Snyder also had two children enrolled in the district. She also served as a treasurer in the Parent-Teacher Organization.
She said Dr. Rogers had threatened to shut down the organization after she spoke out against him.
"He asked me to resign as treasurer because I spoke out, and if I did not do that he was going to shut the PTO down," said Snyder.
She added that it only strengthened her resolve to speak out against him.
ABC15 reached out to Dr. Rogers for a comment. He declined to do an on-camera interview with us but stressed the nature of the special board meeting was to discuss a buyout of his contract, not his termination.
Rogers declined to answer any specific questions regarding accusations made against him parents and former teachers, but did want to point out his string of successes within the district.
Rogers said under his leadership the district had the best teacher retention rate ever. He has helped start many new reading, writing, and technology programs within the district, and student enrollment was increasing at a time they faced stiff competition from Charter Schools.