A seven-person teachers union delegation tried and failed Thursday to voice public displeasure with Katonah-Lewisboro School Superintendent Paul Kreutzer.
But the request, delivered by Geoff Curtis, vice president of the Katonah-Lewisboro District Teachers Association at a school board meeting, prompted a round of hurried cellphone calls for legal advice and an abrupt end to the board's meeting at John Jay Middle School.
Along the way, board members debated whether to allow a public presentation, to hear the teachers’ complaints in executive session or—as eventually happened—to accept only the document itself, six purple pages, and decide later on a course of action.
The union broadside found fault with Kreutzer in both the superintendent's actions and his temperament, in both Katonah-Lewisboro as well as his previous posting in New Berlin, Wis.
Locally, the teachers charge, Kreutzer has engaged in “petulant tirades” and “reportedly bullied and intimidated school district employees, administrators, teachers, town leaders and outside workers, creating a malaise and unhealthy work environment in the school community. Indeed, as a result, before his first year at the helm had ended, an unprecedented number of top-level administrators have abruptly left the district.
In potentially the most serious charge in his current post—that he sexually harassed four women employed by the district—the union said it “objectively and independently investigated” but the statement offered neither details nor conclusions.
Kreutzer, for his part, refused to discuss any part of the teachers’ statement, referring queries to a district spokesman.
“We came here tonight,” the statement concluded, “to announce that we have lost confidence in Dr. Kreutzer’s ability to lead and to ensure that this board act upon the evidence of Dr. Kreutzer’s record of abuse and the threat Dr. Kreutzer poses to the employees and students of the Katonah-Lewisboro School District.”
Curtis, a teacher at John Jay High School, had delivered similar remarks in preamble at the lectern’s open mike. But Board President Mark Lipton abruptly shut him down, calling the statement a “personal attack” that would not be allowed to continue. Later, addressing board members, Lipton said, “We should not allow our meeting to be ambushed this way.”
Editor's note: This story originally said the board called an executive session during the meeting. The board briefly stopped the meeting but did not declare executive session. We have fixed the copy.