(From Sept. 26, 2013)
Shortly after that, seeing the handwriting on the wall, Besendorfer, who had just received a raise to $110,000, resigned her job to take a lower-paying position, $96,000 per year, as an assistant superintendent in the Joplin R-8 School District. (One year later, she was making the same amount she had left at Reeds Spring.)
Now six years later, one of the three board members who lost their jobs for backing Besendorfer is getting paid as a consultant for the school district.
As noted in the Sept. 25 Turner Report, Terri Tucker served as a facilitator at a June Board of Education retreat in which board members learned that they should not mix in the day-to-day operation of the school district, that they should not deal with parent complaints, and that they should put their faith in their administrators, an approach that she had apparently followed in Reeds Spring.
For that advice, Ms. Tucker, the head of Tucker Resources in Kimberling City, received $2,117 and this is not the first time she has provided her services to the R-8 School District. Ms. Tucker also helped district officials this spring as they conducted a series of public meetings to explain the controversial redistricting proposal.
Ms. Tucker has also served as a consultant/facilitator for Bright Futures USA (the one that is private, but which is operated out of the Joplin R-8 Administration Building at 32nd and Duquesne.
Ms. Tucker's connection with Angie Besendorfer was a key reason for her failure to get elected to the Reeds Spring Board (she had initially been appointed to fill out the remainder of someone else's term). Online messages posted during the weeks before the election tagged Ms. Tucker as one of Mrs. Besendorfer's shopping buddies.
Just as in Joplin, Mrs. Besendorfer's tenure coincided with a mass departure of teachers, some by choice, some forced out. One of those teachers was a former Teacher of the Year, Mike Collins, who was allegedly fired for using profane language when he stopped two bullies from picking on a developmentally disabled high school student. Collins had not seen eye-to-eye with Mrs. Besendorfer on the way she was running the district, which many felt led to trumped-up charges against him. The public rallied around Collins and elected three board members who campaigned on a pledge to get rid of Besendorfer.
When new board members were elected and Mrs. Besendorfer had left for the greener pastures of Joplin, one of the first introductions to the new R-8 assistant superintendent came in the form of a letter to the Joplin Globe:
Only once in a while does a person meet someone who has so perfectly chosen their profession.
There are very few “called” to heal people, to comfort people, to protect people, and to teach people. The new assistant superintendent of the Joplin R-8 School District is one of those people who was meant to serve children, make clear their paths and shine the light of possibilities on their horizons. Angie Bessendorfer is leaving the superintendent role at Reeds Spring School District and is heading to the Joplin district with anticipation of positively affecting nearly four times the number of students and their families. We thank Angie for her contributions in our community and applaud the people of Joplin for their wise choice. If you open your arms and welcome this wonderful lady, you will find a truly eager servant. Angie taught us to keep focused on what is truly best for children and how our actions attach lessons to them. We will not forget.
Two people signed the letter. One was a woman named Cindy Morris.
The other is now the go-to consultant/facilitator for the Joplin R-8 School District- Terri Tucker.