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The Buck Stops Here: Anatomy of a Smear – Part II

In Part I of this series, I explained that the parent of a child at Pinecrest Academy in Henderson, Tiecha Ashcroft, has been complaining about all manner of things at her kid’s school – in particular a new recess policy – and criticizing the school’s new principal, the highly-regarded Dr. Carrie Buck.

OK, fine. You can’t please everybody, right? And anyone who’s ever been a member of a PTA knows that cranks and malcontents simply go with the territory.

So why am I writing about this situation when I have no connection to the school whatsoever?

Because Ms. Ashcroft found a blogger to unethically air Ms. Ashcroft’s petty grievances on the Internet – and the blog post has caused serious, undeserved harm to the reputations of both the school and Dr. Buck.

And you’re not going to believe who the blogger is!

No, it’s NOT Nevada’s #2 liberal blogger…though I can understand why the “unethical” reference might have led you to believe otherwise.  But I’ll get to that in a minute.  First a little about the school itself.

The most important thing to know is that Pinecrest Academy is a CHARTER school.  As such, people CHOOSE whether or not to send their kids there.

Which means if a parent doesn’t like the way the school is being run or thinks the principal is an ogre, they are free to put their progeny back in a regular public school, pay to send them to a private school, or take the option Gia and I have taken and homeschool.

On the other hand, there is a WAITING LIST of other parents who would LOVE the opportunity to send their kids to Pinecrest Academy but can’t get in because the school is full.

So not only is Ms. Ashcroft making a nuisance of herself and disrupting school operations rather than simply going somewhere else, she’s denying another family of the opportunity to get a great education at a great school loaded with great teachers and administered by a great principal.

And why are so many families dying to get into Pinecrest. Well, take a look at some of the school’s published expectations as outlined in its operating manual…

  • We follow a school-wide vision that puts KIDS FIRST in all we do!
  • All decisions are based on what is best for students
  • We work together to get things done for the benefit of all children
  • We work daily to improve school climate and morale at Pinecrest Academy
  • Come to the table with solutions and be part of the solution and not part of the problem
  • Work hard and play hard
  • Student and staff recognition and celebration will be built in to our daily schedules
  • Mediocrity is not acceptable
  • Open door policy
  • School-wide reading and math groups

If only ALL of our regular public schools followed such a model!

Pinecrest also has the additional benefit of having hired an Educational Management Organization (EMO)…

“ACADEMICA NEVADA provides Charter Schools with comprehensive service and support. We ensure a professionally managed and operated charter school that meets the requirements of the school’s contracts, local ordinances and State and Federal Laws.

“Academica Nevada offers guidance and resources to guide Charter Schools from conception onward. Most importantly, Academica Nevada ensures the vision of a charter school Board of Directors is faithfully and effectively implemented.”

Which brings me to the school’s Board of Directors…

Just like the school’s principal, teachers, administrators, curriculum, mission and EMO, Pinecrest’s governing board is first-class all the way.

BOARD CHAIRMAN:  Candace Friedmann is a retired CCSD teacher who taught first grade for 16 years. She received her BA from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois with a major in elementary education and psychology.  She has a Master of Education degree from Lesley University in Curriculum and Instruction: Integrated Teaching through the Arts. In 2006 she received an award for Distinguished Elementary School Educator in the Southeast Region.

BOARD VICE-CHAIRMAN: Randy Walker is the former director of aviation for Clark County and was responsible for the oversight of McCarran International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world.  Prior to that, Walker was assistant county manager for Clark County, where he oversaw 12 county departments and provided fiscal oversight for District Court, Justice Court, and all of Clark County’s elected officials.

The remaining members of the board all come from a diverse background and bring something unique in talent and experience that greatly benefits Pinecrest Academy. Indeed, not one of these folks fell off the turnip truck last night.

  • So what we have here is a charter school…
  • To which parents CHOOSE to send their kids…
  • Which has a waiting list a mile long to get in…
  • That has an exceptionally talented and experienced principal…
  • That has an exceptionally talented teaching staff…
  • That has hired an exceptionally talented EMO…
  • And has an exceptionally talented board of directors…

Oh, and Tiecha Ashcroft…

Who’s been bitchin’ about the school’s new recess policy and found a blogger willing to turn that ridiculously petty molehill into an internet mountain.

And seriously, you are NOT going to believe who the blogger is.

Find out in Part III of “The Buck Stops Here: Anatomy of a Smear.”


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