The New Wildcat Central
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This page contains older news items from the New Wildcat Central.

   The Diamond R-4 Board of Education stuck to its June 26 decision to put elementary counselor Sarah Cleary and me on "unpaid leaves of absence."
    Ron Badley will not be placed on unpaid leave. His math position opened up again when the board accepted the resignation of athletic director/transportation director Eddie Jones. High School Principal Robert Blizzard, who had been scheduled to teach math part-time, will now return to full-time principal duties since Jones had been scheduled to watch the high school office while Mr. Blizzard was teaching.
   On a personal note, I'm still a little numb. I went into last night's board meeting knowing that I had only a slim chance of teaching in the Diamond R-4 School District when school begins next month. It was still painful to hear the final decision. No matter how many nice things were said about me by board members during the closed session (and there were quite a few) and no matter how many times they told me they appreciated the things I had done at my own expense for the district, they still did not believe there was a place for me on the faculty here. It's especially painful when the superintendent comments that the decision was made based on which teachers' removal would affect the fewest students.
   The decision has been made and the battle is over. I don't apologize to these people who have left messages on the guestbook and the Wildcat Central Poll criticizing me for fighting to keep doing something I love doing. The messages indicated I should stop whining and go get a new job. I don't consider what I did to be whining (and I do hope to find a new job), but I have learned that if you just roll over and let people do something to you that you think is wrong, you're going to spend your whole life rolling over.
   Thanks to the parents and students who supported me at the meeting. I was touched by the kind comments made by Mrs. Nickolaisen, Michelle Nickolaisen, Chelsie Baker, Stacia Martens, Zach Towers, Rikki Lee Jump, and Paul Holland. If I left somebody out, I apologize. Thanks also to Gary Harrall, Todd Forest, Thia Wiggins, Amanda Brashear, Crystal Harrall, Lacey Carneal, Andrew Hoffman, Mike Waddell, Jessica Harrison, for being there. If I left anybody out, please let me know, so I can add the name or names to the list.
   I won't lie and tell you that I am not depressed over losing my job. I am. But I also won't tell you that I didn't come out of that meeting last night feeling good. The comments I heard before, during, and after the meeting let me know that, in some small way, I had made a difference in your lives. That's a good feeling to have.
   Look upon the board meeting as an educational experience. For some of you, it was your first opportunity to try to make a difference in your community. And you were successful. You made the board members have to think twice about their decision. Just because they didn't reach the decision that you (and I) had hoped they would make does not diminish your contributions in the slightest.
   Someday, whether it be at a school board meeting, a city council meeting, a student council meeting, or who knows what, you will fight another battle with that kind of passion, and next time, you may just come out on the winning side. The only time you lose is if you don't play the game.
   Thanks again for all of the letters of support. I plan to write each of you personally.
   This website will remain available to you. Please feel free to submit comments on the guestbook. Give me some suggestions for the Wildcat Central Poll (I'm tired of the one that's on there now). And if you have any story, or message, or photo you want put on there, e-mail it to me at
   It's time to open the next pages of my life, but I don't intend to ever forget the chapters from my times in Diamond. Hopefully, Wildcat Central can keep those memories alive.
   Keep smiling!
Mr. T

   Since Thursday night's Diamond R-4 Board of Education meeting, I have been waiting for a letter telling me that I will no longer be teaching in the school district.
   At Thursday night's meeting, the board voted to eliminate three faculty members because of the ongoing budget situation. Technically, these people are still part of the faculty, but they don't teach and they don't get paid. It is called RIF or Reduction in Force. I was at the meeting and I knew I was going to be one of the three teachers.
   After the meeting, I tried to find out if I would be teaching at Diamond this fall. No one would tell me. The board members did not know. They had simply voted to eliminate the three positions and they would be told by registered letter who they were eliminating.
   The ones who did know did not tell me anything. I didn't receive any call yesterday. Instead, they made me wait two days to find out.
   I found out this morning. For some reason, the mail carrier did not try to ring my doorbell. He left a little card saying I had a registered letter from the Diamond R-4 School District. Hopefully, I will be able to pick it up this afternoon, so that I can found out how you tell a person he is no longer employed (except technically, I guess) with the school system and that you have made the decision to cut faculty at a time when the next school year is only a few weeks away and it is highly unlikely that any jobs will be available. I have the option of having a hearing before the board at the Thursday, July 17, meeting. I don't anticipate it will do me any good, but I do plan to speak at that meeting.
   I don't know what this decision means for Wildcat Central. I will keep it going for the time being, but it is highly doubtful that much new content will be added. I'm going to have to spend most of my time trying to find a way to make a living.
   I am going to miss seeing all of you this fall. During the spring time, I had considered applying for jobs with other school districts, but I didn't do so because I have loved working with the students in the R-4 School District these past four years and I decided this was where I wanted to be.
   I will still be available (by e-mail or instant messaging, if nothing else) to any students who need help or to anyone who just needs a sounding board.
   Thanks to all of you for these past four years. I have truly enjoyed my time at Diamond. Thanks to the staff, the parents and especially to those of you who were in my classes. Remember, you may not be in my class any more, but I will always consider you to be my students.

Randy Turner

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