Sunday, December 29, 2013

TGS Seeks Head-of-School Candidates

The Southern Teachers Agency is helping The Galloway School identify candidates to lead the Friendswood school. From a job listing for the TGS Head-of-School position issued by the Southern Teachers Agency, an education placement firm:
Candidates should be successful private school leaders, preferably in Christian environments. They should be particularly adept at developing staff talents and delegating responsibility. Most of all, he or she must be an excellent communicator who listens attentively and enjoys speaking and praying with people over matters of importance to the school community.
This gives us confidence that The Galloway School is returning to the Christian values James and Marie Galloway envisioned for the school when it was created. If there is any remaining doubt, note how the school describes its own guiding principles:
[TGS'] founding mission is to equip students with the Truth of God’s Word while developing their character, intellect, and potential to explore, create, challenge, and lead.
TGS Watch interprets the return to the founding values of The Galloway School to mean that misconduct will no longer be tolerated or even condoned by the administration and board. TGS Watch applauds the new vision of The Galloway School which is actually the school's founding vision.

We certainly hope that the Board receives a great response and has many moral Christian candidates to choose from. TGS Watch doesn't know if the Board is considering current interim Head-of-School Debbie Stroud for the permanent position -- a position Ms. Stroud is certainly qualified for -- but it is clear that the TGS Board intends to conduct a professional and robust search as it selects a new leader to take The Galloway School to its full potential.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

TGS Embraces the Vision of James and Marie Galloway

James Galloway was an extremely generous individual, and his wife Marie continues to be a generous person.  The Galloways have always valued education.  Through hard work and commitment to each other, the Galloways built a successful life together.  Even though they had no children of their own, their commitment to education led them to help educate the children of others.  Because Mr. Galloway was a 1929 graduate of Texas A&M, he was a lifelong supporter of the school.  In 2003, Mrs. Galloway endowed a scholarship at Texas A&M in memory of her husband.  The scholarship is dedicated to assist graduate students studying chemistry.  Even so, Mr. and Mrs. Galloway were far more generous in supporting the education of others. Together, they established The Galloway School in southeast Houston, although Mr. Galloway passed away a year before his vision became reality.  Mrs. Galloway remained committed to their joint vision of seeing The Galloway School become the premier school in the region for advanced academics.

For many years, The Galloway School failed to meet its potential due to poor leadership at the Board and administration level.  But there have been significant positive changes at the school recently.  Turnover at the Board level led to the appointment of a new majority committed to see The Galloway School exceed even the lofty goals established by Mr. and Mrs. Galloway.  The former Head-of-School was released and her policies that limited growth at The Galloway School are changing.  Rather than catering to the needs of the school administration and a select number of faculty, the focus of the school shifted to the students.  The academic and technological needs of the students became more important, as did their physical safety.  TGS Watch believes that interim Head-of-School Debbie Stroud is willing and able to do the hard work to bring The Galloway School to its full potential.

There is still a lot of work ahead for Mrs. Stroud and the new Board.  They are committed to hiring highly qualified teachers and getting the school accredited by a more prestigious organization than the Texas Alliance of Accredited Private Schools (TAAPS).  TGS Watch suggests seeking accreditation from the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS), but we are sure that the Board will give a lot of thoughtful consideration to deciding which accrediting organization it should upgrade to.

There is no question that there is a lot of credit to go around as The Galloway School becomes a world class institution.  TGS Watch attributes most of the credit for the improvements to the new Board members.  Mrs. Stroud, the interim Head-of-School, seems fully in alignment in reinstating the vision of Mr. and Mrs. Galloway and discarding the failed practices of the past.

The Galloway Family is undoubtedly excited about the positive changes happening at The Galloway School.  Parents have high expectations for those they entrust to educate their children, and we believe that the current leadership is committed to exceeding those high expectations.  All of us feel the Owl Pride radiating from The Galloway School.  But James and Marie Galloway are certainly the proudest of us all.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Galloway School Protects Children

Past administrators and past boards at The Galloway School have taken a cavalier attitude toward the physical safety of the school's children and staff. In fact, The Galloway School expelled the TGS Watch children because their parents demanded the school take student safety more seriously. One of many concerns we brought to the school was the use of background checks on employees. In a June 15, 2011 email to the author of TGS Watch, former principal Bonnie Cerace claimed that The Galloway School indeed performed background checks on employees, a claim we later determined was false1.  Background checks began in 2012, one of the positive outcomes of the sexual harassment lawsuit against The Galloway School.

In response to a volatile situation2 at The Galloway School, the new administration and new board have begun to implement even more effective security measures.  The Galloway School now has an armed security officer3.  TGS Watch believes this individual is licensed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE).  Many area schools including Clear Creek ISD and Friendswood ISD have armed guards on campus.  The U.S. Department of Education reports the results of a survey of school security chiefs.  Fourteen of the 15 school security chiefs reported the use of armed security on campus.  Only one reported using unarmed security with "additional support, as needed, from their City Police Department."

Americans today have no problem using armed security at banks to protect something as inconsequential as their money.  TGS Watch is pleased that The Galloway School will protect something far more valuable -- its students -- with armed security, too.


1 Former TGS principal Bonnie Cerace has an adversarial relationship with the truth.

2 The link at this text describes the volatile situation at The Galloway School. According to the Friendswood Journal, threats have been made to persons associated with The Galloway School after former Head of School Bonnie Cerace was terminated.

3 The Galloway School has hired armed security in the past. This was shortly after Bonnie Cerace feverishly imagined a "terroristic threat" that she reported to the Friendswood Police Department. Initially, Ms. Cerace denied making that telephone call to the Friendswood Police Department. She later changed her story when confronted with records from the Friendswood Police Department.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bonnie Cerace Fired from The Galloway School

Sources tell TGS Watch today that Bonnie Cerace has been fired from The Galloway School in Friendswood, Texas.

As the physical safety of children is a top priority for any school, we strongly encourage the leadership at The Galloway School to change the locks on the school immediately. Perhaps the school's administration should contact the Friendswood Police Department to report that Ms. Cerace has been fired and she is known to be volatile.  Recall that the Irving Police Department charged Ms. Cerace with Assault with a Deadly Weapon for allegedly pointing a gun at a man and threatening to kill him.  A TGS Watch commenter reported that the fact that a child or children were present did not deter Ms. Cerace from committing such a gravely reckless act.

Just as this blog anticipated, Debbie Stroud, the assistant principal and interim Head of School, has personal integrity.  TGS Watch doesn't know who The Galloway School will ultimately appoint to replace Ms. Cerace, but we all wish Ms. Stroud the best as she navigates the school during this tumultuous time.


 *** UPDATE *** 

A loyal reader provides new information -- a Dallas County court record related to Ms. Cerace's case. It indicates the Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon charge was no-billed by a grand jury.  TGS Watch has no further information regarding the final disposition of this case.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bonnie Cerace Threatened to Kill Man with Gun – Police Report

TGS Watch has acquired an Irving Police Department incident form for an Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon incident on Sunday, March 7, 1982. The report indicates it was filed on April 1, 1982 and referred to a Dallas County Grand Jury. Beyond that, there is no indication as to the final disposition of this case.

The report indicates that Bonnie Cerace, current principal at The Galloway School in Friendswood, Texas, attracted the attention of the Irving Police Department by allegedly “pointing [a] gun at [complaintant G.A. Fritz], threatening to kill him.”

TGS Watch believes this matter is the same incident TGS Watch reported earlier where Irving Police referred an Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon charge against Ms. Cerace to the Dallas County Grand Jury. Both the Irving Police Department document and the related Dallas County Court document contain the same serial/case number 11545. Even after examining both official documents, the final disposition of the case is unclear.

A supporter of The Galloway School claims to have knowledge about this matter, but some of it contradicts official police records.  The TGS supporter specifically denied that the incident involving Ms. Cerace involved the use of a gun despite the Irving Police Department report.  Secondly, the TGS supporter suggested that at least one child was present when Ms. Cerace committed the acts leading to the Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon grand jury referral.  TGS Watch has no evidence contradicting the claim that one or more children were present at the Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon scene.

Parents need to evaluate whether The Galloway School is an appropriate place to send their children when the principal has been accused with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, particularly when children may have been present during the incident.  TGS Watch takes the physical safety of young school children very seriously and would not enroll Jr. TGS Watch or Younger Brother TGS Watch in a school where people in leadership positions have these kinds of allegations in their past.  Recall, too, that Ms. Cerace has reported on-going threats, including an incident at The Galloway School described by the Friendswood Police Department as a Terroristic Threat in 2011.  A reasonable person may conclude that The Galloway School does not adequately protect the physical safety of its students.

Area public schools provide a more rigorous academic program while simultaneously providing more transparency regarding its school safety / background checks processes.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Comment Moderation

TGS Watch has been extremely tolerant with respect to the comments. In fact, TGS Watch has only deleted one comment.  In a comment left by an ardent supporter of The Galloway School, the author identified some children and where they may be located.  We determined that this comment violated basic internet security, and we deleted it. It was an easy call to remove the offending comment.

Over time, though, the comments have degenerated into an incoherent mess dominated by personal attacks.  This will not continue.  We will immediately begin deleting comments that are not related to the topic of the main post.  Going forward, if you'd like to comment on the HISD ethics investigation of The Galloway School Board President Dot Woodfin, please seek out a post related to your comment.  Likewise, if you'd like to comment on the Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon allegation against The Galloway School principal Bonnie Cerace, please make that comment on an appropriate post.

TGS Watch will not change the settings on comments so that they must be pre-approved, but we will not hesitate to remove comments we determine to be off topic or a personal attack on anyone.  We reserve the right to change the settings at any time, and our decisions are final.

Please continue to make topical comments on appropriate threads.  We will not delete comments based on their point of view -- we will only delete them if they are off topic or contain personal attacks.  Thank you for your understanding.


*** UPDATE ***
June 12, 2012
11:14 p.m. CDT

TGS Watch has received a special request from a long time reader and vociferous supporter of The Galloway School to remove all comments left by her in addition to any comments referencing her name. We here at TGS Watch respect our readers and commenters, and whatever reason she had for her request, we have decided to honor it. Readers may notice a large number of comments have been removed by the administrator. These comments were removed in deference to this request.

TGS Watch extends this offer to any supporter of The Galloway School who has a similar change of heart or any other commenter. Please contact the blog administrator and we will ensure that your comments are also removed.

~TGS Watch

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dot Woodfin Admits Ethical Violation

Dot Woodfin, the Board President and CEO of The Galloway School engaged in a Q & A session answering questions related to the Houston ISD ethics investigation that found her to have very real conflicts of interest involving the sale of MindOH! character education software to HISD schools while she was an employee of the HISD and also owning a significant stake in the company selling MindOH! software. TGS Watch provides some of Ms. Woodfin's statements.

Dot Woodfin Admits Ethical Violation

Ms. Woodfin outright agrees that she violated a conflict of interest provision in a state statute. Ms. Woodfin seems to be under the impression that her ignorance of the ethical standard means that there was no violation of the standard.
Q: Do you agree that [HISD's] finding that there is a conflict of interest in violation of the statement government code was wrong ...

Ms. Woodfin: Had I had knowledge of the protocol of this policy, I would agree ...

Q: Which protocol are you talking about? Standard Practice Memorandum 4168?

Ms. Woodfin: The one that you're speaking of here, which I -- if a person owns 10 percent or more of the voting stock or shares of a business entity, prior to this, I had no knowledge of that.
This ethical violation relates to Ms. Woodfin's 12% ownership in a company named MindOH! LLC. While Ms. Woodfin was an HISD employee, this company earned nearly $200,000 in revenue from the school district. HISD investigators determined that this was a conflict of interest. We are shocked to see Ms. Woodfin suggest that her ignorance of this ethical standard is a mitigating factor.


Dot Woodfin Fails to Comply with Houston Independent School District Standards

Below are several examples of HISD standards that Ms. Woodfin failed to comply with:

HISD Standard:
"If an administrative employee of HISD or a member of his or her immediate family is an officer, agent, or a member of or owns a substantial legal or beneficial interest in any corporation, firm, partnership or other business entity doing business with HISD or its affiliate organizations, he or she shall file a sworn statement with the HISD Board of Education Secretary disclosing such interest."

Ms. Woodfin admits she never filed the required statement:
Q: Did you ever file a sworn statement with the HISD Board of Education Secretary disclosing your interest in MindOH!?

Ms. Woodfin: No.


HISD Standard:
"It is strongly suggested for the protection of the administrator that any administrator having any interest, regardless of how small, seek written clarification concerning possible conflicts of interest."

Again, Ms. Woodfin admits that she didn't seek the recommended clarification of this HISD Standard:
Q: Is it true that you never sought written clarification concerning your possible conflict of interest between your involvement in MindOH! and your position at HISD?

Ms. Woodfin: Yes.


HISD Standard:
"It is recommended that any administrative employee in doubt about a potential conflict of this nature [transactions with other entities in which the employee has a position or interest] seek written clarification concerning any transaction or potential transaction which might create a conflict of interest."

You get the idea. Ms. Woodfin admits she didn't bother to get this clarification either:
Q: It's true that you never sought written clarification concerning any transaction or potential transaction with MindOH! with respect to whether it might create a conflict of interest?

Ms. Woodfin: Yes.


Ms. Woodfin Doesn't Understand Accountability Systems

Long after Ms. Woodfin was in the eye of the metaphorical ethical storm that culminated in an unflattering article in the Houston Chronicle, Ms. Woodfin still did not understand the ethical standards HISD accused her of violating. This lack of knowledge suggests to TGS Watch that Ms. Woodfin had little interest in learning about the ethical standards.
Ms. Woodfin: I don't understand these [HISD ethics] circulars, the Accountability System, the Texas Local Government Code, Section 16 of the Special Act of 1923 because I do not know what those state.
TGS Watch believes that the Houston Independent School District is a professional organization. We've got to believe that HISD offers ethics training to its employees. Regardless, most ethical standards are common sense. We can't imagine that anyone could fail to see the MindOH! transaction as ethically dubious.1 A good employee will know when s/he is approaching the boundaries of unethical conduct and will seek clarification and advice. Ms. Woodfin seems to have a strange lack of curiosity about the ethical standards she was subject to.


TGS Watch is utterly amazed that not only did Ms. Woodfin fail to provide required disclosures and other clarifications, she seems to have no interest at all in ethical standards. We can only hope that things have changed at The Galloway School and that there aren't any related-party transactions between the school and Board Members / Administrative Staff. What are the chances that Ms. Woodfin even bothered to learn the Conflict of Interest policy at TGS?


1 Ms. Woodfin's role in the MindOH! scandal at HISD reminds TGS Watch of the corrupt acts of Andrew Fastow leading up to the collapse of Enron. Mr. Fastow was an employee of Enron Corp. and the General Partner of LJM2, Co-Investment LP. Fortunately, under Superintendent Abe Saavedra, HISD was far more sensitive to corruption in 2004-2005 than Enron was in 2001.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Commenter: Child Present at Incident that led to Bonnie Cerace's Assault with a Deadly Weapon Charge

TGS Watch has previously provided documented evidence from Dallas County that The Galloway School principal Bonnie Cerace had been charged with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon1. The commenter, who identifies herself as a parent2, does not provide any documentation for her story. However, she says that a young child was present during the incident that led to Ms. Cerace's charge for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon:
A very close family members baby had been taken from the babies mom by his father. (they were in a custody battle). I can't blog to much surrounding the moms fears of the baby being in the hands of his father but it was enough to risk there lives and face grown men alone to protect him. When the mom (miss ceraces close family member) contacted the police they were told they couldn't help until she had him back. They were told to go get the baby. The mom and Miss Cerace went to Dallas to the house the baby was at and did just that. They got him back. Things turned out very ugly and was a big battle to get the baby.

Spelling and grammatical errors in original
Up front, we want to point out at least one factual inconsistency in this comment. Dallas County court records indicate that this event happened in Irving (Filing agency TX0571500 is the Irving Police Department), not Dallas. TGS Watch also finds it hard to believe that any law enforcement agency would instruct a parent to "risk there [sic] lives" in a contentious custody battle. Again, the person making this assertion provides no documentation for her version of events, so it isn't unreasonable to believe that she is embellishing the factual record.

TGS Watch finds this account of the events leading up to Ms. Cerace's charge of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon to be utterly frightening. Why would Ms. Cerace put herself in a position where there would be a "big battle to get a baby"? In the opinion of TGS Watch, this account (if true) shows that Ms. Cerace has extremely poor judgement when it comes to the safety of children. TGS Watch wonders how any insurance company could provide liability coverage to a school if even half of the allegations found in this comment are true.

1 Dallas County court records indicate that the felony Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon charge was eventually reduced to a misdemeanor. *** SEE UPDATE BELOW ***

2 The parent (a supporter of The Galloway School) who made the assertion that children were present during the event that led to Ms. Cerace being charged with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon has requested that her name be removed from this blog. Consequently, the comment that includes this information has also been removed. TGS Watch retains the original text in electronic form. See the update at the bottom of this post for more information.



Please see this comment with discussion that the hard-to-decipher Dallas County court document is inconclusive regarding the disposition of this case. All we can really divine from it is that the Irving Police Department filed an Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon charge against The Galloway School principal Bonnie Cerace with Dallas County.