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News & Views - Jul, 2000 Issue #71

Statement On The King George School
By Robert Kantar, IECA Member
102 North State Street
Concord, NH. 03301
(603) 228-8442
Email: Rkantar@aol.com 

To: Mr. Mark Sklarow, Executive Director of I.E.C.A. for Distribution to the membership 

From: Robert Kantar, Educational Consultant since 1974 

Twenty-five years ago, I established my consulting practice and I have worked ever since to support the Independent Educational Consultants Association. My interest, as anyone who knows me is from the point of view of a child’s need. 

As a consultant working with three wonderful families who have children attending the King George School, I am concerned that consultants receive an accurate and up-to-date picture of what the on-site situation is. I spent Saturday, June 24, 2000, at the school discussing the wonderful successes they have achieved with my three students. I have since maintained regular phone contact with all parties to the discussion and I am up to speed at this writing.

In the course of the discussions which have included the parents of these three children who are active, dedicated, and talented supporters we have explored many questions regarding the future success of the school. The tone of these meetings and the cooperation of all parties to them have been professional, tempered, emotional, fair, and comprehensive. They also have been exciting and rewarding to all involved. 

We discussed disagreements between founder Linda Houghton and the Brown Schools Management team including Mr. Paul Dudley Hart, President of Educational Services Division for the Brown Schools and Ms. Donna Burtanger, VP Marketing for Brown Schools. The discussions were frank and wide ranging. I participated in these discussions along with what has emerged as a very strong and positive parent group led by Mr. Robert Green, Mr. Thomas Gross and Mr. Clement Erbmann, each highly skilled professional business experts. When I arrived on Saturday, Mr. Green had camped out at the school and given notice that he would not leave until the school and the children were safe. Mr. Gross and Mr. Erbmann did the same within their work constraints and there is a clear commitment on their part to see that this school remains the beacon of quality education it has promised. They have unique skills for this task and we formed a team which is committed to long term support. I left the discussions Sunday for a prescheduled meeting in Birmingham from where I continued with some phone and fax contact on Sunday and Monday explaining the delay in sending this out. I shall attend some of the scheduled meetings later this week. 

I must share with you the very fruitful results of these recent efforts, which should unquestionably reassure you of the continued good health of King George School and the unfaltering support of the Brown Schools. 

The interest of the children has been foremost in the minds of the parents and all those concerned in the discussions. The Brown Schools did not accept the idea of a resignation from Linda Houghton or other staff members. Each of them will continue to work with the King George School under a very positive written agreement. The parent group will continue to function as a support to the overall mission of this wonderful school. 

As a result of these discussions, Linda Houghton will continue as the leader at the school and simultaneously develop her dream of creating an organization to promote “Emotional Growth Curriculum” and train teachers and individuals in the implementation skill of such a curriculum. Linda Houghton and Paul Hart will work together to gradually free Linda for her mission, while a transition leader will be selected to carry on the founding mission of the school. A library and social gathering space will be expedited before the close of the year 2000 and the Brown Schools will continue to invest significant funds into this marvelous program. 

I am sure as the weeks unfold these discussions will go a long way in continuing the high energy commitment necessary to preserve and fulfill this special school. 

It is my opinion shared by my parent friends that the Brown Schools, particularly with the sensitive assistance of Paul Hart, have demonstrated a deep concern for the children and the mission of King George School. I have agreed to continue to support the efforts of parents, the Brown Schools and Linda Houghton to make the King George School maintain its fine reputation and special mission. 

I am somewhat aware of the degree of concern shown by consultants around the country. It is understandable that in the lively discussion that may have taken place, suggestions and postures may have been explored which reflected anger rather than facts. Indeed some may have made generalizations and connections, which were totally unwarranted and inaccurate. 

I can only testify that the Brown Schools, under the direction of Paul Hart, have acted in good faith and deserve special thanks for resolving what might have been a bad experience for all. They have demonstrated unwavering support of the program financially and administratively. They have shown flexibility, warmth, and great caring for the King George Community. I believe that the interest of children, parents, staff, and Linda Houghton, as well as the interests of the Brown Schools has been properly aired, properly addressed and amicable resolved. 

I shall continue to make referrals as usual and I am sure the students are safe, cared for and unscathed by this needed discussion process. I hope each of you will do your own research, visit King George and discuss, as needed your concerns. The parents will be meeting at the end of this week in regularly scheduled parent weekend activities and whatever concerns outstanding will receive responses. I am impressed with the whole process that unfolded and I am convinced this is a model school that resolves differences with adults with the same skill and concern they have for the children. Other schools might mimic this process in similar situations. 

I sincerely hope that consultants will use their most professional posture to accurately explain the situation and use their good will to prevent any damage to hard earned reputations. 

Thank you for hearing me out. As I am not regular on the Internet. I have asked Mark Sklarow to distribute for me. 

Robert Kantar, Educational Consultant 

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