FORT WORTH - Fort Worth Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Melody Johnson announced her resignation Thursday, to be effective this September. News 8 has obtained dozens of e-mails that provide some insight as to why.
On March 22, 2011, the Fort Worth ISD Board of Trustees was preparing to cut millions. Staffers and teachers were facing the loss of their jobs.
It was in that meeting that Trustee Carlos Vasquez made what some considered a startling comment about Superintendent Johnson: "They might think I’m radical or crazy, but I think it's a way for Dr. Johnson to get rid of people she doesn't like in her administration."
Two days later, Trustee Judy Needham wrote to the board president, Raymond Dickerson, saying, "…wondered why you ... don't say something to those bullies." She also said that other trustees "...smell blood to get rid of Melody."
This week, commenting on Dr. Johnson’s resignation announcement, Trustee Juan Rangel said, "We congratulate Dr. Johnson, she's done a great job for us."
In e-mails just a few months before her resignation, however, he accused her of "difficult and harsh practices" and an "I gotcha mentality."
The e-mails between trustees, staffers and Johnson are filled with what the superintendent’s supporters call personal attacks on both Johnson and staff
"No one deserves that, it's just uncivil," said Needham.
Johnson says she's resigning because it was difficult to remain focused on the instructional agenda.
Just two weeks before Johnson's resignation decision, Ann Sutherland wrote the superintendent about a nearly $18,000 funding loss to the district over attendance, asking why the board was "kept in the dark."
Vasquez joined the e-mail exchange saying, "I feel like someone is not being honest..."
Rangel defended tough questioning, saying, "I don't think you're uncivil when you're very concerned."
One of the last concerns in the e-mail is Johnson's salary. Trustee Vasquez demanded the information by the end of the next day, including "expenses, travel, phone...and car allowances."
Johnson replied that she now makes "$328,950" a year, and has no phone allowance, travel allowance, nor expense account.
Johnson’s last day is September 19.