“The first day was nothing like any of you expected it to be — you, me, the students, [superintendent] Mrs. [Gena] Keller,” said Dr. Yardley Farquharson.
“I’m sorry for that.”
Farquharson described her previous employment history including the situation around the often shared Peabody Middle School. She described that incident as a disagreement with the school’s then parent-teacher organization president.
Farquharson was retained in the year following the incident then resigned after the close of the past school year, her third year at the school.
She relayed this week she had multiple meetings with Keller and assistant superintendent Chuck Winkler and both asked if she wanted to stay. She said she wants to stay at Fluvanna.
“This is a wonderful community,” said Farquharson.
Her welcome hasn’t been so warm after concerns from the first day of school. Students reportedly relayed home concerns about how she welcomed students, calmed students in the hallway, instituted new rules and other items.
Farquharson said she welcomed students and tried to usher them into the school but it was not intended to be as some interpreted it. She also said admitted to talking loudly in the hallways and cafeteria to gain attention of the students but it was not yelling.
She went over some new rules with parents including orderly use of the hallways, suggested restriction of the bathroom during the first and last 10 minutes of the class period, supervised use of the microwave, possibility of silent lunches and quieter class changes.
Keller also addressed the crowd about the situation and administration.
“Day one was not how we wanted,” said Keller.
She spoke to the gathering about moving forward together to help the school and district to become ‘second to none.’
Keller said the district administrators did their due diligence in hiring Farquharson including checking references and knowledgeable superintendents.
Focus on Fluvanna’s Future issued a press release on Aug. 15 of not supporting removal of Farquharson. There has been an online petition requesting the immediate removal of Farquharson which did not seem to be the sentiment of Keller who repeatedly said “this administration and staff” would lead the school to new heights.
The meeting became heated at times between upset parents and other parents.
Fluvanna Middle School’s Parent-Teacher Organization will have a meeting on Tuesday.