In case you missed it: E Michelle Holt-Shannon, director of NH Listens at The Carsey School of Public Policy at UNH, moderator of the August 19th DEI-J meeting at Exeter High opened the meeting by threatening to call the police on attendees.
This was disturbing on many levels and the irony that she is the director of NH “Listens” resonates like the punchline of a bad joke. I’m guessing that what she really meant was that she only listens when she agrees and any call to the police would be for those daring to vocalize their disagreement with her and the “panelists” fervently force-feeding the DEI-J fallacy.
Ms. Holt-Shannon also appears to have some experience teaching school boards how to deal with “tough participants”. Check out this workshop she co-hosted in Rhode Island in 2015:
Public Meeting Facilitation Laboratory: Practicing for the Unexpected in Public Meetings Held on Wednesday, August 12, 2015, 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm Warwick Public Library, 600 Sandy Lane, Warwick, RI Many people feel alienated from public life but the good news is that public officials have the power to address many of the frustrations driving people away from being engaged. In this interactive lab, we practiced real life scenarios, learned about best practices, and gave public officials tools for creating meetings that deal with conflict in a healthy and professional manner. Even after years of experience in community facilitation or public meetings, a tough participant can still make a seasoned facilitator’s heart race. We worked with NH Listens Founder Michele Holt-Shannon and UNH Theatre professor David Kaye and his group, Power Play Interactive Development, to gain new insights, techniques and skills. Target Audiences: chairpersons of state and local boards and commissions Thanks to funding from the National Estuarine Research Reserve Science Collaborative, this workshop was offered free of charge.
So, Holt-Shannon partnered with a theatre professor and gave a free lecture on “creating meetings that deal with conflict in a healthy and professional manner” geared towards state and local boards and commissions.
I wonder how many of these workshops there have been? What did she teach the attendees? Did she teach them to respond to verbal conflict in public meetings with threats? Did she present this workshop to the SAU16 board? And what exactly is NH Listens’ role in the development and implementation of DEI-J in SAU16? Why was she chosen to be the moderator of the August 19 meeting?
I certainly didn’t see anything “healthy” or “professional” about what she did last Thursday evening, and here’s another thing about which I am certain: the SAU16 DEI-J meeting wasn’t a workshop where you could act out fake scenarios in a safe zone, aka role-playing.
No, it was the real world and Holt-Shannon did what all run-of-the-mill bullies do. She bullied.
Is this what NH taxpayers have to put up with now at both the public k-12 and university level? Public educators getting paid to bully us and shut us down while “teaching” others to do the same?
E Michelle Holt-Shannon has shown all of us that either she doesn’t know anything about conflict resolution or she doesn’t care. If she did, she would have conducted herself in any number of more appropriate ways.
And from the looks of it, everyone on that “panel” is on board with this bad business rather than addressing the falling performance of our students in this district. With everything that’s been going on in SAU16, I keep thinking about the famous words of George Bernard Shaw:
“Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach”