Dear Editor – Gratitude and Pride

I cannot adequately express the pride I feel for our students, parents and community who were moved to the core to keep this extraordinary teacher doing the work she was born to do. I have the deepest gratitude for the School Board, who took the care to consider at all sides to make the right decision in keeping Ms. Silver, whose commitment to our kids and all departments of the AVPA program is complete. My heart is full and my faith is restored in a process that MUST be dependent on the best interest of our kids.  – Liz Kinnon

The Actors' Gang


  1. While some celebrate the victory that the kids were listened to by the School Board, this thought nags at my mind: the Co-Directors of the AVPA and the Principal of Culver City High School were not listened to by the School Board. People who have organized, administered, and supported the AVPA for many years had their recommendation to dismiss a staff member disregarded. Somehow, even as a fan of Ms. Silver’s work, I find it hard to see this as a situation worth celebrating.

  2. With all due respect, Andrew, the fact of the matter is that once the school board had all of the information from both sides they were able to see that the allegations were not grounds for dismissal. They did the difficult job of listening to their constituents, administration and the Co-Directors; and in the end they did the what is in the best interest of the students. I have great hope that the creative directors of the AVPA can rise above their personal differences and continue to support each other and the AVPA as a whole.

    With Respect,

  3. Mr. Leist–

    As one of Sheila Silver’s students, I am beyond relieved that the board reversed its decision. Her firing had completely disregarded everything she does for the students, which should undeniably be a teacher’s first priority. If an inspiring, caring, productive, effective, and generally understanding teacher may be fired on faulty claims by co-workers, then what should a teacher put his or her energy into? If personal problems take precedence over student needs, what is a teacher for? If 2300 students can get through the day every day, then why can’t 5 professional adults?

    Her firing was insulting and hurtful to Culver High’s students because it had nothing to do with us and she did nothing illegal. Instead of firing her, the administration and district should have (and still should) mediate these personal disputes so that the students do not take the fall. The fact that the Board listened to the students and community they are supposed to represent shows that they are doing their job correctly and not making quick decisions without hearing the other side of the controversy.

    Thank you for your work with AVPA.
    –Kevin Mitchell
    Culver City High School Student

  4. I have the utmost respect and fondness for both Marni and Andrew.

    People of goodwill can hold different opinions about an issue and, often times, “truth” has everything to do with one’s subjective perspective regarding the objective facts at hand.

    The objective facts of this situation are that a) the School Board voted 3-2 to dismiss Sheila Silver without hearing Ms. Silver’s side of the story; b) Ms. Silver’s students and their parents voiced their strong displeasure at her dismissal; c) Ms. Silver was afforded the opportunity to address the School Board and respond to the charges leveled against her; and d) the School Board voted 3-2 to rescind her dismissal.

    Beyond those objective facts, there is likely a mountain of subjective opinions as to WHY the School Board cast their original or subsequent votes, but it is unlikely that any individual’s opinions are informed with all the pertinent information.

    And so, we are left with our – perhaps – diverging perspectives.

    But what seems perfectly evident to me is that any conflict that exists is not between Ms. Silver and her students or the parents of those children.

    And what would also seem equally clear is that there is some degree of conflict between the adults involved in this situation.

    Don’t we teach our children to resolve conflict?

    Isn’t the primary goal of education is to provide for the students?

    And is it not the responsibility of all adults involved in that process – elected officials, administrators, teachers and parents – to set a sterling example for our children?

    I think that this can be a teachable moment for all involved.

    And it is my hope, moving forward, that the adults involved in this situation will put in the sincere effort to definitively resolve any lingering conflicts between them so that their primary job responsibility – providing our children with a first class education – can be spectacularly fulfilled.

    Thank you for considering my perspective on this issue.

    Sincerely and respectfully,

    David Wally

  5. Mr. Leist, I do not know you, but I concur with everything that has already been stated by Liz Kinnon, Marni Parsons and David Wally. The plain and simple truth is that the Board based their original vote on the “facts” they had. When more information was released, they took another look at the totality of the information and voted again. It was an act of courage and a commitment to justice for them to reverse their original decision. That, in itself, is a cause for celebration. Ms. Silver’s students are well-versed in the difference between right and wrong, and it is in the best interest of all AVPA students and parents to respect the decision that was made and to work together–regardless of their children’s AVPA major–by focusing on the best things about this great organization.
    In Solidarity,
    Susan Levy

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