SJSD Superintendent Speaks Out about Video Testimonial

Published 05/07 2014 02:41PM

Updated 05/07 2014 09:38PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) St. Joseph School District Superintendent Fred Czerwonka is speaking out about the release of a video he said is an attack on him.

Czerwonka held a press conference Wednesday to address a YouTube video he is featured in to promote a workshop called Capturing Kids' Hearts.

The 3-day workshop is put on by the Flippen Group.

He's coming under fire for a testimonial he made criticizing teachers' attitudes, however, Czerwonka said he was referring to his previous school district and not the St. Joseph School District.

"Prior to introducing the Flippen Group and the Flippen Group processes into our schools, our schools were very, had a culture of very standoff-ish, very cold. The culture there was not conducive to making people better. It was more you show up and go home. You really didn't touch people's lives," Czerwonka stated in the video.

Czerwonka was previously the superintendent of the West Plains West School District in West Plains, Missouri.

In the video, he is identified as the superintendent of the St. Joseph School District.

In a statement, Czerwonka said it would have been impossible for him to speak about St. Joseph schools.

"At the time when this video was taped, I had not had the opportunity to visit hardly any classrooms or staff members in the St. Joseph School District," Czerwonka said in a statement. "I was given direction from the Board of Education to reach out to St. Joseph community members to help begin the healing process of citizens with the district. That's where I started when I arrived, as directed."

In an interview with KQ2, Flip Flippen confirmed the video with Czerwonka was taped last October, just weeks after the start of the school year. Flippen said company's marketing team just released the video April 29th along with testimonials from other superintendents. Flippen says his programs are in more than 5,000 schools across the country.

"I probably need to apologize to Fred," Flippen said. "It was posted in April and I can see how that would be an awkward spot. In fact, it was filmed in October. It's just unfortunate that it came out that way."

Flippen also said Czerwonka was not paid for his endorsement.

Czerwonka had alleged the video on social media is an organized attack on him and was strategically timed to come out during Teacher Appreciation Week.

Czerwonka was hired to lead the St. Joseph School District in 2013.

Click here to see the promotional video.

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