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From: Megan Turnbull
To: Arthur "Skip" Hanson, Benjamin C. Hillyard, Jocelyn O'Quinn, Ann Lane
Subject: Discuss crisis management and PR assistance

Hello Skip,

My name is Megan Turnbull.  I am a member of the Oyster River
School Board.  I believe Ben Hilyad contacted you about possibly
helping our board with crisis management/PR work.

I would ask that you maintain confidentiality with what I am
sharing with you below.

Several board members and I have come to the realization that the
board needs professional help.  Over the past few months, multiple
situations ensued as a result of our board not accepting a nominated
high school principal candidate in a split vote:

* Student walk-out at the high school
* Threats against board members
* Petition against the school board and questioning our ethics
* Dozens of letters to the board and Foster's newspaper
criticizing and questiong the board
* Letter from the high school senate telling the board to NOT
participate in the upcoming graduation (see attached)
* Extensive public comments at our meetings (lasting hours) and
inhibiting our ability to finish all board business at times
* Individual e-mail campagins besmirching individual board
members' character
* Critical blog postings (

The list goes on...

Right now we are in the midst of trying to resume our principal
search and have hired Art Bettencourt with NESDEC to help.  The new
principal search is also under intense, public scrutiny as you can
imagine.  Additionally, we will be hiring a new superintendent in the
upcoming school year as our current superintendent is not renewing his

Also, Ben Hillyard pointed out something that is at the hear of
the matter - this situation has been brewing for almost a decade.  The
recent outcry comes only after years of build up in our district.

With this, I believe we need professional crisis management/PR
help in the following areas:

* Crafting press releases on sensitive matters including
hirings/personnel - in the past the board has done this alone
* Developing a sense of trust and faith in the board and working
better within the district
* Improved / constructive dialogue with the community and district
staff on education in Oyster River moving forward - we think this may
require a series of community engagement nights.

I anticipate the bulk of this work would be carried out over the
next few months and may need to resume again as we start our
superintendent search.

I would like very much to talk to you about the possibility of you
and your colleague working with us.  Of course, I would need to obtain a
board approval to move forward, but I feel the full board will welcome
help.  The good news,too, is that this board does get along and has an
earnest wish to improve public sentiment.  Additionally, we do have
funds allocated to "work on improving trust" in our 2011-2012 budget.

I will try to call you today to discuss this matter in greater
detail.  Thank you for your willingness to consider helping.

Best Regards,