Ms. Nardos King, former principal of Mount Vernon High School, hired Menville “Flip” Flippen to administer his “Capturing Kids’ Hearts” program. King, who had been criticized for other decisions, such as running weight loss and sexual ads in the yearbook, was questioned about Flippen’s performance. King was disappointed, and commented that, if nothing else, Flippen did bring a very impressive large screen.
Many questions have been asked about Flippen and his program. His credentials seem questionable; he holds a master’s degree from Texas A&M, and is also a “licensed professional counselor” in Texas. His license is, however, inactive, meaning that he cannot practice any form of counseling.
His fees have also been scrutinized. He charged a Missouri school district $10,000 for a one hour commencement speech. Flippen’s engagement with this school district was apparently not completely proper, and the superintendent, Dr. Fred Czerwonka, tendered his resignation as a result.
This was not an isolated incident. Flippen and his company have also been the subject of a California grand jury investigation. The entire report is well worth reading. One quotation, from it, however, is particularly telling; “Although none of the FSUSD employees that the Grand Jury interviewed who attended the Capturing Kids’ Hearts workshop reported negatively about it, overall they had difficulty articulating what exactly they learned from it, if anything.”
Fairfax County Public Schools’ retention of Flippen is indicative of a significant problem. FCPS’ standards for retaining consultants would appear to be quite lax. The consultants’ backgrounds are checked superficially, if at all, and it would seem as though there is no mechanism in place to evaluate their effectiveness. It is by no means clear what, if any, benefit, the children of Fairfax County realized through King’s retention of Flippen; what is clear, however, is that he was paid for his services.
This needs to change. FCPS needs to choose its consultants wisely. Until this happens, FCPS spending needs to be subjected to additional scrutiny, and it should be clear that at this juncture, enactment of the meals tax would only provide FCPS with additional funds to squander on the likes of Flippen and other dubious initiatives. As a result, voting NO on the meals tax is the best course of action!