The funding of the network for the next year was taken over by Apple Denmark. Tom Jacobsgaard and Peter Sorenson wanted to celebrate. So they made us an offer. "If the Canadians have the space. the Danes have the booze." they said. I took to Gammel Dansk like a duck to water and the Danes have remained friends ever since.
Back in Canada, I doubled the size of the "Guilds" and convinced a teacher, Carol Marshall to take a whole classroom in the same direction. Her class was effectively non-graded. Our efforts in this direction led to my third McLuhan Award and her first. This initiative was fully compatible with the BC Government's Year 2000 initiative. Marigold now sported 7 Marshall McLuhan Awards. During the year We entered into a inter-school venture with Craigflower School whose principal was my old vice-principal, Merv Campbell. It was called "The First Nations Project" Craigflower had a significant population of First Nations students. We partnered Carol Marshall's class and the Guilds with First Nations children from Craigflower and began to compile a living history across cultures. It culminated in a video disc made interactive by a suite of HyperCard Stacks.
In the Summer of 1992, I was invited to the AGE Conference in Askov Denmark to demonstrate the project. Then, at the final dinner I received a surprise. I was named by David Walker of Apple Europe as the "Apple Global Education Fellow". I was the first and only one. This was all heady stuff. We were at the forefront locally, nationally and internationally. Drunk by possibility, I lost sight of trouble brewing at home.
And treat those two impostors just the same; "... Kipling
Shortly after the district's signing a contract with the Apple Canada Education Foundation, I was told by the Assistant Superintendent in charge of staffing that a primary teacher with a single word-processing course was being sent to fill the position of Centre Director. He was going to move Doug Wilson elsewhere. Now this man was a jock and an autocrat, a charter member of the "Old Boys Club" He and his friends staffed a major school district at whim. Using pieces of magnetic white board with names written on them with erasable markers. Their close friends got the pick of the crop. I was not a close friend. Teachers who were seen as problems were eventually doled out to outcast principals with little clout. This went on while the Assistant Superintendent talked blithely about something called "Goodness Of Fit" as though this purely subjective political ploy had professional merit and some scientific validity.
I went to the Assistant Superintendent and pled my case. He told me that he was in charge of staffing and he did not think I could even keep the staffing entitlement found in the contract. I knew him. He was prepared to scuttle everything at Marigold to show his authority. I told him, I would have to go over his head to assure the continuity of the program. I did and the Board and Superintendent ruled in my favour. As the school grew, I opened another class. He and his buddies laughed as they sent me a much-feared malicious psychotic woman to teach the class to punish me for my indiscretion. Then, they added to my burden by giving me a mentally unstable custodian and a flamboyant female night janitor who bragged about loving to sweep the classrooms naked.
During Parent Teacher Interviews a parent came to me asserting that the new teacher informed him that I was an abject failure as a principal who encouraged parents suffering with AIDS to bring their children to Marigold. He gave me a written affidavit detailing the woman's behaviour. I called her in with the staff rep and told her to cease and desist. I reported her to the Assistant Superintendent, the one who hated Steve Hambleton. A meeting was scheduled for Friday in his office. When I arrived, he was seated with her and proceeded to read from a legal pad a list of things that they had brainstormed that I could do for her. I was dumbfounded. The meeting was now a chance for me to brainstorm ideas that she could do for me. He was shaking. The man was a coward. I told him that this was not a matter for mediation. I told him I wanted her disciplined and out of the school as this was not the first time she had acted with malice.
I was soon to find out that she had poisoned his mind against me. He allowed her free reign in order to avoid her turning on him. She suggested that I was involved in surreptitious and possibly illegal activities when I worked in the school at night. That, she suggested, was how I afforded my BMW etc. Things like pornography were planted in his mind. With the aid of central office cronies he sent the janitor's at nearby Spectrum Secondary to spy on me. He was covering his ass at all costs. One evening, I was editing videotape in the Centre when I detected a presence outside. I pulled down the blinds to stop neighbourhood kids from bothering me and went on with my work.
Two days later I was called into his office after school and confronted by him and a Saanich Police officer. He, once again, read from a legal pad. It was a report from the Spectrum Janitors regarding my suspicious evening interlude in the Centre. They were the noise I heard outside. Without any evidence he had reported me to the police and with the influence of the malicious teacher had damaged my professional and personal reputation. Once again, I had crashed but I did not burn. I fought back. The BC Principals' and Vice-principals' Association paid my legal fees. I took leave and went to make presentations at major conferences in Nice France and Vienna. When I returned the Superintendent welcomed me back. My staff was loyal. My wife and family were a tower of strength. But I soon discovered that the infamous Assistant - Superintendent along with the Superintendent were having meetings with dissident parents without me being present. I was a problem to the organization not because I was guilty but because I was innocent.