Linder: Residents need voice

Fair week is the unofficial start of another season campaigning for November elections. Steve Linder, first-time candidate for Norwalk school board, is taking advantage of the crowds at the fair by showing up as often as possible in his campaign shirt to earn name recognition.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010


Fair week is the unofficial start of another season campaigning for November elections.

Steve Linder, first-time candidate for Norwalk school board, is taking advantage of the crowds at the fair by showing up as often as possible in his campaign shirt to earn name recognition.

"We've had a lot of people come up to us and wish us well," Linder said. "It's been a very positive experience."

Linder, who is a superintendent for the bridge division of Kokosing Companies, Inc., is a graduate of Norwalk schools. His two children Michael, 22, and Melissa, 20 are also NHS graduates.

As he campaigns, Linder has one main message he will be a voice for residents if elected to the school board. "In the past four years I've been to several school board meetings with issues of my own," he said. "In my opinion, the majority of the school board has a motto to ignore people and their problems until they go away."

Linder declined to rehash any old issues, but said he believes residents deserve the chance to have their views considered fully by board members.

"Rules in our education system are not applied to everyone equally and communication in our district is horrible," Linder said. "That's why some issues have come up horrible communication."

Linder said he would work to improve communication between administrators, teachers and residents and would give all residents' a chance to air their opinions. "I want to give the school board back to the community," he said.

The candidate also said he thinks district employees are reluctant to go to the board with concerns and problems because they are afraid their jobs will be in jeopardy. "Employees shouldn't be afraid to be heard," he said. "I want them to come to me. I want to look at what's behind the problems."

His wife, Sharon, works for the school district as a secretary at Main Street School.

Linder still is collecting signatures of registered voters on petitions so his name will be included on the November ballot. Incumbents John Lendrum and Michael Grose, along with newcomer Pat Saunders, also have taken out petitions for the two open seats on the school board.

Petitions are due in to the board of elections by Thursday. The top two vote-getters will earn seats on the board.

As for his campaign so far, Linder said he thinks it is going well. "I've had a lot of support," he said. "I'm really excited about doing this."

Steve and Sharon will show up with supporters for the rest of the fair in their campaign shirts. "It's just like a moving sign," he said.


Concerned About...

It seems as though Mr. Linder is running on a platform of giving public attention to petty gripes and furthering his wife's personal agendas. I'd like to know how he proposes to raise the quality of education for our children. There is a culture of mediocrity that pervades our school system that must be eradicated if we want our children to truly excel in this world. Mr. Linder, are you prepared to step up and make that happen?

first time post...

Oh great, just what the school board needs: Another board member with a spouse who's employed by the schools. Why isn't that a conflict of interest?

skeptical (Anon...

Isn't this the same guy who's been trying to get the high school principal fired for about two or three years now?
If so, is that his real motivation for running?
And his wife works in one of the schools? Hmmmm....

Tired of Hidden...

Linder and his wife have been after Bob Duncan for years now and frankly, it's getting old. I wish the Reflector would write the real story behind some of his "issues" with the school board and their "ignoring" him. I do not understand why Linder would say the board ignores people in hopes that they would just go away. I have attended school board meetings where they have allowed parents to air their concerns without being cut off, and the Linders are one of them. The Reflector and other media have a duty to report the truth and not promote candidates with hidden agendas.

not a bully (An...

"Tired of Hidden Agendas"- isn't your real name "Bob"? You sure sound like him to me? The citizens of Norwalk agree that changes need to be made within Norwalk City Schools. We have a great community that is in need of a school system that is great and not self-serving. A good start would to have a board that is not afraid of the administration like everyone else in town is. Our schools are run by bullies, like Bob, and it is time for the citizens to have a voice. Let's have a great community with great schools. Let's have a school system that values COMMUNITY input and not just the input of a select few that bully everyone else.

Why not?! (Anon...

I don't know if Linder will be able to make a change in our school district, but why not give him a shot? The members now haven't done anything to brag about. I think it is time for a change, whether this man has issues against Bob Duncan or not, I think Linder will do whatver it takes change the ways of Norwalk's School Board. I'm tired of hearing nothing but negatives about our schools. This man sounds determined, and I think thats what this town needs....he's got my vote!

20+ year Norwal...

If Mr. Linder wants to run, that's his right. There's nothing wrong with someone throwing his hat in the ring, if for no other reason to give voters a choice.
I'll admit I'm a little concerned about two things. I attended two school board meetings earlier this year, and had a chance to hear Mr. Linder speak during the open forum part of the meeting. It certainly sounds like he has an axe to grind.
If he's running to satisfy a personal vendentta, that's not good.
Plus, his wife is employed by the school. There's already one board member who's spouse is employed by the school system.
I do have a question for "not a bully": What bullies are you talking about? My 3 children have gone through the schools, with my youngest finishing his senior year this year, and I've never thought of any of the administrators as bullies.
My youngest son had to be disciplined once by Duncan when he was assistant principal, but my son deserved the punishment.
It was done by the book, and that was it. No other problems by either side.

not a bully (An...

To 20+: You are in the minority and should consider yourself lucky. Bob has been a bully since childhood and this is how he is as a school administrator. The only reason only one person is speaking out loud (Steve Linder) is that nobody else has the courage to go public. There are even school board members who feel this way along with NHS staff and parents. Of course, there are his "good ole boys" who reap the benefits of being on his good side and will continue to defend him no matter what.

no NHS involmen...

Although I do not live in the NHS district I would think that you NHS taxpayers would be ready for someone who isn't afraid of Babancec and Duncan. After all you pay their salaries and should expect an oversight committee (the school board) who will take your administrators to task if need be. All government positions should be heavily challenged by the people who support those positions by paying taxes. If you want things to change you have to put someone in a positon that isn't afraid to change things.

I'm wondering (...

I don't know Mr. Linder, but I've read about his complaints about Mr. Duncan. I just hope this doesn't turn into another Bellevue situation, which ironically involves another guy named Linder.
That's become costly for that school system in more ways than one.
If Norwalk's Mr. Linder's goal is to oust a certain individual or individuals, he's running for the wrong reasons.
I don't believe the school board is supposed to get involved in everyday matters of the schools.

Objectivity (An...

Could someone let us know when to expect the feature story on board candidate John Lendrum? Which day will we learn about Mike Grose's platform as he seeks re-election? Is it really newsworthy to run a front page feature story on one candidate, who has had an axe to grind with anyone and everyone perceived to have wronged his wife or kids in some way (Dr. Babcanec, Bob Duncan, Steve Gray, etc.) at the expense of all the others? It would kind of be like running a page one story on four ignorant girls upset with the practices of the circus and screaming about a "Protest" in the headlines. Oh wait, the Reflector did that too earlier in the summer.

Most people, like the candidate featured on Friday's page one, misinterpret the role of board members and don't fully understand the job they are supposed to do. The board is a policy-making body and members are the chief advisors to the superintendent. Board members do not manage the day-to-day operations of a school district; they employ the superintendent to serve in that capacity.

The board member code of ethics instructs them to avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance thereof. We already have one board member whose entire term has been one running conflict of interest. Do we really need another who wants the platform to satisfy personal vendettas?

From the looks of it, that's exactly what the Reflector wants for giving out the free publicity. Hopefully, the wiser members of the community will realize they're just trying to sell papers.

Not a bully (An...

Objectivity- I mean Wayne Babcanec- is that you?

re: objectivity...

I don't know who wrote the comments by Objectivity, but they're dead-on! I don't think anyone can argue with those comments.
Both Linders have and have had issues with the superintendent, the high school principal, and the boys basketball coach.
Their latest complaint is over a problem with their daughter's high school transcripts. Hey Mrs. Linder: You worked in the high school guidance office. I know that for a fact, because I talked with you when my son was a student there. If there was a problem, why didn't you try to step in and help?
I think it's great that someone is willing to step up and run. But let's face it. If Mr. Linder wins, that makes two board members with spouses employed by the schools, and that means two board members who are puppets for their spouses.

Mike Jackson (A...

I personally do not care for Bob Duncan or Steve Gray, but I too have concerns that this would simply become a witch hunt for their heads (for right or for wrong) I dunno, I have mixed feelings I guess. But I DO encourage him to run...why not? Personally I would love every excuse to not vote John Lendrum back onto the long as it's the RIGHT candidate.

I think Bob Duncan has done some things to warrant his contract be re-evaluated, but at the same time both sides have to be looked at...

John Lendrum Fa...

Hey Mike Jackson - What's your beef with John Lendrum? He's done a solid job over the years by remembering that the children of the district are his primary concern when it comes time to vote on issues. He hasn't catered to special interest groups, gone after his spouse's opponents or tried to get the district to adopt expensive programs being pushed by his daughter. Can all the other board members say that?

And, Not a Bully-- gotta love your continued guesses as to everyone's identity. Just end the suspense for all of us and admit you're Ken Broz.

not a bully (An...

Guess what "John Lendrum's fan club president"? I am not even close to being Ken Broz. For the record, the Linders already had problems with the school when Sharon was hired full-time. Yes, Janet Broz's husband is a teacher. But , John Lendrum's wife is a substitute teacher in the district. Mike Grose used to teach in the district as did his wife. Mike Gordon, our uncertified assistant superindentent, has a wife who taught in the district. I think Scott and Rob are the only ones who could be considered "independent". Unfortunately, they have/had children in the district and nobody wants to go against the "good ole boys" who run everything. They have a way of making life very difficult for you... That's the way it has been for quite some time. Changes need to be made. We shouldn't care if someone's spouse is a school employee, and in fact I think that would make someone less likely to speak out. Our schools really need a change. It's a sad and well known fact that bullies rule in Norwalk.


I know Steve and Sharon Linder, and their kids. Their children are good, nice kids.
My sons and their children went to school together. It's too bad the parents don't take after the kids.
The elder Linders have had nothing but complaints about staff members, teachers, administrators and coaches since their kids were in school, and since they've been out.
A few years ago, they presented a petition asking the school board to fire the boys basketball coach. Yes, their son was a member of the team. As it turns out, it was signed mainly by a number of family members. Some didn't even live in Norwalk!
Just because the school board doesn't agree with what they want, it doesn't mean they aren't listening, or communication is horrible.
There's more to their latest complaint, but in ypical Linder fashion, they're not telling the complete story.
I know this, because that information comes straight from their daughter!
The elder Linders would be great lawyers, because they can leave key parts out, and twist other parts.
It would appear this man is running to avenge personal vendettas, not for the overall good of the school system.

They're all the...

Conflict of interest? I agree everyone involved has an interest or they wouldn't be running.

To add few points to "not a bully".

Lendrum his wife is a substitute teacher AND his sister-in-laws are both employed by the school.
Grose he was a teacher and so was his wife and why did she leave the district?
Linder his kids graduated and his wife works for the schools.
Saunders his sister-in-law is Babcanec's secretary.

They're all the same! Let's revisit the past.

Duncan got his job because his wife's step brother was on the school board.
Bauer left his job on school board for the $$$ to be county commissioner, but was still able to call in favors to get his daughter hired in the system.

I'll get my point across loud and clear in the voting booth. I'm not going to bad mouth anyone, because they're all the same. If everyone had the same opinion, you wouldn't need five school board members.

This is a small town and everyone is related to someone in the school system. It would be very difficult to find someone who has no connections to anyone. If so, it's still not too late to run. I don't know why anyone would want to run, because it's bascially a no pay position, with no thanks and you must have a pretty thick skin.

John Lendrum's ...

I must admit I'm a little surprised that "not a bully" hasn't yet responded to "knowstheLinders" comments. After denying the Ken Broz allegations, I figure not a bully's true identity either has to be one of the elder Linders, maybe a niece or nephew, perhaps a second cousin twice removed, or any of the other family members who filled up the petition to oust Steve Gray.

The funniest part about this whole movement for Linder's run for the board is the circumstance that has him so fired up right now. He blames the school, and specifically the high school principal, for not furnishing transcripts that would have landed his daughter an internship. Is anyone on here really naive enough to think the lack of an official transcript is really the reason she didn't get the position?

Another Cut And...

"I want to give the school back to the the fair board. School is just like a fair, and I'm really excited." Linder said while collecting signatures. "The fair is full of horrible employees, and reluctant children." Adding that "In my opinion, the majority of the school board has a motto to ignore the children, Lendrums behind, and Pat Saunders horrible campaign shirt's, hoping it all just goes away. I for one, do not fear children, Pat Saunders, or his shirt's." He thinks district employees are reluctant to go to the board with concerns like Saunders shirt's and John Lendrum's open behind at board meetings. Incumbent Lendrum's behind is "horrible",described Linder. "We've had a lot of people come up to us and and say "look at his behind, it's horrible, it's in need of a lot of support " and "employees shouldn't be afraid of it Steve, but damn it, we are." Many have taken out petitions to make it a sign for the Main Street School. "I want to give John Lendrum's behind back to the community, I'm really excited about that."

Sorry Kids! (An...

If you knew Michael and Melissa you'd be embarrassed for them. They are great kids, and I'd love to hear from them. My son graduated from NHS and during his time there Mrs. Linder worked in the Guidance Office - she knows the process that goes on with old student records. Mr. and Mrs. Linder - get a life, really! From the Steve Gray petition to trying to get Mr. Duncan and Dr. Babcanec ousted - you've got way too much time on your hands. Certainly, there are more positive, productive things you could conjure up.

not a bully (An...

There are many in our community who want change and just as many who are afraid to speak out. It's safer and easier to ignore it all and continue to complain. I'm glad Steve Linder has the guts to try to get some changes made because nobody else does. Attacking his family isn't very classy either but I'm guessing he knew this would happen. I don't think that the removal of Duncan or Babcanec is his primary agenda nor should it be. It might be nice if the majority of the board wasn't a friend of Wayne and Bob. And by the way, just because you're glad that for once someone different is running doesn't mean that you're a relative. Everyone in Norwalk is NOT related to the Linders.

wake up (Anonymous)

No matter what happens, things in this school district will never change. I graduated from Norwalk High in the late 80's and 3/4 of the teachers I had were a joke. They hang on year after year. When I was a sophomore taking geography, all that teacher did the whole last half of the school year was complain. He found out they were replacing the text books his students used for 10 years and that meant he would have to read the book and go through to create a new outline for it. Someone call the police, making him create a new outline for his students surely had to break some kind of law in his eyes. Everyday he would write a portion of his outline on the board which we spent the first half of class copying down in our notebooks. The second half of the class he'd sit behind his desk with his feet up telling us about how his family was doing, how well his kids were doing in wrestling, growing up in the country, loving to walk through corn fields listening to the leaves rustling in the wind, his first car, how he partied back in college or he'd just leave the room and go all around the school talking to his players on the wrestling team. A walking joke like that and when he retired he was patted on the back by his fellow teachers, the superintendant and the school board thanked him for his years of dedicated service (I can't even keep a straight face when I think about that to this day). Until they stop promoting from the inside this kind of garbage will never stop. Let's face it, if you've been a teacher in the school system for many years and then get promoted into the front office, are you going to turn around and step on the toes of your friends if it's required on your part? Of course you're not. So things slide and bums that should be tossed out stay, continuing to do a sub par job teaching while getting that big fat raise every year. I just had a friend that applied to the school system last year for a teaching position. He lived here in Norwalk and wanted to come back here to teach. He was a great guy with an excellent record and 6 years of teaching experience under his belt. He didn't get the job. It was given to the daughter of 2 current Norwalk teachers (I think one of them just retired). Come on, does that sound like the people running our school system have the children's best interest at heart or do you think all they care about is taking care of their own plus their children? Until they bring in outside objective administrators, this school system will never achieve it's true potential.

re: not a bully...

not a bully: Nobody's attacking Mr. and Mrs. Linder, and two people have pointed out what good children they have. Some people have called into question the adult Linders' true motives. This little crusade of theirs is no secret. They hate the superintendent, the high school principal, and the high school boys basketball coach.
You'd be suprised how many people around town know the story about their daughter and this transcript "snafu." I could post a few truthful things about their latest crusade against Duncan that would really open some eyes, but I won't out of respect for their daughter.
I know she's embarrassed by her parents actions, and I feel bad for her.

not a bully (An...

As a reply I could post a few things about what really goes on in the guidance department of NHS because those who really know things are aware of the truth. On the subject of any crusade against Bob Duncan, do you believe that Mr. Duncan is an effective leader? I don't think many other local school systems would stick by him like Norwalk has seen fit to do. Why is this? The high school principal seems to have a bit too much authority in this town and seems to be able to do whatever he wants with little regard for anyone else but himself. He certainly makes it look good for the right people, but everyone else knows to beware of him. To outsiders and to many insiders, our school system is a joke. That's sad. Norwalk is a nice town. We need to have exceptional schools that are run by exceptional people. Changes need to be made. I support Mr. Linder's desire to serve on the school board because I fully support change. I only wish that many others could step up to the challenge.

disgusted in No...

I agree we need a new High School principal and school board. I know lots of people with problems with the current high school principal. So I nominate Scott Ford to be the new High School Principal. He is retired from teaching now. Maybe Norwalk could talk him into it. Do you know anyone else who honestly cared about their students as much as he did?? Who would make a better principal than he would? Quick someone call him maybe he will at least run for the school board!!!!!!!!!!!!!

re: not a bully...

So is it the fault of the guidance office or Mr. Duncan?
Where did the problem start? Was Mr. Duncan contacted when there was a problem? Again, where was Mrs. Linder during this whole snafu? Her knowledge gained while working in the guidance office certainly would have been helpful. I'm sure we can trade stories for a long time, but out of respect for their children, I'd rather not, at least not in this setting.
When you're a high school principal, or assistant principal as Mr. Duncan used to be, you tend to make enemies.
Is he effective? Check the latest statewide test scores.
They're up aren't they, under his watch.
disgusted in Norwalk: While Mr. Ford cared greatly about his students, he's retired, and I'm sure has no interest in becoming the HS principal.

History Lesson ...

I've lived in Norwalk all my life and wanted to set a few things straight with what I've been reading. In honor of wake up's attempt to throw history teacher Ron DeLuca under the bus, let's have a history lesson on how we all got to this point.

Feb. 2001 - "The Norwalk High School varsity boys' basketball coach (Ken Broz) is under fire again - this time for a pop machine kept in the locker room. Twenty parents turned out at the Board of Education meeting to hear the matter discussed." The matter is laid to rest when school board president, Jim Seitz Jr. (the person "They're all the same" says got Bob Duncan his principal's job) tells the crowd "To do personal attacks over a pop machine has gotten way out of hand."

March 2001 -- Broz resigns as varsity basketball coach to work as the director of student activities. Duncan is his direct supervisor.

May 2001 -- Steve Gray hired as varsity basketball coach. Broz is his direct supervisor. Steve Linder's son is on the team.

June 2002 -- Broz steps down as athletic director because he misses the classroom. The long-time coach resumes teaching "severe behavioral handicapped students." Duncan is still his direct supervisor.

March 2004 -- Senior Michael Linder does not win boys' basketball MVP award. The honor goes to sophomore Stephen Hunter.

April 2004 -- Petition circulates to non-renew Gray's basketball coaching contract for the 2004-2005 season. Signers include: Steve Linder, Sharon Linder, Michael Linder, Frank Linder, Andy Linder, Mary Linder, Martin Linder, Casey Linder, Dawn Linder and Rita Linder.

May 2004 -- Board votes 4-1 to keep basketball coach, despite petition. Board member Janet Broz cast the lone dissenting vote. Sharon Linder speaks at the meeting and says Gray is a "major liability." Article follows with Janet Broz wanting to "set the record straight" about why she voted no to Gray's basketball contract.

June 2004 -- Article follows: "We have a concern that some personnel matters were discussed in the paper that shouldn't have been," says teacher's union president Scott Ford. "For a board member to violate the master agreement is not the way to go."

July 2004 -- Sharon Linder transferred from NHS guidance office secretary to the Main Street School.

March 2007 -- The great transcript fiasco begins, with Steve Linder addressing the board on numerous occasions to blame his daughter's failure to get an internship on the avilability of a transcript.

August 2007 - Linder announces his intention to run for the school board in the November elections.

Too bad he can't run on a combined ticket. I think Broz/Linder in '08 would make for an attractive t-shirt. "Just like a moving sign!"

After reading this, I would love to hear not a bully's justification as to why his relative/spouse/cousin Steve Linder would make a good board member.

Also, if things here have been so bad for so long, why didn't anyone step up to run the last election, when Broz, Truxell and Ludwig ran unopposed?

History Major (...

Way off topic: For the sake of future arguement, lets refer to Ron DeLuca as "coach". I was fortunate enough to have been a student of Alan Pleasnick and Alonzo Allen. They epitomized the essence of "history teacher". A contagious passion for the subject, and always pushing their students to think. Often times pushing students beyond their inital premise into inspired original ideas, well outside the box. This is meant as no disrspect to Coach DeLuca, but rather, out of my utmost respect for the love of history and two of it's more inspiring teachers. If i'm not mistaken, Deluca had similar, and possibly just as valuable talents, but not in the classroom. Thanks.

not a bully (al...

Bob Duncan didn't single handedly bring up test scores in Norwalk. (Insert some laughter here!) They might be up DESPITE him. There are some great teachers, parents, and students that have something to do with this. Please don't give credit to Duncan and what you perceive as his leadership. Your buddy Duncan isn't known for his effective management style. He is more well known for his other tactics. As for Scott Ford, anyone who knows him knows that he was actually certified to be an administrator, something which he had no interest in doing. He is a teacher- and an excellent one at that. Also, I'm confused as to why a discussion of Steve Linder's run for the school board is connected to Ron DeLuca or Steve Gray? My call for change also has nothing to do with Ken Broz. Believe it or not, some people in this town still have minds of their own. I wish a whole bunch of other people would step up to run for school board, but let's face it, most people don't care to put themselves in that situation. It's hard to fight the "system". Steve Linder is stepping up so I'm going to support him because it is my right. And for the record, get your info straight. Sharon Linder works at Main Street School last I knew. She hasn't been in the guidance office at NHS for years. I don't see how a mere secretary in one building can contol a department in another building? Somebody is giving her too much power! LOL!