The Union columnist Boardman has insulting words for beloved, longtime NU teacher

I asked The Union’s weekly columnist George Boardman to respond to pointed criticism directed at him from Louise McFadden, who helped with the campaign for Measure B,  which narrowly passed and will provide needed money to upgrade our schools. McFadden retired in 2014 after more than 40 years as an educator, including over 30 years as an NU English teacher.

She wrote on The Union’s website: “I am concerned that you have, on more than one occasion, published information that is poorly researched and/or untrue.” She went on to politely list her concerns and asked George to respond. It was totally legitimate.

And here’s Boardman’s response on his blog: “‘Mcfadden/Mcafdden/McFadden’ represents him or herself as a former educator who worked for passage of the bond issue, and has complained about The Union’s lack of accuracy in its election coverage. I’m not going to bother to respond to somebody who can’t get his or her name straight.”

Here’s what others have said about McFadden, according to The Union’s own reporting.

“It was amazing how much she loved them and how much they loved her,” NU Athletic Director Jeff Dellis told The Union in an article “All about the students: NU teacher McFadden retires after more than 30 years as an educator.” “You walked into her class and it would be deathly quiet when she spoke. When kids were told to read, they read. When they were told to engage, they would engage with one another and they would engage with her. Kids did not want to disappoint her. She is just larger then life.”

Added District Superintendent Louise Johnson: “She’s been a leader with that group of students, and just a tremendously positive force with our district for many, many years.”

In 2014, McFadden’s name appeared on a list of 21 teachers were were honored in the annual “Teachers Who Make A Difference Awards Banquet.”

Memo to Publisher Don Rogers and Editor Brian Hamilton: Dump Boardman’s column before he undermines the newspaper’s credibility further. Find a replacement. But don’t take my world for it: ask around, starting with the high school.

As McFadden pointed out to Boardman on TheUnion.com:  “Support you airing opinions that differ from mine. My beef is that your published opinions sometimes are not based on investigated facts. Please do that. As I said ( and quoted from a national politician) in the Measure B Tea Party debate: ‘ We are all entitled to our own opinions. We are not entitled to our own facts.'”

About jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.
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5 Responses to The Union columnist Boardman has insulting words for beloved, longtime NU teacher

  1. reinettesenum@gmail.com says:

    George Boardman you are an arrogant and ignorant donkey. Louise McFadden was one of my most beloved teachers at NU in the early 80’s, as well as all the other students, and to this day I hold her dear to my heart. She was probably one of the most engaged, compassionate, and inspirational teachers from NU and highly respected. Really, you couldn’t have picked a worse teacher to pick on. She was an exemplary instructor and human being and for you to sit in your pompous little gated community (I was raised there so I would know) and have you hurl ignorant stones over your guarded community fence is a complete insult to all the teachers that sacrifice on a daily basis. You know nothing of what you speak of. Please, do this county a favor and do something with your lonely life: actually get to know the people you insult rather than insult them from a distance.You really have absolutely no sense of this community and the wonderful people that make it so.

    You need to go back to high school and grow up.

    I love you, Ms McFadden!! Thank you for dedicating your life to the betterment of all of your students! Your selfless love has been impactful and lasting for many and you have made all of us better human beings because of it.

  2. jeffpelline says:

    And here’s a comment from Facebook:
    “Louise is beyond reproach. She was an exemplary educator and has always conducted herself in a civilized, graceful manner. George Boardman had better think twice before speaking poorly, in any way, of a truly long-time treasured member of our community.” — Margaret Arroyo

  3. jeffpelline says:

    Here are the comments that Louise directed at Boardman at TheUnion.com:

    I am one who is happy that this school bond passed and also concerned that you have, on more than one occasion, published information that is poorly researched and/or untrue. With the passage of this bond, I was ready to put that aside, but here we go again.

    1. Can you send me the link to the place where you asked for information on feeder schools to BRHS that have increased their enrollment? I apologize if the Measure B Committee missed that, but I honestly don’t recall seeing it. As a journalist, it would have taken you very little time to contact the elementary schools/ middle schools in South County and base you arguments on enrollment facts.

    A. The fact is that Alta Sierra Elementary School did indeed add an additional class (kindergarden) this year. Their principal also indicated that it looks like that rise will continue next year, although that cannot be verified until later. According to the site principal, overall enrollment figures are also slightly up. I hope our good public schools, and the improvements this bond will bring, can play at least some role in attracting and keeping families in this area. Better internet access needed for telecommuting seems to be needed as well. I am glad to see local agencies are addressed that. Attracting a younger population requires a multi-layered approach; certainly, maintaining good local schools will be a big part of that equation.

    2. The increase in facility funds is something that ALL schools are considering (to be elilgible for matching state funds) and is not limited to NJUHSD. The headline in the paper gave the impression that just the high school district was voting on this, and buried the info that it is a county-wide decision deeper in the article. What I am saying is the headline gave a skewed impression, and you are echoing that impression.

    3. An “Our View” editorial recently published about Measure B gave the impression that it was derived from the opinions of the editorial staff. Not true. Megan Ross, The Union editorial writer from NUHS, knew nothing about that article. Do you know who wrote it? It implied that very little besides student outreach and putting signs in the dirt took place to support Measure B. That is absolutely false.

    4. I support you airing opinions that differ from mine. My beef is that your published opinions sometimes are not based on investigated facts. Please do that. As I said ( and quoted from a national politician) in the Measure B Tea Party debate: ” We are all entitled to our own opinions. We are not entitled to our own facts.”

  4. Chris Bishop says:

    I have had the privilege of working with Louise McFadden for over 25 years; the last 8 directly next door classrooms and as Chair of the Partnership Academy which I’m involved.

    I don’t know if there has ever been a more influential teacher in the United States. Her honesty, integrity, intellect and passion are unmatched. She specialized in working with “at risk” students. She excelled because. as, mentioned, they “didn’t want to let her down”. The same goes for the teaching staff. She has bettered the life of thousands of people over her career. Most of us can’t say that.

    On a personal note, she is the best mother/grandmother you could ever have. Her advice is stellar, her actions on top. I wish I was as good a teacher and parent as her.

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