Nearly half the superintendents in the state of Tennessee took the unusual step of signing a letter in opposition to State Commissioner Kevin Huffman. They were clearly frustrated by Huffman’s arrogant style of leadership. Huffman was chosen to be state commissioner even though he has only three years of experience as a teacher in Teach for America and no administrative experience. When he was hired, he was in charge of communications for TFA.

Superintendents felt that Huffman was rushing his changes without bothering to consult them. Teachers, they said, felt “voiceless and powerless.” Governor Haslam defended Huffman.

The letter says Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman’s office “has no interest in a dialogue” with local school leaders, and adds that superintendents’ efforts to improve their schools are being thwarted by low teacher morale because of policy changes on the state level.

“It has become obvious to the signees that our efforts to acquire a voice within this administration is futile,” according to the petition. The author of the letter said “his concerns were sparked when Huffman and the Haslam administration last decided to withhold $3.4 million in state education funding from Nashville over its school board’s refusal to authorize a charter school.”

To say the least, it is unusual for local superintendents to speak out against the state commissioner. Huffman’s autocratic, dictatorial decision-making is causing unrest among not only superintendents and teachers, but parents as well, who created a Facebook page calling for Huffman’s ouster.

If the rebellion grows, Huffman may make Haslam a one-term governor.