Browder responds to critcism in Alaska
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A southwest Florida pastor is contacting a school district 5,000 miles away to prevent former Lee County superintendent James Browder from getting hired.
"I did not want the taxpayers of Alaska going through the same thing we did," said pastor James Gillespie of North Fort Myers.
Gillespie recently interviewed with KTBY-TV in Anchorage, Ak., speaking out against Browder.
"He served in a made up position," he said speaking about his time at Edison State College. "That literally was a load of garbage."
Fox 4 caught up with Gillespie at his North Fort Myers home. Gillespie is one of a dozen Lee County residents who have reached out to the Anchorage School Board in opposition of Browder's candidacy.
"Why is he being hired so easily up there?," said Gillespie.
Over the weekend, Browder took part in two days of interviews and meet and greets in Anchorage.
"I won't believe everything about you that your children tell me," Browder said. "If you don't believe what somebody tells you about me from someplace else."
Speaking for more than two hours, in front of a packed crowd, Browder met with the Anchorage community and answered questions about Edison.
"The issues surrounding the college in Florida folks didn't like you much," a questioner asked.
"They resented the fact that I was a K-12 person and there was no interview [at Edison] so I left," said Browder. "They didn't like me what can I tell you?"
But Gillespie points to the fact that Browder didn't just leave. The board of trustees terminated his contract.
"He tried to whitewash what happened at Edison...He didn't chose to leave Edison he was drummed out of Edison," said Gillespie.
Browder said criticism is coming from a small group of people.
"I'm unemployed OK?," said Browder. "I've been looking for a job and the last six months since I left it [the criticism] didn't slow down."
"It seems like you're making it your mission so he doesn't get hired in Alaska," said Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant. "Why do you care?"
"I don't mind him getting hired anywhere," said Gillespie. "As long as he tells them the truth when getting hired."
Browder did not return our call for comment.
The Anchorage School District will interview their only other superintendent candidate this week.
A board member says they will make a final decision before the end of the month.