St. Louis School has lost several key staff members this year amid a series of allegations that the school’s president, former pop star Glenn Medeiros, operates a toxic work environment and has retaliated against some of his critics. 

In the last six months, the school’s principal, dean of students, vice president of operations and athletic director all resigned in frustration with Medeiros, according to multiple sources and copies of some of their resignation letters. Two board members also quit this year for reasons related to Medeiros.

An investigation commissioned by the board into two employee complaints found that Medeiros treated staff in ways that were “demoralizing” and that he retaliated against a teacher, according to a summary of the investigation produced by a board subcommittee in April. Since then, two additional complaints have been filed against the president.

Families spend over $15,000 a year to send their boys to St. Louis School in Honolulu. David Croxford/Civil Beat/2022

Arnold Kop, a doctor and St. Louis alumnus, resigned from the board of trustees in September. He said he had lost confidence in Medeiros and the board, which Kop said was unwilling to hold the president accountable. 

“In the school, I made an effort to talk to teachers and some administrators to get a feel for what is really going on,” he said. “I came away with (the impression) that Dr. Medeiros ran a very toxic environment at the school with a lot of retaliation for those individuals who didn’t agree with his opinion or the way he did things.” 

Report Cites Micromanagement, Retaliation

Medeiros declined repeated requests to comment on the allegations. 

In an interview, two members of the school’s board of trustees, Chairman David Coleman and Robin Yoshimura, denied that St. Louis is a toxic workplace. They acknowledged the school has had leadership challenges but said the board has taken steps this year to help Medeiros – and the school at large – improve. 

“We investigated,” Coleman said. “We assessed it carefully. We worked it through with the trustees. And we adopted, with the president, a strategy to move forward.”

Kop and other members of the school community said they are concerned that the school is losing talented staff and making it harder to provide a quality education to the students, whose families pay upward of $15,000 a year for them to attend. 

Enrollment is currently at healthy levels. But as concerns about the school’s leadership have arisen in recent months, Kop worries it could decline, and with it the school’s revenue, leaving fewer resources for remaining students. 

“It’s kind of a snowball effect,” he said.

The board hired several consultants: a leadership coach to teach Medeiros how to avoid situations that seem “retaliatory or unfair,” a human resources consultant and a Marianist education expert to lead Medeiros through a process of hoʻoponopono, or reconciliation, according to an internal board report obtained by Civil Beat. 

And under a new leadership structure, Medeiros now has fewer people reporting to him than before.  

But not everyone is satisfied.

More than a dozen current and former members of the school’s staff and board described other issues that occurred both before and after the board investigated and implemented reforms. The individuals spoke on the condition that they not be named because they feared personal and professional backlash.

“We assessed it carefully. We worked it through with the trustees. And we adopted, with the president, a strategy to move forward.” — Board Chairman David Coleman

St. Louis is a private school that serves over 800 boys in kindergarten through 12th grade at its campus in Honolulu. 

The institution – guided by the Catholic values of the Society of Mary, or Marianists – is well-known for its football team and has produced prominent alumni including gubernatorial candidate Duke Aiona, City Councilman Calvin Say and NFL quarterback Marcus Mariota. 

Music fans of a certain age may remember Medeiros as the pop singer behind the 1980s hit “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You.” But in his 20s, he pivoted to teaching. He was the vice principal of Maryknoll School from 2006 through 2014 and earned a doctorate in education. 

Medeiros was chosen to be the president of St. Louis School in 2015.

A board investigation substantiated complaints that Glenn Medeiros treated faculty members unfairly. Officials say steps have been taken to remedy the situation. HNN/2017

At the time, the school was on shaky ground. But with help from the board, Medeiros led the school through that period of financial strain and oversaw the addition of elementary school classes. Enrollment has nearly doubled, the endowment has increased and newly raised funds have allowed for facility improvements and the construction of the new athletic center, Coleman said.

“To move forward, he had to implement a financial plan that really was tough,” Coleman said, noting that staffing was cut and resources had to be redistributed. “Any plan that brings about radical change like this is going to cause displeasure.”

‘Personal Vendettas’

Indeed, Medeiros’ leadership rubbed some people the wrong way. 

According to the summary of the investigation, dated April 7, staff members felt that Medeiros takes “actions based on revenge.” 

The investigation commissioned by the board substantiated a complaint from the former athletic director that Medeiros was micromanaging his duties, a criticism that was echoed by numerous current and former employees. 

It also found that the president had retaliated against a teacher who criticized one of his recent hires and had been unfair in his treatment of that teacher and the former athletic director. Two other complaints were deemed inconclusive or unsubstantiated.

After the investigation into those claims was complete, former vice president of operations Rachel Fukumoto filed a complaint against Medeiros for alleged retaliation. After she was interviewed for the board’s investigation, she said Medeiros stopped inviting her to meetings and demoted her. 

“Every morning I wake up with a knot of anxiety in my stomach and my blood pressure is sky high,” Fukumoto wrote in her complaint. “Glenn carries personal vendettas against people and (is) allowing those personal vendettas to influence business decisions.” 

Fukumoto resigned in September. A certified public accountant, she was instrumental in getting St. Louis’s books in order, according to Coleman, and he was saddened to see her go. 

“She wasn’t an easy person to replace,” he said. 

In another case, Medeiros allegedly ordered the director of counseling to vacate her office and move into a small, windowless storage closet in 2019, multiple former employees with firsthand knowledge of the incident said. That counseling director quit last year. 

The president has also frequently changed employees’ job duties, shifting them into positions for which they don’t have expertise, according to current and former staff members. 

A former manager of the school’s athletic equipment is now teaching English. In 2020, the former head of counseling was assigned to teach social studies and English. Medeiros also promoted his former assistant to be the director of development in 2020 even though she lacked fundraising experience.

St. Louis School has graduated many prominent alumni, including Clarence T.C. Ching, the late developer and philanthropist. David Croxford/Civil Beat/2022

A Nail Salon At School

Another personnel decision that has drawn scrutiny was Medeiros’ hiring of his wife, Tammy Medeiros, in 2018. Initially a volunteer, she later worked in the school’s business office and at one point in 2020 opened a nail salon in one of the school’s buildings.

The idea was that Medeiros, a licensed cosmetologist, would do nails for faculty as a staff benefit, according to Yoshimura, but then reports started coming in that she was bringing in outside clients.

The board advised her to shut it down, Yoshimura said. 

Tammy Medeiros did not respond to requests for comment. 

Overall, Glenn Medeiros’ management style gives his staff the impression that decisions are not well thought out and are “the result of poor leadership,” according to the investigation summary. 

“In their minds, it is hard to follow a person like this,” the summary states. “Leadership takes skill. Those that you lead need to believe that even negative decisions have been made with their interest in mind but foremost for the sake of the organization’s goals.”

Some current and former employees also complained they felt that Medeiros and his wife were spying on them.

Years ago, Medeiros ordered the installation of cameras, some of which were pointed directly into staff members’ work areas, and the footage aired live at Medeiros’ computer, multiple sources said. 

After people complained about the “surveillance environment,” Coleman said certain cameras were turned off, and the monitoring system was moved out of Medeiros’ office and relocated to security. 

Coleman confirmed that Tammy Medeiros reported information she overheard in the workplace to her husband. 

“I don’t characterize that as a toxic work environment,” he said. 

Nevertheless, Coleman said the board made it clear that Tammy Medeiros had to go, and she resigned last December. 

Even after she left though, Tammy Medeiros found herself at the center of one of the complaints against her husband. 

In May, an unauthorized person used Medeiros’ log-in information to check on several student billing accounts. The billing system, called TADS, contains parents’ tax information and social security numbers.

Medeiros initially said he had accessed the accounts himself, according to a briefing presented to the board. But in fact, it was his wife, Coleman confirmed. 

“When that was identified, we took appropriate action,” he said. “All the parties now are reminded of their responsibilities.” 

A business office employee and St. Louis parent whose account was improperly accessed filed a complaint with the board and resigned last month. In her resignation letter, she cited the violation of her privacy as the reason for her departure. 

Despite the complaints and resignations, Coleman said the board has addressed the school’s problems and unanimously supports Medeiros. 

“We consider this to be over,” he said.

Civil Beat’s education reporting is supported by a grant from Chamberlin Family Philanthropy.

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