Dennis Jervis today presented petitions with more than 550 signatures in support of Brookfield Middle School Principal Toby Gibson’s bid to be the next school superintendent.

Superintendent Velina Jo Taylor said she would hand the petitions to the school board tonight when it meets to hold second interviews with two candidates for superintendent. Gibson reportedly was told he would not get a second interview.

Taylor said she has not participated in the search and would not attend tonight’s meeting other than to hand over the petitions.

“I will be there to give them this,” she said.

The petitions say Gibson should be the next superintendent, and they ask the school board to reconsider him as a candidate. He was one of five to be interviewed.

Dennis Jervis presents petitions supporting Brookfield Middle School Principal Toby Gibson's bid for superintendent to outgoing Superintendent Velina Jo Taylor.
Dennis Jervis presents petitions supporting Brookfield Middle School Principal Toby Gibson’s bid for superintendent to outgoing Superintendent Velina Jo Taylor.

#TeamToby, as his supporters have called themselves, gathered about 80 signatures Tuesday morning in the parking lot of Tiffany Event Center, across the street from the school; about 300 at a rally later that day on the green in Brookfield Center; and about 120 at Belly Buster Sub Shop and through other means Wednesday. Brookfield Middle School students floated their own petition in support of Gibson, an effort that netted more than 60 signatures, and Jervis included those petitions with the ones #TeamToby had collected.

Jervis said the board contains smart people and, with two who still have children in Brookfield schools, he knows they care about the kids.

“I have nothing bad to say about the board,” Jervis said. “We came together as a community and said, ‘We want you to look at something.’ I don’t think we’re that far down the road where we can’t turn around and look behind us.”

The board, which Taylor said is “very committed to Brookfield,” has said it wants to hire a new superintendent May 22.

Taylor thanked Jervis, and his wife, Nikki, who is president of the Brookfield Parents Association, for their efforts on behalf of the school. They participate in activities without being asked, she said.

“The next step has to be a good one for us to continue doing what we do here,” said Jervis, adding that he is not ruling out working with a superintendent other than Gibson.

Jervis thanked Taylor for her service to Brookfield, which includes years as a teacher and principal before being named superintendent, while Taylor said she feels bad that her resignation has prompted such a firestorm. When she took the job as Brookfield’s superintendent, she expected that she would retire from the position, she said. Taylor, who will be the next superintendent at Lakeview schools in Cortland, said it is unfortunate that she is being painted as an opportunist who took the Brookfield job as a means to reach another end.

“I feel worse that my decision had an impact that I never intended,” she said.