Gersen said he, Byers and Board Vice President Robert L. Kline were discussing how to accommodate Greenwald's request when Byers pitched the idea.
"We were trying to figure out how, without getting into all kinds of complications with sunshine laws," said Gersen, who praised Byers' creativity. "This was a way - she thought and I agree - of skinning the cat."
Other board members concurred the meetings were a good way to find out what's on the minds of school system employees, he said.
A different group of employees will be targeted with each of the three "Speak Out" meetings, starting with the meeting for teachers on Thursday, Gersen said.
However, employees are welcome to come to whatever meeting that fits their schedule, he said.
The meeting for classified employees is scheduled for Jan. 30. The meeting for administrative and supervisory personnel is set for Feb. 13.
All meetings will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m., using a time-limited format that will break the larger group into five smaller groups for brainstorming sessions on three main questions, Gersen said.
Greenwald, according to Gersen, came up with the first two questions - what can the school board do to improve communications with employees and the community and what can the school board do to improve its relationship with employees and the community?
Gersen said the school board came up with the third question - What can the school board do to improve your ability to perform at a higher level in your job?
Linda Dunn, president of the Washington County Educational Classified Employees Association (WCECEA), said she hopes the meetings will help resolve the many problems she and members of her association see in the school system.
"It sounds like a good idea," Dunn said. "I think there's willingness. If we're really taken seriously, I think a lot of good things can happen."
For Greenwald, the meetings show the school board is willing to reach out to its employees, which should change their perception from the past four years that the board is inaccessible.
"I'm really hoping we can use this new openness to develop a relationship with the new board that's going to benefit the entire community," he said.
Still, Greenwald said he's extended an invitation to Byers and Kline to come to an executive session of the WCTA board of directors.
"We want to be able to convey to the elected board the concerns that we have," he said, noting that a public meeting wouldn't allow full discussion of problem areas because people would be guarded in what they said.