The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. – John F. Kennedy
Cory Allen Heidelberger is famous or infamous, it depends on who you ask. To his followers, he is a seasoned investigative reporter. To the local media, a part-time wanna-be newsperson and to Dr. Annette Bosworth, he is the man who relentlessly pursued her for over two years working every angle to destroy her life.
Since 2013, Heidelberger has spent a large part of his time stalking Bosworth’s social media pages, posting stolen items from her office to use against her on his blog and even attacked her children online, encouraging deplorable behavior that has labeled him a Hate Blogger. But for all the things that have been said about him, stupid is definitely not one of them.
In 1989, Heidelberger was the recipient of the Presidential Scholar Award, given each year to just one male and one female graduating senior per state. According to his cousin Aaron, Heidelberger was given a big scholarship to Harvard after earning a near perfect score on the ACT. And, he did attend, briefly. After spending just the fall semester at what is arguably the most prestigious schools in the nation, Heidelberger abruptly left.
He has never spoken about Harvard, nor was he comfortable with his entry in the 1989 Presidential Scholar Yearbook. His bio changed sometime in the last few years. Set among pages of Scholars promoting their high school work, Heidelberger’s states:
I’ve spent ten years teaching HS English, math, and even physics. I’ve also coached or judged high school speech and drama activities for 18 years. Now I’m pursuing a D.Sc. in information systems.
Heidelberger’s return to South Dakota was not without its challenges. In December 2000, he was suspended and eventually fired after verbally abusing a student at this Alma Mater, Madison High School. In January 2001, KELO-TV reported about the incident, ‘“I called the student over to discipline him the student was defiant wasn’t going to listen.” Then they exchanged words. The Madison School board suspended Heidelberger the day after and in a 6-3 decision fired him Saturday citing “poor performance” and unprofessional conduct.”
School board member, Rod Goeman told KELO that the decision to let Heidelberger go was a difficult one, calling him “a respected teacher,” then adding that the decision was made “by examining all of Heidelberger’s personnel records.” Heidelberger worked three years at Madison High School.
Heidelberger’s comments were not unlike his blog posts, angry and indignant, says Keloland, “He is worried about the message his firing sends students. Heidelberger says, “There are kids who can figure out the message that sends in terms of what they might be able to get by with.””
Goeman was present more than a decade later in 2011 during a candidate forum when Heidelberger was running for Madison Central School Board where he asked about his temper and how her would work with other members of the school board. Heidelberger was clearly tweaked by the comment calling it “perhaps the most personal question ever asked at a Madison local candidates’ forum, former Madison Central School Board member Rod Goeman asks candidate Cory Allen Heidelberger whether Heidelberger’s hot temper will hinder his ability to work with the school board if elected.”
Heidelberger responded to Goeman’s question with bravado twisting his hands in the air and calling his run ins with locals “passion.” The question is with my reputed hot-tempered,” Heidelberger reiterated. “How will I be able to deal with or members without blowing my stack. Does that effectively summarize question?Awesome it’s a good question I think everybody listening at home tonight can probably hear my hand gestures waving in the air.”
Heidelberger played down Goeman’s question about his “reputed temper,” but Goeman clearly had issues, specifically with an incident two years earlier, when Heidelberger was sitting on the Lake Herman Sanitary District. Goeman posted his concerns on the Madville Times, perhaps trying to avoid the public forum:
Cory, your intelligence is unmatched. Your ability to argue and debate is well proven. My only concern is whether you can work with fellow board members who will disagree with you, whether you can work with administrators and educators who won’t always support your platform. You tend to be extreme and assertive in an effort to win any discussion or debate on topics you’re passionate about. With a board of seven people of varying personalities, it is hard to accept the results of a vote that goes against what you believe. You always have to support the final decision whether you agree or not. No grudges, no blog rants. It may be difficult to negotiate teacher’s salaries or benefits as a board member when you were once an educator in the district. It’s not always a pleasant task. I think back to when you and Mr. Dirks had your altercation at the library a couple of years ago. Verbally berating an elderly fellow board member for over a half hour in public at your current age and maturity? That’s a tough pill to swallow and does not fly at any level. What would you have done if Mr. Dirks had dropped dead of a heart attack from the stress of arguing with you?
Heidelberger responded: CAH: Hmm… I’ve been on the Lake County Water Quality Committee for over a year, and I’ve disagreed pretty strongly with various people in the room. No punches, nasty blog rants, or heart attacks yet. If that’s your only concern, I’m winning your vote! (For the record, the incident to which you refer? Ten minutes, max, with Mr. Dirks dishing out as much as I did, just more quietly.
He later wrote an apology on his blog:
Cory Allen Heidelberger
Lake Herman, SD
Goeman was unable to pose similar questions to the other four candidates. We all laughed when I finished at how no one else wanted to go near the question. But every candidate has personal flaws. How hard do we want to work to dig up those flaws?
Bonus Madison History: Should I have the pleasure of serving on the board, I may indeed ask Goeman for lessons in on-board temper management. When he was a board member in 2001, he roused the temper of 27 Madison coaches who asked him to resign. The board publicly discussed and voted by a slim majority in favor of his resignation. But Goeman refused and went on to ably serve two more terms, until 2008.
Then-president of the school board (now city commissioner) Dick Ericsson said this of the Goeman resignation fracas:
We have lots of important business to do for our students in this district and we’ve taken enough time, and rightfully so, for some of the issues that were raised…. But unfortunately we’ve gotten sidetracked from the issues that we need to be about, and that’s the business of education [Aisha A. Talley, “Madison Board Members Urge Goeman to Resign,” Madison Daily Leader, 2001.04.24].