I watched only the smallest snippets of last night’s school board meeting from the comfort of my own home, but Michele Ellson of The Island was there and issued a full report. One highlight: newly-elected board member Trish Spencer nominated Ron Mooney for board president and then, after Mooney withdrew his name from consideration, Spencer nominated Mooney a second time, that time for board vice president. In response to which, second term board member Tracy Jensen withdrew her name for consideration for the position.
So, Alameda, your new school board president is Mike McMahon and your vice president is Ron Mooney. Retired principal Niel Tam, rounds out the group of five. You will likely be hearing more about them as the state budget continues to collapse and board members are faced with ever-more-difficult choices about how to run AUSD schools with less.
In a sign of the miserable economic times, the Alameda Education Association, which represents district teachers, has asked simply to extend their current contract for another year. Hopefully, turning their energy toward fighting state-level mid-year budget cuts to education funding.
Ellson’s whole report is here.
The Alameda Unified School District board voted last night 3-1, with board president Bill Schaff out of town and Janet Gibson dissenting, to approve the Nea Community Learning Center charter. The school’s facilitators have requested space to house the new school at Longfellow Education Center. The Island has details.
Ten days ago I attended a two-hour workshop sponsored by the Alameda Unified School District on the finer parts of the laws governing charter schools. I learned a good deal about charter law, but by far the biggest takeway from the panel discussion, which included Chuck Cadman of School Consulting, Inc., Carlene Naylor, the associate superintendent for the Alameda County Office of Education and Carolina Monroy of the California Teachers Association, is that the key to a successful charter, however it’s organized, is cooperation between charter and district. Monroy:
The reason we have some really good charters is because they’re working in a very complementary manner with the school district. There’s give and take. There’s discussions of the financial aspects. There’s constant ongoing communication…
When I’ve see they haven’t been really successful is this mindset that’s competitive, that we’re doing what the district can’t…that’s really very harmful all around.
As those of you who followed the first application for charter from Nea last year may have noted, there seems to be some negative history between the district and the Nea organizers, many of whom are affiliated with the Alameda Community Learning Center. So whatever the school board decides tonight on Nea’s second application, my hope is that district administrators and charter administrators will work hard to work together.
After a weekend of closed door interviews and another closed session today, Alameda’s school board has offered a contract to a new superintendent. Kirsten M. Vital currently works for the Oakland Unified School District where she has served as the community accountability chief since early 2006. She has also worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District as the Director of Instruction and Health and Human Services as well as co-principal of Santa Monica High School. Vital earned a bachelor’s from Northeastern and a master’s in eduction from Whittier College. Here’s slice of the press release from the district this afternoon:
The Alameda Unified School District and the members of the Alameda Unified School Board are pleased to announce that they have offered a contract to serve as Superintendent of the Alameda Unified School District to Ms. Kirsten Vital…
The school district conducted an extensive search and was pleased to find the best person for the job right here in the Bay Area…
“We couldn’t be happier with the choice of Ms. Vital,” said School Board president William Schaff. “In her previous and current positions she has been extensively involved in all aspects of running a school district,” said Schaff.
“As our district moves forward in these difficult economic times, I am confident that Ms. Vital will bring the experience, energy, and hands on approach the district needs,” he said. “She understands and will actively work to involve every member of our community in the future success of our schools. She truly understands our motto of excellence and equity for all children,” added Schaff.
You can read all the whole press release here.
A glance at this morning’s returns (with all Alameda precincts in, but an unknown number of provisional ballots still to be counted) we’re still seeing the same trends as last night. It looks like newcomers Trish Spencer, Niel Tam and Ron Mooney will take seats on the school board, ousting two incumbents, David Forbes and Janet Gibson. In the city council race, it looks like Doug DeHaan and Marie Gilmore have been returned to office (defeating challengers Tracy Jensen and Justin Harrision). Measure P, the city real estate transfer tax, is at this moment passing by the tiniest of margins, just over 300 votes. You can see all election returns here. Mike McMahon is tracking the school board vote here.