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Fruitvale principal mystery continues

More than a month after Fruitvale Elementary School principal seemingly vanished into thin air, the Oakland school district confirmed that Cherie Ivey would not be back next year.

“Ms. Ivey has retired, so now it’s time for us to select a new leader,” Sharon Casanares, an OUSD administrator, said during a meeting tonight in the school gym.

The news — and the lack of explanation behind it — did not go over well with the couple dozen parents who came to the meeting hoping for answers. Some walked out rather than join in a small group discussion on the qualities they hoped to see in a new principal.

Because it is considered a personnel matter, Casanares wouldn’t answer the parents’ questions about why Ivey retired so suddenly, or why she was not at the school during the last few weeks.

“That’s why I came to the meeting,” said Edda Garcia, whose two children go to the school. “I thought they were going to tell us what’s going on.”

A teacher who refused to give her name told me, rather cryptically, that there were two sides to every story. If the parents knew the truth, she said, they might be ready to move forward as well.

Note: If any of you read the related Tribune story, you probably noticed what I just did. I really so know how to spell Cesar — as in Cesar Chavez — I promise. Must have been a spell-check snafu. I’ll have it fixed soon.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • James Jones, Jr.

    Sounds very familiar. At Sherman Elementary, we were told that one of the reasons our school was being closed instead of Maxwell Elementary (which had lower test scores and higher staff turnover) was that Ms. Casanares was impressed with amount of community support present in that area. As it turns out, that community support was centered around a principal who actually moved his family to the neighborhood and walked to school each day and knocked on his neighbors doors and got them involved in his school. Well, after Sherman was closed, that principal was told he would have to reapply for his job; and he would not necessarily get it back, so he quit. And I don’t blame him. He has a family and mortgage and how does he know what district is really doing? Everything they say feels like spin. They don’t respect the parents or the children because they don’t have to. Until we parents get together and create a City-Wide Parents Association (not PTA) with the power to boycott/strike, the district, state-controlled or not, will not respect us or our children.