Part of the Bay Area News Group

In other departure news…

By Katy Murphy
Friday, June 6th, 2008 at 2:51 pm in leadership changes.

Another central office administrator, Harriet MacLean, is leaving 1025 Second Ave. at the end of June (And she doesn’t sound too broken up over it, either).

MacLean was a principal at Helms Middle School in the West Contra Costa Unified School District for years before coming to Oakland in September 2006. Come fall, she’ll be a principal once again, in another district — though she won’t say where until the offer is finalized on Monday. As a “network executive officer,” she oversees a number of Oakland middle schools, including Explore, Bret Harte, Madison, Melrose Leadership and Montera.

Chelda Ruff, who has been principal of Crocker Highlands Elementary School since just December 2006, is moving on — ostensibly, for personal reasons. Here is a copy of the letter that was recently sent home to families.

At a news conference this morning, a group of teachers spoke out against the removal — or “reassignment” — of Anisa Rasheed, principal of the Paul Robeson School for Visual and Performing Arts (Fremont campus), among other concerns. More on the Robeson issues later.

Jonathan Klein, the special assistant to the state administrator and acting communications director, is also leaving the crumbling administration building. The Broad resident has taken a job as a Chief Program Officer with the Rogers Family Foundation, an Oakland-based organization directed by the former school board candidate Brian Rogers. Rogers and Klein work together on the board of the Oakland Small Schools Foundation.

Here’s an excerpt from Klein’s farewell dispatch:

My new position is an opportunity to stay actively involved in the work to improve Oakland public schools while having a little more flexibility for our family.

My heart is filled with tremendous respect for the people of OUSD who work diligently and against tall odds every day to serve Oakland’s families. I have learned so much from each of you – sharing in laughter and sometimes frustrations – and feel privileged to have been a member of the OUSD staff these past years.

I want to thank all of you for supporting me in my work here and especially Vince Matthews and the Strategy Team for the daily opportunities to lead and learn together. Although we face astonishing obstacles, I am more optimistic and hopeful than I have ever been in my 11 years in public education about what is possible for our students.

Have other tips? Send them my way, at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

image from Daysie Girl’s Web site at flickr.com/creativecommons

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  • Sue

    Younger son will be attending one of the middle schools that MacLean was supervising. Somehow though, I don’t think it’s going to make the slightest difference for us. When older son was attending there, we – well, DH mostly – got to be on really good terms with one of the assistant principals.

    We’ve only once ever had to go higher than a principal or assistant principal for younger son. Not that that made any difference in the situation – we ended up removing him from the problem school and transferring into a good one.

  • An OUSD mom

    Hopefully all these openings will be filled with very capable people! We seem to have a shortage of them in the district!

  • Sharon

    An accurate compilation of the turnover at this district over the past several years, what has been compromised because of it, and how it has affected morale and student learning would make a great master’s thesis project for someone in graduate school.

  • John

    “Ostensibly,” (I love that word) Chelda Ruff (Principal of Crocker Highland) is “leaving for personal reasons.” I am well acquainted with some of the issues that might (should) have fueled this (ostensibly ignominious) departure, a real wheeler race card dealer story here.

    Although I’m a retired teacher (& previous OEA ‘teacher union’ site rep) I still get requests from (still working) past colleagues for assistance because they can’t get much response from their OEA (teacher union) Land of Oz.

    An EXCELLENT veteran teacher got hit in the gut by unwarranted accusations during the making of someone elses racial divide that included the recruiting of some of this teacher’s non-white students as teacher focused tattle tales at the principal’s office. Talk about teaching students respect for classroom authority! This excellent teacher (victim) barely managed to keep his job and (compromised) mental health.

    YES OUSD mom! Hopefully all, or at least some, of these openings will be filled with very capable people and the shortage reduced or abated!

  • cranky teacher

    Perhaps it was elsewhere in his letter, but it would have been helpful to know on what basis Mr. Klein was basing his optimism! I meet a lot of teachers from other OUSD schools every week and the defining hallmark of their end-of-year commentaries is feeling that no matter what real progress is made, it is quickly wiped out by turnover, administrative chaos, scarcity and battered morale.