Epilogue on Green’s departure from Skyline

Heidi Green has landed on her feet, just as some of you predicted. She’ll be principal at Emanuele Elementary School in the New Haven Unified School District.

By the way, I gather that she really didn’t like the blog entry I wrote about her departure from Skyline High School. Last week, our photographer called the newsroom, baffled, after she was shut out of Skyline’s graduation ceremony at the Paramount. (As you might imagine, this is the kind of coverage people usually want.) Eventually, someone came out and explained that Green was angry about a blog post and that she wanted to make sure the reporter who wrote it was not allowed inside. Fortunately, I wasn’t there, and the commencement made the paper after all.

Here are excerpts from the release announcing Green’s appointment:


UNION CITY (Thursday, June 12, 2008) — Penny Loetterle, principal of
an Orinda elementary school that was named a 2008 California
Distinguished School, and Heidi Green, who runs the largest high school
in Oakland, will join the New Haven Unified School District as
principals of Eastin and Emanuele elementary schools, respectively,
pending approval Tuesday night by the Board of Education.

“A principal’s primary role has to be that of the instructional
leader at his or her school, and we have found two wonderful
instructional leaders in Penny and Heidi,” Superintendent Dr. Pat
Jaurequi said. “Not only that, I believe we have found two principals
with backgrounds and experiences that make them exceptionally good fits
for their schools.” …

… Heidi Green has been principal for the past two years at Skyline High
School, the largest and one of the most diverse schools in Oakland,
where she previously served three years as an assistant principal. Ms.
Green also has experience as a principal at Fair Oaks Elementary School
in Marietta, Georgia. Before that, she spent six years teaching fourth
and fifth grade, at Sunnybrae Avenue Elementary in Winnetka, in the San
Fernando Valley, and at Cole Performing and Visual Arts Magnet in

“We had eight finalists for our interview committee, which included
several Emanuele teachers and classified employees and several Emanuele
parents. Heidi was pretty much a unanimous No. 1 choice,” Assistant
Superintendent for Personnel Derek McNamara said.

A Hayward resident, Ms. Green earned her bachelor’s degree at UCLA,
teaching credentials at Cal State Northridge and San Francisco State and
her administrative credential at Mills College in Oakland. In May, she
was awarded a doctorate degree in educational leadership from Mills.

She will replace the retiring Marguerite Herrera at Emanuele.

Katy Murphy

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

  • Nextset

    Mistreatment of media reporters at the graduation due to a tizzy over Katy’s blog indicates to me that there is a serious problem with judgment. It does not bode well for her future in the public eye.

    And people, judgment doesn’t get a lot better after her age. You either have it or you don’t. Adversity is when you see what someone is really made of. I would have preferred to see grace under pressure. Kind of like Hillary Clinton after being crushed by the Obama campaign.

    (No I’m not supporting him… but I do admire the underdog victories.)

  • another hills parent

    Having worked in New Haven as an administrator, all I can say is that she will be held very accountable for decisions. It is unlike Oakland where the district office appears clueless about what is occurring in the schools. New Haven is on top of making sure that the Principals are doing their job.

  • Chris Dobbins

    I wish Dr. Green the best of luck at her new school. I know that the New Haven district will present many new challenges and opportunities, but I am sure that she will be successful. I know that she put in a tremendous amount of hours at Skyline (we would meet regularly at 7:30 AM and she would be there late into the evening.) She will be missed.

    On a more immediate issue at Skyline itself, State Administrator Vince Matthews has said that the master scheduling for Skyline is finished so there won’t be the same issues as occurred last fall with the beginning of the year.

    As far as a new Principal, the faculty met with Network Officer Wendy Gudalewicz this Tuesday (Betty Olson Jones and myself were also in attendance). She explained the current process for selecting a new principal. It is a rigorous process enacted under state administration, but (I feel) gets away from the original Board Policy 4020 which encompasses greater community involvement.

    At the Board Meeting on Wednesday, June 11, many of the Board Members raised these issues about the Principal Selection Process and it has been placed on the agenda for the June 25 Board Meeting. There is also been the suggestion that there be an Interim Principal at Skyline until a permanent one is in place, but we will see how it flushes out.

  • An OUSD mom

    This is for Chris Dobbins and Katy.

    If Heidi Green was involved in performing arts schools before she should know the importance of every aspect of the performing arts.Why has she been able to get away with destroying part of the PA academy at Skyline? She is shooting the academy in the foot. She has totally eliminated all of the Theater Stagecraft classes leaving the academy without a way of our young people to be trained in how to run a theater. Parents have worked long and hard to bring the theater back to its former glory and now we are very concerned. The theater CANNOT be used for any type of program without students who have been trained to run the sound, lights, curtains and backstage areas. This is totally unacceptable!

  • John

    From principal of Oakland’s Skyline High to principal at New Haven’s Emanuele Elementary. The academic level of many Skyliners will help her feel right at home in her new appointment at Emanuele!

  • another hills parent

    John: What is your point? I am very familiar with Emanuele Elementary School and do not quite understand your statement.

  • another hills parent

    Okay John: I re-read your statement and understand your comment. This is why my house is up for sale in Oakland.

  • John

    Another Hills Parent: Regarding Skyline (as stated above), “…we will see how it flushes out.” It’s good your planning not to be around for another flushing.

    You evidence the wisdom of a caring parent and seasoned educator/administrator!

    P.S. I had a great Realtor! Let me know if you want an excellent referral. She is super efficient and a great marketeer. We were out of Oakland before we knew it!

  • hills parent


    Thanks. I have both an excellent realtor in Oakland and one in Contra Costa. And the schools are excellent there

  • Jose

    Mr. Dobbs,

    Dr. Green was a very weak school administrator. To most of the students in our school she was a joke as a school leader.

    Mr. Dobbs, You should have spent some time with students to get our perspective about the school.

    When will OUSD get a principal at Skyline who understands academics and structure? We want a public education that will prepare us to enroll in good universities.

    Is this asking too much from school board members and school administrators?

  • Sue

    How many students were graduating from Skyline? And nobody from the Tribune was allowed to enter, because the departing principal didn’t like a *blog* post?

    The first word (printable in a family news venue) that comes to mind is PETTY. The second word is SELFISH. I was wa-a-a-ay too considerate and generous and reasonable in my comments before.

  • Jesse Dutton-Kenny

    I for one am hardly surprised by that type of behavior…
    The treatment that the Tribune photographer received from Dr. Green was similar to that which many students had been receiving all school year.
    Hopefully this makes some of my complaints a bit more clear.

    Also, John: In regards to this statement… “The academic level of many Skyliners will help her feel right at home in her new appointment at Emanuele!”

    I resent that, but feel how you must. I wouldn’t generalize like that if I were you, I know just as many students at Skyline who would prove your inconsequential comment completely wrong.

  • Nextset

    Jesse: Re; your comment to John, I might sound like a broken record on this but…

    Profiling and generalizing is how prudent people organize their world and their decisions in order to get the best results in the best use of time available. It does no good for you to insist that you know people who are exceptions to the rules (we all do). If you are able to demonstrate that the generalizations are off the mark half of the time – or even approaching that – you might have something.

    The difference between those who cry about the profiling and generalizations and those who use them may have something to do with age and experience, it also (likely) has a lot to do with having taken losses, attended funerals – and helped plan them – and having seen people you cared about get hurt and go to prison, and seen others do well and have a good life. At the extremes anyway.

    In my writings here I think I refer to such generalizations a lot and some people hate it, but they have nothing to use themselves except wishing and hoping. I work in the real world and in a manner of speaking I go to the autopsies. It’s hard for me to ignore experience I stare in the face year in and year out (not to mention research). I’m not sure of John’s occupation or age, but I recognize the tones he uses. You don’t have to listen to us at all. We don’t have to speak here at all. You would do well to consider all angles of info and experience you see.

    Some of our comments may be flip, and some of our comments are observations we wish weren’t true but they are. You can take it or not. It’s a free country – free to fail or not.

  • David

    Nextset, John and Another Hills Parent have every right to express their opinions, although it is annoying when the tone becomes snide (comparing Skyline students’ academic level to those of elementary school students) or smug (bragging about selling homes and moving to “better” districts). I wonder how much time these folks have spent at Skyline? How many Skyline students do they know? Did they observe Ms. Green in action? Are they aware of the day-to-day realities Skyline is neither an unqualified failure or success. It is a dynamic mixture. Characterizing it as only one or the other doesn’t reflect either experience or research.

  • John

    David: (1) The statement reads, “The academic level of many Skyliners will help her (Green) feel right at home in her new appointment at Emanuele!” That’s “many” students, NOT all students; (2) sharing Real Estate information about leaving Oakland or anywhere else is not “bragging,” although it’s instructive to note that you think it is. Perhaps you need to come out of the closet and find a Realtor yourself?

    Are you a gardener at Skyline? If not, it sure use one (more?).

    By the way, I spent three years at Skyline and played rock ‘n roll there when playing music with more than one chord was still permitted. My wife worked there four years. I do agree with you that Skyline is “a dynamic mixture.” It’s dynamite!

  • Sue

    John, I think David nailed you.

    He correctly stated that you compared Skyline students to students at an elementary school. He didn’t use the word “all”, which was your only stated objection to his commentary.

    You may not have used the word “better” in your recent real estate agent comments, but in other posts on Katy’s blog you have said exactly that about your current city of residence.

  • Nextset

    This is a blog, of course we are annoying. People are more concerned with pleasing the party at a tea party, or a cocktail party. We blog here to air divergent view on public policy. And any snideness on one hand is matched by the smugness on the other.. Oakland, OUSD and the kids involved have a lot of problems they don’t want to admit to or deal with. I for one don’t mind saying so.

    And while I don’t know Ms Green I do know the game. Good luck to all her students in the future. I think she’ll be well paid and not in need of luck from us.

    But: There is a saying about picking fights with people who buy ink by the barrel. She would do well to be gracious to any press employees she should encounter in her career, no matter what.

  • Sue

    Well, I think there is more than one kind of annoying on blogs – and I frequent a few others besides this one.

    There the snideness, smugness, insulting-individuals-or-groups kind. Which is really pointless. It’s often called trolling, and people who do it are referred to as trolls.

    Then there’s the I-disagree-for-these-reasons kind of annoying, which (if done well) emphasizes facts and opinions instead of attacking people, leads to interesting discussions, exposure to new ideas that haven’t been previously considered, and can sometimes change people’s minds.

    We have a few regulars who have a tendancy to behave like trolls, but I don’t think we’re nearly as bad as some. Our trollish-types will sometimes respond reasonably to, “I don’t like what you said (about me, or about my group), because [fact 1, fact 2, fact 3].”

    As an example, several have objected to painting Skyline’s students with the same brush as an elementary school’s students, and the best objection (IMHO) pointed out that many of Skyline’s students excell. The brush-stroke was too broad, and the paint got all over teens who didn’t need or deserve to wear it.

  • John

    Sue is that you or a goat tromping on my bridge!?

    The Troll

    Fact 1: Where the paint matches you can’t say it clashes.

    Fact 2: Where the paint clashes you can’t say it matches.

    Fact 3: I’m still waiting to exchange recipes with DH!

  • Sue

    Hee hee hee!

    Fact 1 – I wasn’t specifically aiming my brush at you – or not *only* at you – but if you feel my paint matches…

    Fact 2 – Your paint didn’t match the students who’ve been guest bloggers here, and I think we both have to give credit to the teen who spoke up for herself and her peers. She was direct and used facts to support her argument, with minimal or no personal attacks.

    Fact 3 – A) DH doesn’t visit this blog. B) I don’t think DH uses recipes. He seems get his delicious results by adding a little of this, then a little of that, then smelling and tasting and adding a little more of this and just a pinch of the other stuff. (“This”, “that”, and “the other stuff” can be almost anything, including fresh herbs from my garden, so I hope you have an herb garden of your own.) C) You haven’t offered any of your recipes to start the exchange. Since it was your idea, don’t you think that would be a reasonable beginning?

  • John

    Such a cute and demure little laugh you have Sue. Tell DH it’s healthier not to use animal fat for greasing the sukiyaki pan. Domo.

    Several weeks ago I wouldn’t have given our relationship a plug nickle, but now… (Oh darn, I need a hankie. Gotta go.)

  • Skyline Teacher

    Ms. Green will have similar problems in her new job unless she completely overhauls the way she deals with human beings — especially those who happen to be parents and teachers.

    She’s young, and despite her truculent treatment of the Trib, her speech at graduation was suprisingly humble about some of the righteous fury she had faced from students this year.

    There is hope for all of us to change!

  • Diamond Broussard

    Number one, I am a little frustrated by the alleged behavior that was exhibited by Ms. Green at our graduation. However, it was completely packed in there and simply no one was really allowed to take too many photos.

    Jose (Hi!), I agree with you about the fact that Dr. Green was thought of as a joke by many students, and also with you Jesse, that we did not see much of Dr. Green this year. I don’t think that she is a weak administrator, just that leading a high school may not be the right job for her.

    Good luck Ms. Green! BTW, some of you should spend less time arguing and more speaking about the real issues at Skyline.

  • Former Skyline Teacher

    You don’t need a good principal at Skyline: you need a good *team* of people. Skyline would be so much more effective if administration was thought of as a 5 or 6 member team (plus a head counselor). A principal should be overseeing things like the master schedule and not solely responsible for its success, for example. It seems that lots of folks here are complaining about Ms. Green acting harsh and unilaterally, but when you feel sole responsibility for a school like Skyline and are giving perpetually diminishing resources, you’re expected to act unilaterally if anything at all is to get done.

    Skyline’s problems are solvable, but there is virtually no time for one person to do it. For example, Skyline could easily have two APs in charge of teacher quality (supporting, hiring, firing), one AP in charge of operations, and two “student deans” in charge of discipline and student affairs. Underneath these admins should be ‘deputized’ teachers in charge of lesser duties: curriculum, advanced placement, grade-level issues.

    Without support, any principal will burn out (or get replaced) in under 5 years.

    Lastly, Ms. Green should be thanked for essentially saving Skyline from the quagmire that was August-October 2006. Without Ms. Green, Skyline may have been ran by the network administrators who showed up for about 8 hours a week to oversee paperwork. I’m not saying that she was a perfect or stellar principal, but she does deserve this community’s respect for doing this (now obviously) thankless job.