Note to superintendent search team: Heads up!

In today’s Chronicle, Nanette Asimov exposed fabrications in the resume of Stephen J. Wesley, the recently appointed superintendent of the two-school, 800-student Emery Unified School District.

Asimov noted that she had been corrected by a district administrator¬†after she¬†called Wesley `Mr.’, not `Dr.’ — but apparently he doesn’t even have a doctorate.

This must be a huge let-down for Emery Unified families and teachers, especially since the district — which went into state receivership because of fiscal mismanagement — seemed to be the model of recovery.

It also brought to light the limitations of some executive search firms Continue Reading


School `right-sizing’ is upon us

In May, we learned that Oakland Unified’s financial team was recommending the closure or merger of 10-17 schools because of declining enrollment. Well, those tough discussions are about to happen. Starting tomorrow.

During a special meeting, which starts at 5 p.m. tomorrow night (That will probably be 5 p.m. sharp — the interim supe, Roberta Mayor, seems to run a pretty tight ship), the board discusses the district’s long-term plan and the question of school size.

Here’s a quote I pulled from the presentation. Feel free to respond to these questions:

What is a right-sized school? There are programmatic considerations: Can a school be
too small to offer the programs all students should be able to access? Can a school be too
small to allow for professional learning communities to flourish? Can a school be too small
to allow flexibility in placement of students?

The time-line of this “right-sizing” business (oh, that term again!) should play out like this, if the plan isn’t derailed somehow, like last year:

  • Sept. 3 – School board discusses closure/merger criteria.
  • Sept. 8-18 – Five district-wide community forums on school size (I have requested the schedule and will post it when I get it).
  • Oct. 1 – School board votes on closure criteria
  • Oct. 2-3 – Staff creates the list of schools Continue Reading