Some Tilden Elementary School parents were dismayed this week to learn that their new principal, Rachelle Sallee, wanted no part of the school’s PTA.
In a rather abrupt e-mail to parent Steve Asztalos and other PTA members, Sallee announced that she planned to disband the existing parent group and create a new one that would focus on “fundraising and community engagement.”
Date: Tuesday, October 7, 2008, 8:03 AM
As the administrator of Tilden, I am selecting NOT to have
a PTA this year. I have established another group that will be
working towards fundraising and community engagement.
Tilden Elementary School
Oakland Unified School District
Tilden serves a large number of disabled children, and parents had worked closely with the previous principal, Joslin Johnson, to address safety issues (such as an evacuation plan and the lack of a coordinated alarm system), Asztalos said.
“It’s a rather stunning development,” he said. “This is a school that needs all of the help it can get.”
Contacted this week by phone, Sallee dismissed concerns that she was trying to discourage parent involvement. “It’s not that serious,” she said, about the e-mail exchange.
Sallee said she planned to create a new group named Partners for Tilden, with a different scope of work. She said she didn’t have a problem with the group of parents and teachers on the PTA.
Then why the change?
“I don’t want it to be called that,” she said. “I want it to be called Partners for Tilden.”
I didn’t realize a principal could make such a decision on her own, especially in a district that talks up “parent engagement” as much as OUSD. Has this happened elsewhere?