The salary and benefits for Oakland’s new supe

The three-year contract for Oakland schools superintendent-to-be Tony Smith includes a base salary of $265,000 plus health coverage, a retirement contribution, and five weeks vacation. (On the agenda, the salary is listed at $275,000.)

The contract hadn’t been posted online as of a few minutes ago, apparently because of technical difficulties, but the board secretary sent me the attachment. You can read it here.

This is on tomorrow night’s agenda, along with the 2009-10 budget. (Although the agenda says that Vince Matthews will adopt the budget tomorrow night, spokesman Troy Flint checked and said that it won’t, in fact, be adopted until the June 24 meeting.)

What do you think about the contract?

Katy Murphy

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

  • oakteach

    Wendy Gudalewicz is out (HS Network Executive Officer) to New Haven as of July 1st. Any word on her replacement or the search process?

  • Jim Mordecai

    Questions about the new superintendent’s contract. Why did the Board waive the Ed Code requirement that a superintendent be a credentialed superintendent? Is it difficult for Dr. Smith to get a superintendent’s credential because he has never been a credentialed teacher and doesn’t want to start earning one now? Why didn’t the Board require taking the program to becoming a credentialed superintendent? Why does the Board feel it has to settle for a less than “highly qualified superintendent when all it has to do is write into the contract that he is to do the work and get his superintendent credential?

    Ed Code 35029. A local governing board may waive any credential requirement for the chief administrative officer of the school district under its jurisdiction. Any individual serving as the chief administrative officer of a school district who does not hold a credential may be required by the local governing board to pursue a program of in-service training conducted pursuant to guidelines approved by the commission.

    From Dr. Smith’s contract to be approved tomorrow night:

    “5. Pursuant to California Education Code Section 35029, the Board waives the requirement that Dr. Smith hold a credential enabling service as a District Superintendent and issued by the Commission on Teacher
    Credentialing, State of California.”

    Doesn’t the relationship between a Board member and the Board Member’s constituency get distorted by the language in item 6 below requiring that the content of contacts with a Board member must be shared with the superintendent?

    “6. In order to improve communications, improve staff morale and community support, and to expedite the problem solving process, the Board, individually and collectively, shall promptly refer all material criticisms, complaints, and suggestions called to its attention to the Superintendent for study and resolution or suggestion.”

    Jim Mordecai

  • turner

    Clearly he won’t be hurting during this recession unlike the teachers and other staff the district will layoff soon.


  • harlemmoon

    Say, Turner, you get what you pay for.
    Oakteach, did Wendy leave or was she ousted? She going to New Haven School District or New Haven, Connecticut?
    I ask because as far as NEXOS go, she wasn’t too bad.

  • turner

    We have paid superintendents and state administrators over $200k and still there is no improvement. Should we pay him more than the $265k to get better service?


  • Katy Murphy

    Wendy left on her own accord, I’m told. She’ll be chief academic officer for the New Haven school district here in the East Bay.

  • Skyline Teacher

    The board REALLY wants this guy — they picked him over the choice of the advisory board they themselves created, which had a LOT more education experience than the board itself.

    He has aggressive backers in BAYCES and elsewhere, despite his relative lack of experience.

    Hope it works out.

    FYI Katy: Skyline’s principal has been picked from what was rumored to be a VERY small pool of applicants. Name is Lauren Klaffky, an AP from Oakland High. Another New Leaders for New Schools product.

    You might want to do an article on that training program, as Oakland is one of their target districts where they are trying to create a “critical mass” of like-minded administrators. A main funder of the org, founded in 2001 by some Harvard MBAs, is Broad Foundation…

  • Katy Murphy

    Yes, I have been planning to write about New Leaders for New Schools for some time now. If you know of anyone who’d want to be quoted on the subject, just send them to me.

    And you’re right. The pool of candidates for Skyline’s position was quite small, according to Troy Flint. More on this subject soon…

  • harlemmoon

    You make a good point, Turner.
    We’ll have to wait and see whether Smith can deliver the goods.

    Thanks for the info on Wendy, Katy. Goes t show that nice folks do indeed finish first sometimes.

  • http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com Sharon

    For the past three years, I have not heard one Skyline teacher, active parent, or parent leader say anything positive, or even neutral, about its former NExO Wendy Gudalewicz. So it is a tremendous relief for many that she is no longer the NExO at the school. She was effective at alienating and infuriating that community, and was definitely responsible for some of the distress it’s been through over the past few years. If she had been a good leader, this would not be the case.

  • harlemmoon

    Wow, Sharon. I, too, have connections to Skyline. And while there were those who didn’t always agree with Wendy, she did have the respect of many.

    Interesting that you suggest that her leadership skills are to blame for the shipwreck that is Skyline. New Haven sure didn’t think so.

  • Nextset

    New people same play. Nice salary for the new depression, though. He does look pretty confident. But can he even enforce handwashing in the school lavatories?

    Darn… I’ve got to start being more positive…

    Good luck to the new guy!

  • Skyline Teacher

    Harlemmooon: Define “many.”

  • Oakland Teacher

    I also have never heard anyone say anything positive about Ms Gudalewicz, from either parents or school staff. It is too bad that she did not bail out of OUSD last year; the Skyline saga would be a very different one. I am glad I never had to work at one of her schools. I think if you substitute “fear” in for “respect” in the previous postings, it makes more sense.

    Has anyone ever noticed that the only stable force in Oakland schools is its teachers and families? Even most principals either move on (disgusted) or are forced out by central office? I surely hope that Dr Smith beats the odds.

    While for the most part the salaries of everyone but teachers and support staff aggravates me to no end, I think that we need to be offering that kind of salary to have a chance of attracting decent people, especially considering Oakland’s track record. On a similar note, one of the reasons Skyline had such a small pool of applicants was because the salary just wasn’t big enough for the monumental task as well as Skyline’s history of chewing up and spitting out their principals.

  • harlemmoon

    A couple dozen, Skyline Teacher.

    Oakland Teacher, you sound like you ought to be an OEA negotiator. Oh, yes, that’s right, you guys are in negotiations.

    Must all things hinge on salary? I think we’ve all seen well-paid failures. Superintendents, principals and yes, by golly, teachers.

  • Catherine

    Skyline Teacher: Tony was actually picked by a majority of the Board before the public discussion with the candidates, before the recommendation of the other candidate was made by the advisory panel, was going to pass and before all members got to vote.

    The meeting for a vote was held. All School Board members were locked up until they had an unanimous Tony vote. For those Board members who wanted to go with the panel recommendations, there were threats of all sorts.

    That is why we saw the shifting of School Board power a week or two before the vote. That was when the decision was made and the alliances were built to hire Tony. It is also why there was a shift in power, because some School Board Members wanted our district to change their Machiavellian politics and others voted for the status quo.

  • harlemmoon

    Threats? What sorts of threats, Catherine?
    And of this shift of school board power, who holds the power on a board with only limited control?

  • Catherine

    The “Board with no power” had the power to hire a Superintendent with no credential, against the Board Policy, against the policy of every highly functional school board in the nation. The School Board members have threatened to expose the issues the Board has behind closed doors. I had given Katy the information on the blog when Tony’s appointment was announced. Katy commented that it was difficult to believe because they were behind closed doors for so long. However, the closed doors vote was to get a UNANAMOUS vote.

    That is what the State of California – including Jack O’Connell was looking for – a unanimous vote. Without a unanimous vote, the State was having trouble with the return of power to Oakland. Because Tony’s plans will involve huge shifts in money from one set of schools to another, Jack and Company wanted to make sure the whole Board was on board and that the State office of Education would not have to deal with a mutiny.

    The State can point back to the residents of the City of Oakland and say that each and every elected official voted for the Tony Plan. Takes the State out of the middle, let’s Tony work the Plan that Jack built and so we have a same-old, same-old district with a great deal more money in the schools where students are at far below basic and below basic on the standardized tests and a great deal less money where students are advanced.

    What is interesting to me is that the Plan will not work as Tony wants it. He should have listened and learned to what Edward Velasquez is doing with his district, because it’s working. What Tony has offered up, is the same plan he put in place in Emeryville that is not working – I think their schools have an API of somewhere close to 600 and about 22% of the district budget is spent on Administration and Consultants.

    And, please, if you have any doubts, ask in a public forum each and every member of the School Board, but do it soon before they get together and create their unity statement.

  • oakland teacher

    Hi all,

    As a teacher in Wendy G’s network for years, I can assure you that she has made no friends at my school. And, this must be said, my school has some very dynamic, upbeat professionals; many found her condescending and dishonest.

    Please read this article about her:

    With regard to New Leaders for New Schools (NLNS), I am very skeptical of this program. Why? Well, compare it to Berkeley’s Principal Leadership Program (PLI). NLNS is very much like the Teach for America version of administration, as applicants are administrating–without the proper preparation or completed training– in schools while doing their classwork. The PLI is a longer program that encourages its soon-to-be school leaders to learn first, then administrate after degree completion. I think our kids, schools, and teachers deserve better than being an experimental test tube with NLNS.

    Also, the courses NLNS takes are from CSU East Bay, whereas PLI’ers get a Berkeley education. I have had friends from both programs, and it appears that the PLI gets a far superior education, yet they don’t have the absurdly big financial muscle NLNS does (akin to TFA).

    Finally, I have heard of several of these young, inexperienced, unprepared NLNS administrators not being effective. I was at the Board Meeting two months ago when myriad Castlemont teachers were lamenting about their NLNS principal, Susan Ryan.

  • http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com Sharon

    Oakland teacher: Could you elaborate on “Skyline’s history of chewing up and spitting out their principals.” You make it sound like the school and its community are somehow at fault, but I don’t see it that way at all.

    Interim Superintendent Mayor and the school board made the decision to let this most recent principal go after one year. The people at the school didn’t chew him up and spit him out; some were strong supporters and others less so. The district now says that he wasn’t properly vetted, but that would have been downtown’s, not the school’s fault.

    His predecessor was at the school for nearly two years. She was brought in as an interim 1 1/2 months into the school year. Her placement was supposed to be followed by a properly conducted principal search later that year. But Wendy G. and State Administrator #2 made sure that wasn’t to be, and decided to install her as the permanent. She was an inexperienced principal & former elementary school teacher who was busy pursuing a PhD during the time she was trying to manage a 2000+ student school. The school and its test scores suffered because of a lack of attention and good decisions.

    Before that, Amy Hansen abandoned Skyline only two weeks before the school year started (Aug. 06), after serving for four years. The principal before that lasted six years.

    This bad run of principals at Skyline seems like a combination of lousy upper level management and bad luck, rather any chewing and spitting “the school” has done.

  • Alice

    Folks should listen to Catherine, she know something!

  • Oakland Teacher

    First let me say that there is another person (#19)who also signs as Oakland Teacher.

    Next, I did not at all mean to say the Skyline community itself was responsible for losing principals, and apologize for my misleading choice of words. Rather, that the position has not been a stable one due to external forces and that unless the district truly supports the school and principal, Skyline will end up repeating history. People are not going to be jumping to fill that position, given the repeated difficulties at the school. Case in point: the past year.

  • oakteach

    Oakland Teacher #19 – you summarized the PLI vs NLNS comparison nicely. Here’s hoping that with Smith’s ties to Cal, the pendulum starts swinging back towards PLI.

  • Pepe

    While I don’t know much about NLNS (the only thing I have heard is that it is fairly selective), I have a hard time believing that PLI can be that much better. I have known several admins in schools that went through the Berkeley program and were downright incompetent. I personally know an individual who quit the PLI program because he was frustrated by the lack of professionalism. I also know one admin who is an inspiring leader that went through PLI. I don’t think you can criticize a program based on timelines or what university they work with. It’s the same thing with TFA and traditional credential programs–some are amazing teachers and some should not be in the classroom. I would be more interested to see some sort of comparison of the results that the graduates from both programs have achieved.