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The Oakland principal shuffle

By Katy Murphy
Monday, June 22nd, 2009 at 6:34 pm in leadership changes.

As I browsed the latest personnel report today, I recognized the names of several appointees from previous roles.

Mary Scott, the ousted principal of Oakland High, will head east to become an assistant principal at Castlemont’s Business Information & Technology School. Lauren Klaffky, an AP under Scott at Oakland High (and a relatively new administrator, according to her Linked In page), is headed up the hill to the Skyline principal’s office.

Anisa Rasheed, who lost her job in 2008 as principal of Paul Robeson School of the Visual & Performing Arts (East Oakland’s Fremont campus), will be an AP at Oakland Tech. Phil Cotty, the founding principal of United for Success Academy at Calvin Simmons, will be reassigned as a classroom teacher somewhere. So will David Chambliss, former principal of Claremont Middle School. Former Life Academy Principal Erik Rice will teach at the school he led this past year. Rice’s former AP, Preston Thomas, will fill Rice’s shoes — and become his boss.

Dennis Guikema, the founding principal of the Alternative Learning Community (now Barack Obama Academy) who was replaced last fall by Toni McElroy, will become an assistant principal at Urban Promise Academy.  Janice Lord-Walker, a former Skyline High School science teacher and AP at Claremont Middle School, was hired to be an AP at Life Academy. Monique Brinson, who I believe was an administrator at Fruitvale Elementary (I saw her there the other month), was tapped to be principal of Sankofa, a small elementary school in North Oakland.

Who did I miss?

In other news, it looks like the district has un-fired Michael Rothhammer. The Garfield Elementary School principal can return next year after all. Parents have spoken out on his behalf at board meetings, so maybe staff reconsidered.

Here’s the updated principals list (Let me know if you spot other gaps, new vacancies, etc.):

Elementary
Crocker Highlands -Beth Rhine
Joaquin Miller – Paulette Smith
Martin Luther King – Roma Groves
New Maxwell Park – Earl Walls (former AP at Maxwell Park)
Redwood Heights -Sara Stone
Sankofa – Monique Brinson

Middle
Claremont – Kenya Crockett
Edna Brewer – Sam Pasarow
United For Success -TBD

High
LIFE Academy – Preston Thomas
Oakland High – Debra Marker
Skyline – Lauren Klaffky
YES – TBD

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  • Jim Mordecai

    According to my notes, The New Teacher Project (TNTP) was connected to three of the eleven administrative positions listed. But, two involved filling the position of Principal with personnel not serving in the job of principal.

    Mr. Pasarow was previously principal at Community Day High School. Paulette Smith from Howard to Principal of Joaquin Miller, Lauren Klaffky from Oakland High School to Principal Skyline High School and Sam Pasarow Community Day High School to Principal Edna Brewer.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Tildenparent

    An open secret at Tilden Elementary is that the principal does not support the vision of the school and has, in effect, undermined that vision. While parents, teachers, and other staff have united to defend the rare and valuable work that the school community has performed over many years, she has mostly sat quietly by and occasionally (and quite literally)parroted some of the unsubstantiated rationales for closure made by some in the district staff. No empathy, no statements of understanding, no attempts to promote a good dialogue. Internally, she has undermined the efforts of experienced staff and intimidated those who chose to speak out within and outside the school.

    During the struggle to save Tilden we received the notice that she had been laid off. And we breathed easier, even with the prospect of partial administrative support in the coming year. Now, we hear that her layoff was revoked–even with myriad internal complaints about her actions and performance.

    As we struggle to protect and expand the vision that Tilden represents, we know that leadership will have to come, as it has to this point, from committed parents, teachers, and staff. And we also celebrate the Board members who have believed in our capacity to carry that vision forward.

  • Tildenparent

    Here is the open letter that the Tilden parent leaders wrote to the teachers and staff at the school.

    Open Letter to Our Children’s Teachers and Support Staff at Tilden

    June 8, 2009
    Dear Teachers and Staff:
    To say that this year together has been dramatic is the greatest understatement. We joined together for no less than to defend the collective future of the children in our lives. We joined together around a vision of a school that truly nurtures and celebrates all children in their full uniqueness. In doing so, we became a stronger community. We grew to care and trust in each other, and we labored to understand each other in our full uniqueness.

    And, now we find ourselves at a new bend in the road. At this point, we must speak sincerely to each other about those things that, in defending our school, we chose to set aside.

    In observing the role that all of us have played in this year’s struggle, we know that the principal has not shared in our vision or attempted to understand what was at stake for each of us. On the contrary, we have been faced by a person who at best stands aside in silence when others choose to speak and act with integrity and courage. At worst, she pursues her own aims disregarding the needs and perspectives of experienced staff and families around her. We can say with confidence that we met with the principal on various occasions, individually and in groups, to extend to her the opportunity for collaboration. Our requests were specific and reasonable. Unfortunately, she chose to ignore them completely or to make minor offers that went unfulfilled.

    These are the types of behaviors and actions that we have witnessed from her:
    • Complete absence of a team approach to decision-making
    • Complete lack of experience in guiding group inquiry and other group processes
    • Virtually complete lack of participation in the dialogue and planning to sustain our school’s vision and successes—even a lack of token gestures and comments of concern
    • Disregard for legal mandates such as those dictating the functioning of School Site Councils
    • No evidence of knowledge related to the education of children with special needs
    • No evidence of knowledge about the developmental needs of Pre-School age children
    • No explicit discourse about the specific needs of children with special needs and about the means for meaningful integration with General Education children
    • Adversarial tone and attitude in individual interactions with members of the school community

    Teachers and staff, we know that you have chosen to take on a high degree of leadership when you deserve a responsive, empathetic, and skilled administrator. For that we are truly grateful. We know that this school remains a viable and welcoming place because of your commitment and your support for each other. We also know that our principal remains in her position because of our incessant work to win another year in which we could ensure a good outcome for our children. We live with the irony of that result.

    In light of all that we have described, we come to you with an impassioned appeal. We ask that, in the next year, you remain the strong collective that as parents we have come to admire. Some of you have been given no choice to remain with us; your connection to the school has been severed through administrative decisions which you could have not predicted. Nonetheless, we will always embrace you as allies and friends. We also know that others, in understandable exhaustion, are seeking to labor elsewhere. With respect for what you have had to endure, we call on you to reconsider that choice.

    Tilden represents the potential for a district-wide transformation, for a widespread dialogue about the creation of responsive and inclusive schools. We invite all of you to trust in the passion and commitment of the families that have struggled alongside you. We are tired as well. We have struggled to create a balance between the defense of a collective vision and the careful support that each of our children deserves from us. We chose to struggle for each other’s best future and not just our own. And, despite all that remains to be won, we continue as mutually supportive families and trust in your capacity to help us fulfill the potential of our children.

    Most of all, we honor the faith that you have placed in us and our children. We see the fruit of your work in all that our little ones have learned and in the love that they show you.

    Here’s to another year together. From the ground up, we will join to support the house that we have built and to make it much larger.

    With gratitude and respect,

    The Parent Leaders of the Tilden Parent Teacher Organization

  • harlemmoon

    Another year, another reshuffling. What’s new?
    Unless there are a bunch of groundbreaking, visionary leaders here, we should expect the same: Nothing.

  • Sara

    Does anyone know why the principal and AP of Claremont were replaced? Was it due to the API scores?

  • Jim Mordecai

    In my posting I used the wrong reference to the three administrator’s training. It is “New Leaders for New Schools” and not New Teacher Project that was involved in the administrator’s training under contract with the District.

    Jim Mordecai

  • turner

    Katy: This is not about a pricipal but central office staff. I noticed a job announcement for a director of budgeting at OUSD. Did the last director leave?

    turner

  • turner

    Sorry for the typo: PRINCIPAL

    turner

  • Katy Murphy

    You’re right, he must have left. Here’s a link to the EdJoin posting for budget director:
    http://www.edjoin.org/viewPosting.aspx?postingID=296388&countyID=1

    Jason Willis was hired in October 2007 to replace Barak Ben-Gal. (I blogged about it back then: http://www.ibabuzz.com/education/2007/10/16/at-long-last-ousd-hires-new-budget-director/)

    Here are the other Oakland Unified job postings, from most to least recent:
    http://www.edjoin.org/searchResults.aspx?countyID=1&districtID=43

  • aly

    sam pasarow actually went from community day to skyline as a PSA at the start of second semester this year, then to brewer. cds’ new principal is latanya williams, former ap under susan ryan at cbits.

    katy- what is happening to the former principals? i’m particularly curious about danielle neves of sankofa who won an award last year for improving the school’s performance.

  • Cate

    Katy, I looked at the postings for OUSD jobs – are they are hiring a new head of HR? If so, what happened to the previous one?

  • Katy Murphy

    I heard awhile ago that Delia Ruiz had left, but her name is still posted as HR director on the OUSD site. Troy Flint told me this morning that she was on leave — and that Ursula Reed was running the show in the meantime. Sounds like things have changed, though.

  • Gordon Danning

    Katy: I was downtown today, and heard a rumor that Lauren Klaffky was not approved by the Board as Skyline’s new principal, and that she instead is heading to Hayward. Who will be Skyline’s principal?

  • Katy Murphy

    Thanks for the tip, Gordon. I’ll look into it tomorrow when I’m back from my (news-packed) mini-vacation!

  • Stephanie

    I have heard from teachers at United for Success that the new principal at UFS Middle will be Elia Bustamante, who was principal at Edna Brewer 2008-2009.