There’s another layer to the pink slip story: 96 Oakland principals, APs, central office managers and other administrators received notices that they might be moved, demoted or — in a few cases — out of work, according to figures from the Oakland school district.
Ten principals have received a slip, OUSD Spokesman Troy Flint said. (I don’t have the total number of notices sent to administrators in 2009 — I’ve requested that data — but Flint says it’s higher this year because of the district’s budget hole and cuts to special-purpose funding.)
Montera Middle School might be deeply affected by these changes, if they come to pass. According to its parent-teacher organization, Principal Russom Mesfun and both of his assistant principals learned they might be moved to a different position in OUSD.
A petition circulated by the PTO is demanding that the district keep the administrative team in place. Flint said he couldn’t discuss any particular staffing decisions because of confidentiality rules.
Shortly after Mesfun came to Montera in 2007, the students, teachers and parents I interviewed — with one exception — said they were pleased with the new principal. They said he brought order to the school and that he was very visible and involved. He clearly still has strong support among some of Montera’s parents, but I’ve heard complaints about his leadership style and the way he interacts with some of his teachers and parents.
Mesfun has also been haunted by his short stint as a high school principal in Lodi Unified, where he worked before coming to Montera. In September, Lodi settled a lawsuit filed by three of Mesfun’s former teachers at Christa McAuliffe High School. The teachers alleged the principal bullied them, openly questioned their teaching abilities because of their age (40s and 50s) and race (white) and hounded them with inappropriate comments and accusations. One teacher said Mesfun accused her, repeatedly, of “faking” cancer.
Lodi Unified paid $250,000 to the three teachers. I left a message on Mesfun’s cell phone late this afternoon, but I haven’t heard back from him yet. I’ll post his response to his reassignment and the settled lawsuit if and when I do.
NOTE: This is a sensitive subject. Please keep your comments respectful and free of name-calling.