Interpreting Barry’s question marks

The following e-mail appears to have created more of a rift between Hayward teachers and school district administrators, who remain at an impasse over compensation (click on image to read).


Teachers are riled up over Barry Schimmel’s comments, especially what the question marks might mean. The assistant superintendent has since apologized to the teacher in person and followed up with the following e-mail sent out to district staff:



  • J. W. Kyle

    I fully understand Ms. Albert’s complaint.

    Dr. Schimmel has yet to respond to my April 26, 2006 letter seeking infomation on HUSD plans for Darwin Site. Darwin is presently used for Kitchen/warehouse in preparation of food for cafeterias.

    Board member Myrna Truehill, when pressed hard by unndersignewd, revealed lack of understanding in my use of the phrase “shake the trees and turn over the rocks” when she was pressed by me for information on plan dealing with future use of Darwin.

    Her response was to state that she ‘had heard….’ [ that site might be expanded in food prep plan and that the chap in charge had hoped to be able to raise some crops in support of kitchen….

    That thought blows my mind since the site is totally within a residential area and sits immediately adjacent to Mt. Eden Park owner by HARD. The proximity to the park greatly enhances value in any future conforming residential us of Darwin site which, speaking as a retired real estate appraiser, I easily imagine to be in excess of $5 million as a minimum, even without clearing off present improvments.

    Drive by this, one and all, and see if you concur in my accusation that present row of trees along northerly fence line ( on Darwin St. frontage,) are an attractive nuisance to young tree climbers….; that dangerous condition, exhibits HUSD indifference to potential liability and damages to any and all injured or whose families experience loss of young life !

    Trustees are not shaking trees nor turning over the rocks in search of answers which afford informationn to pose questions or permit knowledgeable answers to questions by public.

    How many understand the proposed bond issue vote in 2008 will seek $175 million and will be the first of two necessary to creation of “the plan” ?

    Frankly, I am personally prepared to vote no on this school bond issue. Know that in 55 years since first eligible to vote I have missed only one when military post office failed to deliver my absentee ballot. I have never voted against a school bond despite having sent four, each four years of parochial school before they accepted responsibility for their own added education.

    With the above described missed vote, I have never failed to vote in the 55 years in which I have been eligible.

    I will vote against HUSD’s plan with clear conscience knowing that they have behaved irresponsibly in their dealings with public !

    J. W. Kyle

  • R. M. Rivera

    Mr. Schimmel not only offended Ms. Albert but ALL parents with children in Special Ed. He forgets that it takes a VERY special person to teach a Special Ed class. Shame on you, Mr. Schimmel. You have just lost my respect.

    R. M. Rivera

  • V. Cabral

    I’m really curious as to what Dr. Schimmel’s intentions truly were. If he really didn’t mean to offend Ms. Albert, what was his point then? Was it to protect the superintendent? if so, how was he protecting him while dismissing, discounting one of his fellow employees? Was it to color Dr. Vigil’s view of her teaching abilities? Maybe he simply didn’t mean for her to ever see that e-mail. Oh right, he hit reply all by accident. It was for their eyes only Of course, his intention was not to offend her because she was never meant to see it. His intention was to disparage her in the eyes of her boss. That’s how many of the teachers in the Hayward Unified School District interpret those 6 question marks.

  • D Sarver

    The mistake for which he apologized was hitting the “reply to all” button. His apology for what he said should be grouped with those who say that the N-word or F-word was a slip of the tongue. I do not accidently say those words, because they are not part of my vocabulary. The disparaging of the teacher was no mistake, only the breadth of the audience.

  • D Sarver

    Anyone has the right to get in on the dialogue, but readers should know that Mr. and Mrs. Moudy live next door to Mr. Cook, board member, and were public supporters of his school board election campaign. This may put a different light on their outspoken support of the board and superintendent’s positions.

  • PH

    The very act of making such a comment, in email, print, or verbally, is irresponsible; a student making such a comment would be reprimanded at my school. When adults do this to each other, it perpetuates the incivility our society seems eager to promote as “self-expression”. If Mr. Schimmel had something constructive to say, it could have been communicated in a more professional fashion. Is this what we’re paying for — insults and sneers?

  • CTillson

    My reading of Mr. Schimmel’s comment came shortly after a conversation I had with my daughter and grandsons, aged 9 and 11. We were discussing the meaning of discreet/discretion. We resumed the “lesson” using the website as an example of
    indiscretion. Were we “teaching”??? Of course! It doesn’t happen only in classrooms,
    focused on grade level standards. It happens every minute a student (child or adult)
    is observant of the world around them. Like it or not, everyone is a role model.

    I would caution everyone to take a few deep breaths, allow time to pass, perhaps even
    rethink sending any response message, expecially after a long, exasperating period of
    contract negotiations. We’re all in this for the kids (I hope), so lets be good examples
    for them.

    I would also like to suggest my philosophy regarding apologies. I’m sorry means
    nothing to me, unless it is followed by, “I won’t do it again.” I taught little children
    this for many years, because they, like many adults ,view “I’m sorry” as the way out
    of a jam. It isn’t.

  • Julie Greenfield, RN

    I want to second the remarks of Ms. Rivera, above, the parent of a Special Education student. As a HUSD nurse, for many years working in the Special Education department, I have to say that Special Ed. is often the stepchild of the district. The use of the term “???Special Ed” to me is just another way of dismissing what Ms. Albert (who is NOT a Special Ed teacher) is trying to say. It is also a slander on the entire Special ed staff, and students.

  • Paul Burchfield

    Had Dr. Schimmel seen Ms. Albert teach or not?

    I’m confused by seemingly contradictory comments that Dr. Schimmel makes.

    In the March 30 article in explaining why he put six question marks when writing “I’ve seen her teach??????”, Dr. Schimmel is quoted as saying (on March 29) “I just didn’t know who this person was.”

    However, in the email thread posted, Dr. Schimmel wrote in an email on March 20 he had been to her classroom “About three weeks ago.”

    So which was it?

    And let’s not start on the non-apology apology Dr. Schimmel offered. In offering an apology “…if I offended Ms. Albert…” as well as for any professional embarrassment it “…may have caused her,” Dr. Schimmel seems to be apologizing not for his own actions but for Ms. Albert’s reaction to them.

  • Paulette Albert

    Dr. Schimmel has never seen me teach. I teach in a half-size portable with another adult in the room. Dr. Schimmel said he “popped his head in for a few seconds” and that I “actually said hi”. My paraeducator and I racked our brains trying to figure out when this was. This is the only possibility we came up with. I was working with kids at the back table. My paraeducator was working at her desk (next to the door). She said that the door opened and a man popped his head in. She said, “Hi”. Before she could even ask if he needed help, he was gone. It was less than three seconds. She said to me, “That must have been a dad looking in the wrong room for his kid”. I thought nothing of it. I didn’t even see the door open. While she can’t even be sure that was Dr. Schimmel, that’s the only time that it could have been. If that was him, seems that Dr. Schimmel thought that my paraeducator was me. And for the record, she’s not an angry person either. So, if he was there, it was only for a few seconds and he didn’t even know who I was. In Dr. Schimmel’s personal apology to me, he stated that he had absolutely no basis for making the comments. I only wish his public apology mirrored his personal one.

  • Paul Burchfield

    Thanks for clarifying that.

  • Paulette Albert

    You may also like to know that on January 31 an article was published entitled “District is Driving Out Top Teachers”. I was the author. The article discussed such topics as class size, administrator raises, school closures and teacher salaries.

  • Monica

    If you think it’s bad for Hayward teachers, it’s even worse for the support staff that we neever hear or read about.

  • scottschmidt

    Nothing new unfortunately;

    “Prior to the Murray incident, Schimmel drew fire from the Rose Garden community for his plan to sell the historic Old Hoover School property. A state court struck down the plan last fall for the district’s failure to solicit community input.”

    Karen Vierra, a member of CARES, led a group of more than 200 neighbors who fought Schimmel’s decision.

    “Barry was ejected from San Jose Unified because he conducted business dishonorably,” she said.

    Original link