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Transfer of Walnut Creek principal causes outrage

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 at 3:56 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington, Walnut Creek.

By Theresa Harrington
The decision to transfer Bancroft Elementary Principal Linda Schuler to Valle Verde Elementary in the fall has some staff members and parents at Bancroft outraged.
Parent Kim Friedman told me teachers were planning to meet with Mt. Diablo district Superintendent Steven Lawrence at 3 p.m. today, followed by a parent meeting with Lawrence at 4 p.m.
Many plan to protest the move to the school board tonight at 7:30 p.m.
“Because of the way it was handled, that’s most of the reason why we are very upset,” Friedman told me today. “We have very little trust in this district as it is.”
I couldn’t reach Schuler, Lawrence or Rose Lock, assistant superintendent of elementary instruction, this afternoon. But I spoke to Valle Verde Principal Carolyn Kreuscher, who confirmed that Schuler will be taking the over leadership of the school in the fall.
“I’m absolutely thrilled,” Kreuscher said. “She’s going to be an incredible person to take over the helm. I’ve known her as a colleague for years and years. And I’ve known her as a friend. So, I feel like my community is blessed to have her coming aboard.”
Kreuscher said she notified her staff about their new leader Monday after school ended. She also sent an email to parents letting them know who would greet them in September.
Lock called Kreuscher over the weekend to tell her Schuler would be her replacement. Kreuscher’s last day is June 29.
She said she had no say in deciding who would replace her. And although some in the community are calling Schuler’s new assignment an “involuntary transfer,” Kreuscher said there is no such thing for principals.
“I don’t think that is true, because I don’t think that kind of language applies to us as principals,” Kreuscher said. “We’re hired as part of our district. What I know and what I’ve understood is that we go where we’re going to best service our communities.”
Kreuscher said she was transferred to Valle Verde 13 years ago, after working as principal at Holbrook Elementary in Concord. Schuler was transferred to Bancroft after working as principal of Mt. Diablo Elementary in Clayton.
Some Bancroft parents said they found out about Schuler’s departure from friends who received Kreuscher’s email. Kreuscher said Lock didn’t ask her to keep the news under wraps and told her she could inform her staff.
“I know that once I inform my staff, my community knows within five seconds of that,” Kreuscher said. “I know that Linda Schuler told her staff prior to me telling my staff.”
Still, Kreuscher said she could sympathize with concerns of the Bancroft community.
“That’s to be understood,” she said. “It’s very difficult, I think, for people to let go of good leadership.”
Kreuscher also said she would have expected the district to inform her school ahead of time, if she were being transferred (instead of retiring).
“Absolutely,” she said. “That’s the difficult piece.”
When asked if the Bancroft community uproar could have been prevented, Kreuscher said she couldn’t speak to that.
“To be honest,” she said, “I feel like my boss (Lock) and superintendent are working as hard as they can to do things that are right for kids and I dont think this is easy times. I think they’re trying to be responsive with so much to be responsive to.”
Do you think the district handled the transfer appropriately?

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