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Mt. Diablo district administrative shuffle underway

By Theresa Harrington
Thursday, June 23rd, 2011 at 6:51 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington.

Similar to last year at this time, principals and other administrators in the Mt. Diablo school district appear to be shuffling positions.

Some moves are based on retirements, resignations and promotions. Two are the result of principals at a pair of the lowest-achieving schools in the district and state stepping aside to make way for an $11.2 million School Improvement Grant application.

Others are for unknown reasons, attributed to finding the right “fit” for each school.

Here are the board appointments made during the past month:

May 24:

CLAYTON VALLEY HS PRINCIPAL: Sue Brothers (to replace retiring Principal Gary Swanson)

COLLEGE PARK PRINCIPAL: Paul Gengler (to replace retiring Principal Barbara Oaks)

DIRECTOR OF FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICES: Anna Fisher (to replace retiring director Kathleen Corrigan)

ADMINISTRATOR OF SCHOOL SUPPORT: Linda Hutcherson (to replace retiring administrator Patt Hoellwarth)

MEASURE C CONSTRUCTION MANAGER II: Richard Jackson (new position given to former Maintenance and Ops trade supervisor)

June 14:

VALLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL VICE PRINCIPAL: Dr. Margaret Norris (newly created position to accommodate additional students as a result of closing Glenbrook Middle School)

DISTRICT ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF STUDENT SERVICES: Jonathan Roselin (replacing Dr. Margaret Norris, who transferred to Pleasant Hill Middle School)

OLYMPIC CONTINUATION HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: Marc Lopes (replacing Principal Leyla Benson, who resigned June 15; and former Principal Cheryl LeBeouf, whose previous resignation was changed to retirement June 14)

AYERS ELEMENTARY PRINCIPAL: Sherry Brauer (replacing Principal Spoogmai Habibi)

The following four high school vice principals were appointed without an announcement about the specific campus to which they will be assigned:





Lee was the student services coordinator at College Park High School in Pleasant Hill, Robert was a student services coordinator at Concord High and Parks was a student services coordinator at Mt. Diablo High.

It is likely that more appointments will be made in the next few months.

Here are some of the openings to be filled: Principal of Meadow Homes Elementary, Mountain View Elementary, Foothill Middle School, Oak Grove Middle School and Pleasant Hill Middle School.

Do you believe the district is involving the community enough in its decisions about adminstrative appointments?

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26 Responses to “Mt. Diablo district administrative shuffle underway”

  1. Doctor J Says:

    I can’t wait for the new parody featuring the “Dance of the Lemons” and “Musical Chairs”. While I am not that creative somehow the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” popped into my head, along with the music of “Pop Goes the Weasel”. But I will defer to the official MDUSD parody makers.

  2. Anon Says:

    I do believe that all those movies that came out last year are correct. Lets just shuffle the crap around
    I do not know any of these people but I assume that they are part of the problem. Our public education system is broken at so many levels how do you even start to break it down so you can build it up again.
    and to abswer your question…No I do not believe they are involving the public at all.

  3. anon Says:

    …and where is Jennifer Sachs, an administrator at Dent, going? Hasn’t she been in the district for quite a long time? Why “resign???” Seems strange.

  4. anon Says:

    Jennifer Sachs = Dr. J? I’m just saying.

  5. babbs Says:

    theresa, im confused. in june 14 board agenda measure c is asking for an assistant consrution mgr., i see a job posting today for an assistant program mgr. is this the same job or is another retiree coming back???

  6. John Q Says:

    Looking at the MDUSD Board Agenda Item 15.11 because some of us think the budget is important, and for “Enclosure” it says “2011-2012 Adopted Budget under separate cover.” MDUSD is playing the shell game, but now they’re hiding the shells

  7. Doctor J Says:

    Play it again Sam. Last year, just minutes after the Board unanimously approved Patrick Nugent as a new principal based on Lawrence’s recommendation despite his publically undisclosed knowledge of Nugent’s DUI, Supt. Steven Lawrence asked the Board for carte blanche authority to appoint new administrators during the Board’s traditional July recess. The Board rejected such a recommendation. Now Lawrence seeks the same carte blanche authority to appoint administrators before August 1 without Board scruitiny and approval with a public hearing. All of this because the Supt is slow to get these positions filled. Will the Board stand up to King Lawrence ?

  8. John Q Says:

    Will this meeting be broadcast?

  9. Doctor J Says:

    @John Q, this tactic of keeping the attachments secret like the budget, and delivered only to board members, is not only unfair, but perhaps not kosher with the intent of the Brown Act. Same thing happens with the school administrative appointments: the board is given their names 72 hours ahead, but not the public notice. A far cry from the “transparency” that Gary and Sherrie promised but have not delivered upon. Can the public even view all of the attachments to the agenda today or tomorrow ?

  10. CVHS Mom Says:

    I know Jennifer Sachs from when she was at Woodside. I too find it odd she’s resigning. But then again, I’ve often wondered if she was Dr. J … Dr. J has the inside scoop and certainly Jen is on the inside.. for now…

  11. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Also, longtime MDHS vice principal Absylom Sims is resigning:
    The Tuesday meeting includes a change order adding $3.2 million to the cost of the solar power project (on top of a previous change order that added nearly $1.9 million to the orginal cost), bringing the total so far from $65.6 million to $70.6 million. Another change order is expected for the third phase of the project.
    In addition, the agenda includes a $112,868 contract for a master English Language Learner Plan. This is on top of about $90,000 the district already spent on an English language learner audit. Originally, Superintendent Steven Lawrence told the board the SASS Dept. would create the plan after the audit was complete.
    Tuesday’s meeting also includes the creation of the Director of English Learner Services position and the renewal of Pete Pedersen’s post-retirement contract.
    Babbs, yes, I believe the job posting is for the position approved June 14. Pedersen told me he may bring more positions to the board for approval, as the Measure C projects get into full swing.
    John Q: The district has done this in the past — usually because the Finance Dept. was still finishing up the budget. It should be available to the public at the meeting. No, the meeting won’t be webcast, but it should be broadcast on KVHS. (However, I’ve noticed the radio coverage has been hit and miss in the past.) I’ll live tweet and try to videotape snippets, if possible.
    Dr. J: You’re right about Lawrence requesting the same permission last year and being denied. I’ll do a separate blog post about that to see what blog commenters think about it.

  12. GLIC Says:

    Don’t forget, Sequoia Elem is now without a principal too. Sequoia’s principal is transferring to Mountain View. Rose Locke held a Sequoia parent/staff meeting on June 9 to solicit input for the successor principal, but she was quick to point out that if MDUSD does an “internal transfer” to Sequoia, no further parent/staff input meetings will be required–Superintendent Lawrence apparently has full discretion over who he places there. So, in theory, that school could have “the crap” shuffled there as poster 2 says. It is very concerning that the principal from Meadow Homes may be reassigned to another site when he was asked to leave his site due to the school failing. Theresa earlier responded that the “dance of the lemons” is having an unfavorable result–instead of terminating principals of failing schools, they simply shuffle them around to other sites. Why is Ayers’ principal leaving after only 1 year?

  13. Theresa Harrington Says:

    As I recall from last year, Superintendent Steven Lawrence can “transfer” current principals to positions as principals at other sites without board approval. However, he must get board approval to promote someone to principal from a different position or to hire someone from outside the district.
    Last year, Lawrence announced lateral appointments he made to the board, without seeking their approval. This is similar to what he is now proposing trustees allow him to do for all appointments.
    The appointments of Terry McCormick as principal of Pleasant Hill Middle School and Cindy Matteoni as principal of Mountain View Elementary could be made without board approval. So could the appointment of Toby Montez to any other elementary school.
    Do you think the superintendent should be required to get board approval for lateral principal transfers?

  14. Theresa Harrington Says:

    John Q: The budget is now attached to the agenda item:

  15. Doctor J Says:

    Theresa, lets get back to to $112,868 consultant contract for Norm Gold for an English Learner Master Plan. Gold presented his $90,000 Final report on May 24, 2011 to the Board with a large number of recommendations, but no plan modification was included. It was at theat time that Lawrence said that SASS would preprare the plan. Trustees Dennler and Hansen were a little taken aback by that comment, because back in December 2010 when the Board approved the Gold contract, Trustees Hansen and Dennler were assured, I think by Rose Lock, that the study would also include a modified plan. The Board agenda for June 28, 2011 states: “Mt. Diablo Unified has been identified by the California Department of Education (CDE) as a district that has failed to meet the federal Annual Measurable Achievable Objectives (AMAOs) for four consecutive years.” It further states that “A Request for Proposal #1580 was issued on May 1, 2011, seeking proposals from qualified consultants for the revision of the master plan. ” It is clear that on May 1, 2011 that the Board had not authorized an RFP for a revision of the English Learner master plan. It is also inconsistent with Lawrence’s statements at the Board meeting on May 24, 2011 that SASS would prepare the Master Plan. When are we going to get the truth ?

  16. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Gold’s entire proposal appears to be missing. Instead, staff has attached documents labeled pages 45 to 50 of a 58-page document: (the pages are also numbered 33 through 37a).
    Gold is asking for $2,700 to review the district’s English learner guidelines and plans. Yet, it seemed that he already did that as part of his audit.
    At the Dec. 14 meeting, Trustees Cheryl Hansen and Lynne Dennler asked if the audit would result in a new plan. At that time, Superintendent Steven Lawrence said: “We will make sure, with Ms. Lock’s team, that we have a plan…We will create a thorough process, where at the end of this, we will have a strategic plan.”
    He didn’t mention having to spend another $112,000 to accomplish that goal.
    At the May 24 meeting, Trustee Cheryl Hansen said: “What we end up with is a lot of recommendations, but what I wanted was a master plan.”
    Lock then informed the board that the district had put out an RFP for a master plan. No one asked how much it would cost or objected to spending more money on another consultant contract.

  17. Doctor J Says:

    More “hide the ball” by staff, where is the whole proposal ? — Gold, who Hansen described as using “boilerplate” materials, is clearly double billing. He already made recommendations — why can’t the new director put those recommendations into a master plan ? Another $113,000 to a consultant to make his total $205,000. What a racket on taxpayer funds ! When will the Supt learn that “categorical funds” are TAXPAYER’s MONEY !!!

  18. g Says:

    “Staff received a total of one qualified proposal for this project. The proposal received was from Norm Gold Associates. This proposal received the highest scores based on the award selection process and the weighted evaluation criteria as stated in the Request for Proposal.”

    They really do think we’re mushrooms!

    It isn’t too hard to “receive(d) the highest scores” when you are the ONLY one being graded.

  19. g Says:

    I agree this is a waste of money, but considering it is for only $112K, I can’t help but notice how well documented it is in contrast to the scribbled note of Pedersen’s contract giving him carte blanche over $350Million.

  20. Doctor J Says:

    Interesting that the staff report lists the budget for the EL Master Plan at $125,000. I don’t recall that ever being in any budget that was approved by the Board. Its also fascinating that as the only bidder, Norm Gold came in “under budget”. How much work does it take to put his recommendations into a boilerplate Master Plan ? For his $113,000 a full time assistant could be hired for the new Director of English Learners. Why does it cost more to put his recommendations in a Master Plan than it did to audit the district and make the recommendations ? Isn’t this something that the new Director of English Learning should be well versed in ? Or will the new director be clueless ?

  21. Wait a Minute Says:

    Its not just a waste of money its a BLATANT RIP-OFF of the citizens.

    The fact that MDUSD has tens of millions of dollars already in administrators and these clowns need to goout and hire consultants–TO DO THEIR JOBS FOR THEM!!!

    Come on, what a (bad)joke at our expense.

  22. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I spoke this afternoon to Jonathan Roselin, former Principal of Pleasant Hill Middle School, who has been promoted to assistant director of student services at the district.
    He confirmed that former Oak Grove Principal Terry McCormick is the new Pleasant Hill Middle School principal.
    “It’s official,” he said.

  23. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I was just perusing the Hayward district website and found this page devoted to its ELL plan:
    In contrast, the MDUSD home page has no mention of English learner services:

  24. Doctor J Says:

    MDUSD’s ELL “services” ? This is what the Gold report said: “We determined that, overall, the district is not operating the most effective programs for English
    learners. The district has made some progress in developing the expertise of teachers in
    elementary schools regarding structured ELD instruction, and has provided core ELD materials
    for designated ELD classes in middle and high schools. We found that ELD instruction is poorly
    implemented, and many ELs receive only reading interventions and no ELD instruction. At the
    secondary level, the district designs actually exclude long-term ELs from ELD instruction.”

  25. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Do you think the newly created English Learner Director position will be able to adequately address these deficiencies?

  26. Doctor J Says:

    The EL Director is just one of many recommendations — There are three phases of implementation. The cost will be in the millions. Where is the money coming from ?

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