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Mt. Diablo board appoints administrators, agrees to allow superintendent to appoint more

By Theresa Harrington
Wednesday, June 29th, 2011 at 1:10 am in Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington.

At Tuesday’s Mt. Diablo school board meeting, trustees made the following administrative appointments:

Assistant director of adult education: Vittoria Abbate-Maghsoudi

Principal, Oak Grove MS: Lisa Oates

Principal, Meadow Homes Elementary: Mary-Louise Newling

Vice Principal, Ygnacio Valley HS: Stephen Brady

Vice Principal, Mt. Diablo HS: Gary Peterson

The board also renewed a post-retirement contract for Measure C manager Pete Pedersen and agreed to a post-retirement contract with Mary Scott for adult education.

Trustees also agreed to allow Superintendent Steven Lawrence to hire additional administrators over the summer, including another high school vice principal and a middle school principal, to replace the Valley View Middle School principal, who is taking a job elsewhere.

Trustee Linda Mayo thanked Jennifer Sachs, a SASS administrator, for her years of service. Sachs has accepted a position in Pittsburg.

In addition, the board adopted its 2011-12 budget of about $270 million.

In a split vote, the board also agreed to spend more than $112,000 on a contract with Norm Gold for a Master Plan for English language learner services. Trustee Cheryl Hansen voted against it, saying she thought a plan could be drafted by staff using Gold’s findings from his $92,000 audit.

Hansen reminded the board that Superintendent Steven Lawrence said in December that the Student Achievement and School Support staff would draft the master plan, based on the audit. Trustee Sherry Whitmarsh said she didn’t remember Lawrence saying that.

The minutes from the Dec. 14 meeting say:

“…Superintendent Lawrence also stated that with the work of Ms. Lock’s team, there will be a strategic plan developed and finalized with Dr. Gold’s input.”

Unfortunately, the MDUSD Blog has been shut down, so it is impossible to review the videotape of that meeting.

According to my notes from December, Hansen and Trustee Lynne Dennler expressed concerns about the lack of a plan at the end of the audit.

Rose Lock, assistant director for school support and student services, said Gold would do a number of site visits and make recommendations.

“Obviously, we have to follow through on those recommendations,” Lock said. “The hope is that we are going to get enough information to guide us in the next 10 years. This is an area we have struggled in as a district as long as I can remember.”

After Dennler asked about the creation of a plan, Lawrence responded: “We will make sure with Ms. Lock’s team that we have a plan.”

He mentioned a plan Gold had developed in Hayward.

“There is a cost,” Lawrence said.

Hansen said that Gold works with boiler plate templates.

“So,” Hansen said, “you can do it yourself.”

Lock said Gold would deliver a report at the end of the audit and provide the district with 30 copies.

“He better,” Hansen said. “Expensive paper.”

Lawrence said: “Ms. Lock and her team have clearly heard this.”

He said that Gold would speak with stakeholders in the district and provide a lot of information.

“We do need to bring in teachers and our parents and we will create a thorough process, where at the end of this, we willl have a strategic plan.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board agreed to create a new Director of English learner services. Hansen said it would make sense for this person to create the master plan.

Lock said no one currently on staff was available to draft the plan. But she acknowledged that the district already has an English learner corrective action plan that it intends to implement, while the Master Plan is being drafted.

Last year, Lawrence announced internal transfers he had made to the board. On Tuesday, Lawrence did not announce any transfers he has made.

However, I have confirmed that former Oak Grove Principal Terry McCormick is the new principal of Pleasant Hill Middle School.

Do you think Lawrence should have announced transfers he has already made to the board and public on Tuesday?

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