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Mt. Diablo school board welcomes new administrators

By Theresa Harrington
Wednesday, June 29th, 2011 at 7:00 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington.

To help the public get to know the new administrators appointed by the Mt. Diablo school board on Tuesday, I videotaped their introductions and comments to the board.

Vittoria Abbate-Maghsoudi was appointed as Assistant Director of Adult, Continuing and Career Education. She replaces Susan Passeggi, who was appointed as assistant principal of adult and career education in the Castro Valley school district June 9. Abbate-Maghsoudi was promoted from her position as vice principal of adult education in the Mt. Diablo district:

Lisa Oates was appointed Principal of Oak Grove Middle School in Concord, replacing Terry McCormick, who was transferred to Principal of Pleasant Hill MS. McCormick told me she volunteered to leave her leadership post at Oak Grove so the school could apply for a $4.5 million School Improvement Grant.

According to a May 29, 2003 LA Times article, Oates was ousted from her position as assistant principal of Antelope Valley HS in 2003, when a state audit found the school’s leadership was unable to improve students’ academic performance for two years. Oak Grove Middle School has been named by the CDE as a “persistently lowest-achieving school,” determined to be in the lowest 5 percent of campuses in federal Program Improvement based on its average three-year proficiency rate for English-language arts and math over a three-year period.

Mary-Louise Newling was appointed Principal of Meadow Homes Elementary in Concord, replacing Toby Montez. The staff report states that the incumbent (Montez) is retiring. However, Montez told me that he expected to be assigned another position in the district, after officials asked him to leave his post so Meadow Homes could apply for a $5.1 million federal School Improvement Grant. Newling was previously a curriculum specialist for Alameda County’s multilingual/multicultural children’s literature center.

Stephen Brady was appointed vice principal of Ygnacio Valley High. Although the staff report states that the incumbent is retiring at the end of the year, former vice principal Joseph Alvarez actually resigned.

Doing a basic google search, I found a declaration by Brady as part of the Williams v. state of California lawsuit nicknamed “Decent Schools for California.” In it, he complained about the lack of textbooks and substandard facilities at Balboa HS in San Francisco, along with detrimental staff turnover.

Finally, the board appointed Gary Peterson as vice principal of Mt. Diablo High School in Concord. The staff report states that the incumbent has been transferred to another position in the district. According to the school’s website, one vice principal position is vacant. Vice principal Abyslom Sims has resigned.

Peterson received mixed reviews from students at Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco, where he taught prior to teaching at Riverview MS in Bay Point.

Are you happy with the above appointments and are you comfortable with the board’s decision to allow Superintendent Steven Lawrence to appoint eight more administrators over the summer without its approval?

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  • Doctor J

    Lisa Oates looks like another Nugent recruit. Hiring a principal for a “persistently underachieving school” who has a history of allowing schools to become underachieving sounds like a really good vetting process by Julie Braun Martin and staff. Great appointment King Lawrence. You have done it again. And the public wonders why it can’t know the names of the candidates at the same time as the school board ? Maybe MDUSD ought to hire some high school students to google the candidates — how could they do worse than an Asst. Supt. paid $150,000 ???? Oak Grove parents, I hope you are happy.

  • g

    Oates is starting over here after 20 years at Antelope Valley? It looks like they gave her another chance after 2003, as she was Principal at Littlerock High School in 2006-7, but not in 2008 or after. Lawrence must have just hired her so MDUSD could supplement her retirement income from AVUHSD.

    Seems to be a lot of mistakes in the staff reporting area…?

    If there are potential problems and misinformation on nearly each person appointed or replaced or displaced yesterday, it kind of makes you think the Board would want to keep a closer eye on things, not turn over their authority and turn their back on their obligation of due diligence.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Oates was rated by seven students at Littlerock HS, including two who said they never met the principal in four years at the school: http://www.ratemyteachers.com/lisa-oates/955964-t
    She received an Employee Recognition Award from the Antelope Valley Union HS District in May for 20 years of service: http://www.avdistrict.org/employeerecognition

  • frustrated

    It seems like you don’t necessarily have to be good to get an admnistrative job in MDUSD. You just have to be from somewhere else.

  • Mark

    Lisa Oates is a quality person and administrator, give her some time and you will see. NCLB required the admin team to be moved from AV high. The new admin hasn’t faired as well. This will be a good hire.

  • Stock G

    Lisa Oates was a terrible hire since she had horrible reviews from students and staff alike. It makes one wonder why do we keep shoveling around the crappy administrators when it would be much easier to train new ones??? This woman doesn’t deserve another chance to fail! Give her the option of either going back into the classroom, if she can teach, or retire early because CLEARLY no one is following her.