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MDUSD board appoints administrators, approves union contracts

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, June 18th, 2012 at 7:56 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

In one of the shortest Mt. Diablo school board meetings in recent history, trustees on Monday appointed four administrators, approved union contracts and other personnel changes.

The meeting ended so quickly that I missed it entirely, showing up just as Superintendent Steven Lawrence was leaving. Luckily, “citizen” Mike Langley and MDEA President Guy Moore were still lingering in the board room, so they filled me on what happened, along with Rose Lock and Julie Braun-Martin.

There were at least two speakers during public comment, including Langley and Clayton Valley High teacher Kipp Penovich.

Here are Langley’s comments, which he provided to me in writing:

“Madam President, members of the Board, Superintendent Lawrence, Staff, members of the Public, my name is Michael Langley and I appear this evening as a concerned citizen. The decision to ratify the contracts before you is a good first step. It is understood by most that subsequent actions may need to be held in abeyance until the results of the November ballot initiatives are certain. If the governor’s initiative passes there will be a temptation by MDUSD to continue a path that I believe damages the real education of our students. I speak out against the concepts that more layers of consultants, the proliferation of coaches and the tyranny of technocrats are needed to make incremental gains in test scores. If you look forward, you will see the disintegration of the myth that data testing is a reliable tool that brings benefits in proportion to cost in resources: monetary, lost instructional time and the human interaction that are the real engines of learning.

When it is time to rebuild and re-budget, consider the human resources that actually have the greatest impact on our students. Return classroom time to the educational assistants so they can help individualize student support. Return hours to the site clerical staff, so that they can function. Return administrative support to the sites that struggle with a single administrator. Release the teachers from the straitjacket of top down directives and embrace the art of good teaching.

How can you afford this? Remove any layer that does not support classroom instruction in a clean, safe and modern environment. For almost ten years the district has been chasing the mirage of improvementby edict. Yet, the measures of improvement you have embraced are flawed and it was inevitable that the district become Program Improvement. Quality people will stay, and you will attract more, if you respect the human resources that are slipping away from you.”

I will try to contact Penovich to see if he would be willing to provide me with his comments, or to paraphrase them for me. Langley said that Penovich asked for a districtwide discipline policy. Penovich has resigned from the district and will continue working at the charter.

I believe the union contracts were approved as presented, but I’ll double-check that tomorrow.

Here are the appointments:

Administrator, School Support: Marie Schirmer, current principal of Cambridge Elementary

Elementary principals:

Charla Hernandez, of Brentwood
Jon Pierce, of Oakland
David Ramirez, current El Dorado MS vice principal

No school assignments were made, said Braun-Martin, because the district is still matching people with schools.

The board also approved the creation of a new vice principal position at Oak Grove Middle School, to be funded with a School Improvement Grant.

So, here is a rundown of the elementary principals appointed so far:

Lianne Cismowski (former MDHS vp)
Kristin Martin-Meyer from Hayward as an Elementary
Charla Hernandez, of Brentwood
Jon Pierce, of Oakland
David Ramirez, (former El Dorado MS vice principal)

Here are elementary openings due to retirements, resignations or reassignments:

Delta View
Pleasant Hill
Shadelands special education
Valle Verde

So, the district still needs to recruit some more. In addition, it now needs to fill vice principal positions at El Dorado and Oak Grove middle schools and a principal position at Ygnacio Valley High.

Are you satisfied with the appointments thus far?

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112 Responses to “MDUSD board appoints administrators, approves union contracts”

  1. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Yes, I noticed that too. She didn’t waste any time! That was before the school year was even over!

  2. Doctor J Says:

    Sue Brothers did it on Clayton Valley HS time ! June 7 was a Thursday !

  3. Anon Says:

    Anyone hear who will fill Mildred Browne’s spot?

  4. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The position does not appear to have been posted, but the assistant director position is open:

  5. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a new blog post about my interview with John Swett Superintendent Mike McLaughlin, who says cutting away from the classroom has led him to take on three jobs and to ask his administrators to add extra duties as well:

  6. lc Says:

    TH: You wrote: In a followup email, I asked if the Fair Oaks and Sun Terrace principals were reassigned to new positions.
    Braun-Martin responded:

    “Yes, Cheryl Champion has been assigned to Delta View.”

    Regarding Gretchen Jacobs, she wrote: “We are in the process of confirming her assignment.”

    Have these people/positions been put into place yet?

  7. lc Says:

    What I meant in the above post was has Ms. Jacobs been placed yet and who is going to Fair Oaks?

  8. Theresa Harrington Says:

    These are the assignments Braun-Martin has confirmed:

    Charla Hernandez: Ayers Elementary
    Lianne Cismowski: Cambridge Elementary
    Cheryl Champion: Delta View
    Jon Pierce: Fair Oaks Elementary
    Kristan Martin Meyer: Sun Terrace Elementary
    David Ramirez: Westwood Elementary

    I sent her an email Friday asking about Jacobs, but have not heard back. The board has authorized Lawrence to appoint three elementary principals over the summer, without their approval. He also has the authority to reassign principals without board approval.

    I believe there are openings at Pleasant Hill Elementary, Valle Vere and Woodside Elementary.

  9. Doctor J Says:

    Unless Jacobs assignment was confirmed prior to July 1, her contract expired and the Board would have to approve her once again or ratify her if she is one of the three appointments. Either way, the public will get its opportunity to voice their concerns once again about her.

  10. g Says:

    Great story about LA School Supt. Deasy. Now here’s a man who doesn’t spend much time in his big swivel rocker!

    At how many schools has Lawrence just “dropped in” to see for himself what they’re like?

  11. g Says:

    Here’s another story about Deasy from last year. ‘Keep some of my salary–because we are having financial problems’! JUST WOW!

    660,000 students! Base pay $330,000.00 = only $2.00 per kid per year—and then he cut his own pay even lower by $55,000.00 per year!

  12. Theresa Harrington Says:

    According to this board agenda item, the district should also be filling a vp position at Foothill MS:

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