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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:

Ayers
Cambridge
Delta View
Pleasant Hill
Shadelands special education
Valle Verde
Woodside

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. Anon Says:

    Have they said what will become of sue brothers?

  2. Anon Says:

    I wish we were given more information. I would like to know about their background, experience, leadership, etc.

  3. Kipp Penovich Says:

    I am NOT staying with the district. Theresa, could you correct that comment? I resigned from the district as asked and am continuing with CVCHS. My public comments were made to point out that there is a need for increased discipline at school sites.

  4. Doctor J Says:

    Any clue where Eberhart was last night ? I can’t remember the last time he missed a meeting — and he should have more time on his hands these days since he doesn’t have to commute to Redding anymore.

  5. Doctor J Says:

    Charla Hernandez is the Principal of Ron Nunn Elementary in Brentwood. Here is a link to the parent’s club website and you can find a picture of her there. The history of the school’s API can be found at the CDE website. http://www.everythingbrentwood.com/ronnunnparentsclub.html

  6. Just curious Says:

    Marie Schirmer is awesome and has done a great job at Cambridge.

  7. Just curious Says:

    Does the district have someone in mind for Oak Grove VP? There is not a job posting for that position.

  8. Doctor J Says:

    Not sure why Hernandez would want to leave Ron Nunn E. in Brentwood. A quick glance at their SARC report shows it is a 58% white school, very small discipline problem, API of 846 which was a 20 point DROP from the previous year, principal salary above the state average and probably higher than MDUSD, and seemingly other good things. This one has me very curious. Take a look. http://www.axiomadvisors.net/livesarc/SARCIndexPDFs/07616556109730_10-11_1.pdf

  9. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Kipp: Yes, I corrected that statement.

  10. Doctor J Says:

    Weren’t there two School Support Administrators in SASS open ? Did they only interview for one ? Are they still interviewing for the other ?

  11. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is the list of staff: http://www.mdusd.org/Departments/sass/Pages/DepartmentContacts.aspx
    I only recall that Pat Hoellwarth is retiring. She is listed as an “interim” school support administrator. Who else did you think was leaving? Or, are you referring to a new position that may be created as part of the Meadow Homes and Oak Grove SIGs?

    JC: It’s possible there was no job posting for the Oak Grove vice principal because it wasn’t approved by the board until last night as a newly created position. Based on what I have been hearing since my Oak Grove story was published, it is also a sorely needed position. I have heard from two other substitutes who corroborated everything said by Monk and Richter. They said the administration is not supportive of teachers, does not enforce anti-bullying, rejects requests for suspensions, sometimes doesn’t appear to follow-up on reports of bullying, and blames teachers for making too many support calls or reaching out to parents when administrators fail to intervene.

  12. Anon Says:

    According to what parents have been told at YV, Brothers is going to YV.

  13. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I had heard that rumor, but had not heard that it was announced anywhere yet. I don’t believe that would need to be approved by the board, since that would be a lateral move. I’ll ask if it’s official.

  14. Doctor J Says:

    @11, My recollection is that Patt Hoellwarth retired last year at this time, and came back as a retired annuitant about 2/3 time.

  15. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The staff report says the position is “vacant”: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=5510&mtgId=367

  16. Doctor J Says:

    WARNING: Brown Act Violation, once again. BAC Agenda not posted in compliance with Brown Act and AB 1344 72 hours in advance.

  17. Doctor J Says:

    @#15 Staff report says: “The incumbent in this position accepted another position within the District.” Who accepted another position in the district and what position ?

  18. Doctor J Says:

    Patt Hoellwarth retirement was on the May 10, 2011 Board Agenda. http://esb.mdusd.k12.ca.us/attachments/96d5be2e-4d49-4603-aecf-f6a081ddf830.pdf

  19. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Hmm, I’ll have to ask about that.

  20. g Says:

    No Agenda yet for 2002 Measure C or 2010 Measure C.

  21. Doctor J Says:

    @G, I saw this earlier this morning for 2010 Meas C. Pretty pathetic for an agenda. http://www.mdusd.org/Lists/UpcomingEvents/Attachments/227/06-21-12.pdf

  22. g Says:

    Thanks Dr. J: I wonder how hard would it be to list the two meetings under “Agenda”?

  23. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a blog post with the agenda, in case anyone wants to comment on the upcoming meeting: http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2012/06/19/mdusd-bond-oversight-committee-meeting-thursday/

  24. Fly on the Wall Says:

    Funny how heads roll: Oak Grove VP didn’t even know she was leaving until she heard it from the teachers. Targeted IMC tech at MDHS was told last week that she wouldn’t be returning next year to the school.

  25. Theresa Harrington Says:

    According to the Oak Grove website, there is no vp: http://oakgrove.mdusd.org/admin
    It lists two Student Services Coordinators: Veronica Picazo and Lorena Soto. Are you referring to one of them?

    I heard a complaint from a former sub regarding one of them yesterday, in response to my Oak Grove story and blog post.

  26. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s my story about the meeting: http://bit.ly/Mdw8dD

  27. Theresa Harrington Says:

    In an e-mail, Julie Braun-Martin says the school support administrator is replacing the vacant coaching position created when Lorie O’Brien was promoted to Assistant Director of Categoricals and School Support “a few months ago.”

    She also confirmed that Sue Brothers will be the new YVHS principal.

    Regarding other reassignments, she wrote: “We are in the process of confirming assignments with the Board. Following that we will send an announcement to the sites regarding any appointments made for the schools.”

  28. g Says:

    It’s funny how politics lives and breathes in the district. They couldn’t very well give Toiletgate McClatchy a promotion this year; but they had to find a place for Brothers.

    Morones benefits from locked toilets.

    The shock value alone, moving from CV to YV, should be enough to make Brothers wet her boxers while she waits in line for her turn at Dent.

  29. Doctor J Says:

    ROFLOL. Lorie O’Brien “a few months ago” ! How about August 2011 ! Since they hired Patt back at 2/3 time as a retired annuitant, there must be some financial shell game of Patt’s salary being excluded from what SASS really costs the district.

  30. Doctor J Says:

    Does Charla Hernandez really know how much of a pay cut she is taking to come to MDUSD ? And why ? Edjoin has had listed since June 12 the “Elementary Principal Pool” for the THIRD time in recent months, this time with NO END DATE !! MDUSD can’t fill all of its Elem Principals. Soon they will go back and look at “rejected candidates”. What a shame !

  31. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It’s still a little unclear to me whether all assignments will go before the board.
    Obviously, the board has not approved the assignment of Brothers to YVHS.
    Yet, Braun-Martin said she was “confirming” assignments with the board.
    Does this mean they’re being “confirmed” privately?

  32. Doctor J Says:

    @#31 Talk about a blatant Brown Act violation !!!! Where are you Mr. Peterson about these blatant Brown Act violations ?

  33. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Or, they may recruit more secondary vice principals, since they appear to be having some success at that.

  34. Theresa Harrington Says:

    As I have previously mentioned, Lawrence has the authority to move principals from one site to another without confirming those appointments with the board. But, that’s not what Braun-Martin said was happening.

  35. Doctor J Says:

    Take a look at the pay scales vs. the work loads of a “secondary vice-principal” vs. an “elementary principal” some of which have over 700 students and no vice-principal, like Delta View. Sometimes the principal is off site 2 or 3 days for “Dent meetings” and compelled in “every little thing” by SASS. One has to wonder how in fact those principals can really be the “instructional leaders” SASS says they are supposed to be.

  36. Doctor J Says:

    @#34 Who said Lawrence has that authority, he did ? Eberhart doesn’t think that way. Where was Eberhart the other night at the “Special Meeting” ??

  37. Theresa Harrington Says:

    That is what Lawrence has done in the past. And last year, the board authorized him to hire administrators without board approval during the summer break — Eberhart included.

    Regarding alleged Brown Act violations, I have left another message for Mark Peterson today, along with the deputy DA who was conducting the inquiry.

  38. Doctor J Says:

    @#37 But Eberhart didn’t approve of it in 2010, saying he was not willing to relinquish that important function of the Board — perhaps he didn’t like what Lawrence did last year ? Lawrence hasn’t yet asked the Board for that authority for 2012, has he ? And compare the number of of “Supt evaluations” between 2010, 2011 and 2012 and I think you see a pattern of Board discontent, Board micromanaging, and simply Lawrence on his way out the door !

  39. Theresa Harrington Says:

    You’re correct that Lawrence hasn’t yet asked for that authorization this year. Last year, I believe he asked for it at the last meeting in June, so he could fill positions during the board break in July. Perhaps a similar request will show up on the June 25 agenda.

    Braun-Martin has clarified her previous statement, somewhat, in a follow-up email, which says:

    “Board policy allows the Superintendent to make transfer appointments. He can move a principal from one site to another site and inform the Board of those transfers. When employees are holding the same area of responsibility (principal going to another principal position), he can move the location of the assignment.”

    In follow-up, I have asked whether the board will be publicly informed of these transfers. It would be nice if there was a running list attached to the agendas over the summer, showing appointments, so the public could see at a glance who is going where.

  40. Doctor J Says:

    Whitmarsh knew Eberhart wasn’t going to be at the meeting — “Gary will not be joining us for the meeting tonight” she said during roll call with no explanation. Where was he ? I can’t remember the last meeting he missed. That combined with his erasing his email address from the Board website, is highly intriguing. And the “audio” of the meeting is incomplete — Rosemary Woods must be alive and well with an active foot pedal, as all of the public comments are “silent” after Kip was introduced.

  41. Anon Says:

    Eberhart knows he is in trouble, trying to ge the DA to intimidate Hansen has likely uncovered other nefarious acts.

  42. lc Says:

    New elementary principals have been assigned sites this week and calls are going out to the schools’ community to advise them of these changes.

  43. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Teachers could receive their 3 percent bonuses today: http://bit.ly/LH2ji7

  44. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here are appointments announced to school communities last night, according to an email from Julie Braun-Martin:

    “Here are the decisions which were announced to the communities last evening by phone:

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

    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.”

  45. anon Says:

    With MDUSD’s stellar history of utilizing the Peter Principle, perhaps we will see Ms. Jacobs at the Dent Center 😉

  46. Realia Says:

    Anon 45: Given Toiletgate, the no-confidence vote that the district is studiously ignoring, the possible cancellation of facilities promised, referrals and other discipline-related documents not being entered into the ABI database (Look! No discipline problems!), administrators run out, and other shenanigans at MDHS since Kate McClatchy tricked the former principal into trading jobs with her, after she wore out her welcome at Olympic via a no-confidence vote there, I think you mean the Peter Principal, not Principle, is well at work in the district. I’m surprised McClatchy hasn’t been promoted to a cushy Dent Center “job” as a reward for her fealty and imcompetence. Lawrence and Braun Martin, with some help from Rolen, if he isn’t too busy with his personal issues, better get on the ball!

  47. anon Says:

    @Realia,
    It is “principle”, unless of course you are using a play on words! We should officially refer to MDUSD as the ultimate “Peter PrinciPAL” district!!!

  48. Realia Says:

    Trust me, I know what I wrote, and I agree that MDUSD is the ultimate in that regard. And as long as district principals want to be princiPALs with the students, the disciplinary issues written about elsewhere that are finally coming to light will only get worse.

  49. Giorgio C. Says:

    Brown Act violations can be reported to the Grand Jury if this appears to be part of a bigger problem, necessitating some sort of oversight. An occasional lapse in protocol could probably be corrected with a reminder. The Complaint Form is found here
    http://www.cc-courts.org/_data/n_0003/resources/live/grandJuryComplaint.pdf

  50. Doctor J Says:

    Looks like Pleasant Hill Elementary may be rewarded with Gretchen Jacobs. I guess she can add Sun Terrace as a notch on her belt.

  51. Doctor J Says:

    Compare salaries: Charla Hernandez [from Brentwood, avg. Elem Princ salary: $110,540] replaces Sherry Brauer [Base Salary: $84,338]; Other long time MDUSD principals leaving: Nancy Baum [Delta View Base $92,335]; Jennifer Voris [Pleasant Hill Base $91,382] and more recent addition Gretchen Jacobs, awaiting “reassignment” from nearly a two year stint at Sun Terrace [Base $89,981] I keep asking this question, why would Charla Hernandez want to leave Brentwood when there is such a salary discrepency with MDUSD ???

  52. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#44 Pierce to Fair Oaks. By my new count that is TEN Elem Schools with new principals, more than 1/3 of the total ! 5 new appointees, 1 reassigned, and 4 vacancies [Pleasant Hill, Valle Verde, Woodside, Shadelands, with Gretchen Jacobs “available” for reassignment. MDUSD Musical Chairs is alive and well. What happened to Jennifer Vargas at Westwood ?

  53. anon Says:

    Vargas is going to Sunrise/Shadelands

  54. Irene Caban Says:

    I am real shocked to hear that Mrs. Jacobs from Sun Terrace Elementary has “supposibly” taken on another position within the district according to Rose Lock. Im having such a hard time processing all that since the last time I spoke with Gretchen she had no intentions of leaving. Not at her free will. I just don’t get it after all her hard work making amends for all that was wrong and everything seems to be heading in the right direction the district decides to relocate her. Sun Terrace has been through alot recently and we are finally at a good place where everyone seemed to be at peace and now the district will be ripping all that apart by removing Jacobs to bring in a new person. Real smart move ….. this smells like a Steve Lawrence move. Well it stinks and not a very educated move. I think someones brain went on summer vacation along with our kids. The least you could have done was hired Mrs Birnbaum for the position. Hello she has applied for it how many times….dah. It would be the most educated decision to make being that shes done this before and she did an awesome job. But hey what do I know im not a board member who should know what their doing thats why they get raises while teachers get pink slips and who works harder. Go fiqure

  55. Sun Terrace Says:

    Sun Terrace is looking forward to better days. Thanks to all that spoke up and supported Sun Terrace.

  56. Irene Caban Says:

    I think we need to do a major overhaul with our board members. We will keep Cheryl Hansen and maybe Dennler and the rest can go. When making decisions do you guys really put your thought into it or is it only about the dollar? And whatever happened to the district motto “Where kids come first” more like where my wallet comes first and our kids last. What you should have done was send Mrs Jacobs to Mt Diablo High I think she would be awesome there, send McClatchy back to Berkeley or home with Lawrence(great pair), Give Sun Terrace Leanne Cismowski cause she gets stuff done and we know her and Meyers to Cambridge etc. Really you should take lessons from Hansen cause she makes sure she see things from every angle from the inside out and so on. Thats why she knows what she talking about.

  57. Seriously... Says:

    @50 Dr. J…How certain are you that Pleasant Hill Elementary will get Gretchen Jacoobs. PHE is already on the decline.

  58. anon Says:

    Irene,
    The board is not responsible for where the principals end up. That is on Lawrence, Lock, and Braun-Martin. Not sure, but they may be the new Larry, Moe and Curly.

  59. Doctor J Says:

    @Seriously#57 Just speculating. What other “assignment” could Jacobs have landed in the district ? An SASS assignment with her track record ?

  60. blahblah Says:

    Things were coming around at Sun Terrace and now a new principal is coming in. So we start all over again. Too bad. And Dr J you seriously need to get a life.

  61. Nonnie Says:

    Any news about the three schools without principals?

  62. Doctor J Says:

    @Nonnie. They are still advertising for Elementary Principals, which means in the first two postings earlier this year, including the second one in April, they did not get enough qualified candidates to fill all of the vacancies. http://www.edjoin.org/viewPosting.aspx?postingID=425651&countyID=7&onlineApp=1

  63. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Nonnie: At the last board meeting, trustees voted 3-2 to give the superintendent the authority to fill those positions over the summer without board approval: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=5592&mtgId=345

    Eberhart and Hansen voted against this, saying they didn’t want to relinquish their authority over new hires.

  64. Nonnie Says:

    Thanks for the update Dr. J and TH. I’m just frustrated with the process with summer being her and the seemingly lack of qualified applicants.

  65. Doctor J Says:

    @Nonnie#64 Your frustration is well taken — who wants to be a Principal in MDUSD ? Non-title I schools like Delta View have over 700 students and no vice-principal. You have a dictator superintendent with a Board run by Eberhart’s micromanaging. You have SASS trying to make every school a “cookie cutter” with Board math, Board language, and test, test, test, test. Then look at the salaries: I quoted in some previous posts in the last week or so about the average Elementary principal salary in Brentwood being about $114,000 and seasoned retiring principals like Nancy Baum with a base salary of $92,000. When you combine horrible working conditions with poor salary schedule, you end up with the Gretchen Jacobs’ finding refuge in MDUSD. Its the same reason Eberhart laments that MDUSD gets too few Supt applicants compared to other districts: he just can’t realize he is part of that problem. Its sad for the students. Lawrence promised at the end of last year community/parent newletters from him TWICE A MONTH. It was a repeat promise from 2010. He doesn’t keep his promises.

  66. lc Says:

    Doctor J,

    You seem to have a personal vendetta against Gretchen Jacobs.

  67. lc Says:

    I think the phrase “seemingly lack of qualified applicants” is interesting. There are many qualified people within our district who are not being given a chance to show how experience and knowledge in this district could be an asset.

  68. Doctor J Says:

    Another principal opening — and this one wasn’t authorized by the Board to be filled prior to the Aug 13 Board meeting. http://www.edjoin.org/viewPosting.aspx?postingID=434691&countyID=7&onlineApp=1

  69. Doctor J Says:

    @lc#66 Your choice of words is much too harsh — based on her track record in other schools and districts, and nearly two years at Sun Terrace, I don’t think she is a good fit to be an Elementary Principal. But that’s my opinion.

  70. g Says:

    Dr. J: “External only” and Riverview promised? Interesting indeed.

  71. Doctor J Says:

    There is an internal posting too. I just selected one.

  72. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    Help me understand why would it state External Only?

    Then you say there is an internal one? Both for the same position?

  73. Doctor J Says:

    @#72 You can see them from the district website — there are two different processes since internal candidates are already “known”.

  74. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It will be interesting to see if the superintendent attempts to fill this position without board approval. I believe he attempted to fill another position last year that wasn’t on the list approved by the board.

  75. Theresa Harrington Says:

    lc: When you say people within the district “are not being given a chance to show how experience and knowledge in this district could be an asset,” do you mean they are applying and not being hired, or aren’t being given the training necessary to advance?
    Certainly some are being given a chance to advance, such as Bill Morones, Lianne Cismowski and David Ramirez.

  76. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#74 Better print the page of the agenda that shows the motion to ONLY approve the positions on the attachment [print that too] because it is likely to get modified to meet his needs based on past performance. So what happened to Christine Huajardo ?

  77. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Good question. A google search brings up her new principal’s message from 2010: http://rms-mdusd-ca.schoolloop.com/cms/news_item?d=x&id=1281197423520&group_id=1281197423491&return_url=1285424094235

    Regarding ONLY appointing those positions, I recall it said that last year too, but I believe another appointment was made anyway.

  78. ST Says:

    Gretchen Jacobs has been assigned to the CARES After School Program. She will partner with Terry. The two of them already have tention as Jacobs treated the CARES staff at Sun Terrace badly. It will be interesting to see how well they work together.

  79. lc Says:

    Christine is going to San Ramon.

  80. lc Says:

    Theresa: I’m saying they are applying and not being hired. I agree a few have been hired, but there are more out of district hires than within our district.

    Dr. J. My words may have been a bit harsh and I know others share “your opinion.”

  81. Doctor J Says:

    Published June 27, 2012 http://srvusd.ca.schoolloop.com/news/view?id=1338041179289

  82. Flippin Tired Says:

    SRVUSD: Principal at Live Oak is Nadine Rosenzweig – wasn’t she an administrator in MDUSD? I know the vice principal at Coyote Creek was a teacher here. How many other great staff members have we lost to SRVUSD?

  83. anonadad Says:

    @Flippin Tired #81: we’ll continue to lose administrators and teachers to SRVUSD and other districts because this superintendent, eberhart, and rolen have no respect for any employee in MDUSD; they’re only about their own agendas (no pun intended). I would challenge all three of them to put in just 2 consecutive hours a month as a school secretary, office manager, teacher, custodian or site principal each month and experience the overwhelming expectations in each of these positions. With site principals leaving in droves, is this not a direct reflection on the lack of leadership from lawrence and his two cronies? The strength of MDUSD has always been its commitment to respecting ALL employees. The morale in this district has never been lower. And one of the reasons there is an exodus of site principals is that they happen to care about the employees with whom they work. The results of the API scores for 2012 will be very telling; when morale is down, scores go down.

  84. Doctor J Says:

    @Anonadad, very well said and so true. The exploitation of the “workers” is outrageous. I am surprised the unions haven’t stood their ground more.

  85. Irene Caban Says:

    I need to step in on behalf of Gretchen Jacobs being that everyone seem to be bashing her. I worked with her on site council, the advisory committee and on a daily basis. She was a great principal at Sun Terrace and has gotten our school several grants which is GREAT! Thanks to Gretchen my monday mornings are no longer a battlefield for my family. My 2nd grader was being bullied and come mondays would throw the biggiest fits and I mean fits. Now let me say one that about this child of mine when he wants to argue theres no other way out of it except his way….even if he is wrong he will argue period. So my mondays we all dreaded. This went on for several months until I could not take no more so I spoke to Mrs Jacobs. By the end of that day my child was loving school again. Whatever she did worked and I owe her big time. Once you make the time to know her shes not a bad person. She has a big heart and really means well. Her people skill sucked but once confronted about that she worked on it and did a great job. Once confronted with all of the issues that everyone had with her she made all the effort to correct it and I want to say she did it. Thats why I was shocked to hear that she was being replaced. Im gonna miss her and I wish her the best.

  86. Doctor J Says:

    @Irene#84 I’m not saying she’s a bad person, but when you look at the fiascos at the school — numbers of subs in 1st grade, lack of direction, etc. one doesn’t see the leadership required of a principal, and her tenure at Sun Terrace mirrors her prior track record in other schools and districts. Were parents given any input by Lawrence into who the new principal would be ? Do we have “confirmation” on Jacobs new assignment ?

  87. Doctor J Says:

    @Irene#84, I should add that Jacobs may be a victim of the smoke and mirrors of SASS that they have assigned “successful” former principals to be the “coaches” of current principals. If that is the case, the SASS coach for Jacobs, Susan Hukkanen [wife of former Asst. Supt. in MDUSD Roger Bylund] , failed to alert her superior, Rose Lock, about the problems at Sun Terrace, and left the children hanging without good instructional support.

  88. Theresa Harrington Says:

    FT: Yes, Rosenzweig was a very well-respected principal at Valley View MS in Pleasant Hill. Also, Jonathan Eagan, former principal of Glenbrook MS, is an elementary principal in the Martinez district.

    lc: Are you referring to teachers who are seeking promotions? Do you think the elimination of elementary vice principals could play into this? If those positions still existed, they would provide an opportunity for teachers to step up gradually into administration, under the guidance of a principal (which is what happens at middle and high schools).
    Perhaps that’s why the district is tapping middle school vice principals to become elementary principals.
    If you are referring to teachers, do you think they are ready to take on all the duties of an elementary principal without ever holding any other administrative position?

  89. lc Says:

    TH: I DO believe that if we had VPs in our district at the elementary level that many more in district people would be hired for those positions and gain experience working with a principal. At some sites, there are teachers-in-charge; and teachers who in a variety of ways help and support principals, gaining a lot of experience just not in an official capacity.

    Since our district does not have those positions, and they now have the SASS departments, it seems some of those teachers should get a chance at the princpal job with support from a SASS coach.

    It is frustrating for teachers who have been at sites for a long time, have assisted in a wide variety of areas; have the respect of the staff and parents, to see people from out of district who we really know very little about, come in and take those positions.

    As Irene mentioned in a former posting, there was a person like that at ST. Someone also asked if the district people came out to the new schools getting principals to ask what they were looking for. Often times, they already have candidates in mind and listen, but to not hear, what the school community truly wants. This happened at ST and has happened at other schools as well.This is not an easy process and I understand that.

    Regarding vice principals, there should be vice principals at all elementary schools. There is a need for this at EVERY school. Many of the complaints regarding discipline would be lessened if there was more support at each site. .

  90. brenda aaron Says:

    #87: This exactly what happened at Sun Terrace with Ms. Jacobs, she is a GOOD PERSON with a caring heart, but POOR people and leadership skills, and a very dominant personality, she does not display a kind and gentle spirit. More of a bootcamp approach.

    I hold accountable the persons who made the decision to place her at Sun Terrace, for she has a track record and somehow, someone thought that she would be a good match for this school enviroment. WRONG!

    #85: The time and effort that you are spending on an ADULT who knows BETTER and does not do BETTER is the example that I am talking about. You have greater compassion for an ADULT who is being held accountable to the parents that she SERVES, than the children who are suppose to being TAUGHT.

    WE lead by example, you would expell or suspend a child for bad behavior. You would talk to the child and parents to correct the behavior…
    It was her RESPONSIBILITY to adddress the concerns of both staff and parents, she is not a CHILD!

    Keep making excuses for ADULT BEHAVIOR, but can’t tolerate inappropriate behavior from CHILDREN!

    Hopefully she will make the necessary changes in her professional life and learn that she is not to DICTATE,Dictatorship is out. Democracy is in. that she too makes mistakes and errors, be open to correction, change and growth happen about the same rate. MOVE FORWARD!
    Who counsels the Staff? Looks like another project for MR WOGAN.

  91. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Unlike MDUSD, the Antioch district has made school counselors a funding priority: http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_20958468/antioch-school-district-funds-four-extra-counselors-2012

  92. Been Down That Road.... Says:

    Interestingly, the new CVCHS has also made school counselors a priority. In fact, they have now hired a full-time psychologist, TWO full-time counselors who will actually be able to advise the students on course placements and choices, college prep and career advice, and a Dean of Students who will have primary responsibility for the discipline on campus (along with an in-house suspension instead of sending students home for a “mini-vacation”). All of these positions will work with the Director of Students Services. Additionally, there is a Director of Operations and Special Education and a Director of Curriculum and Instruction. These three Director positions are reporting directly to the Executive Director, Dave Linzey. None of that sounds like “business as usual” over there…I predict a very interesting year.

  93. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I wonder how the new CVCHS team would handle the incident described by Kipp Penovich.

  94. Doctor J Says:

    How many weeks does it take Julie Braun-Martin to “in the process of confirming her [Gretchen Jacobs] assignment” ? Gretchen Jacobs contract expired June 30, has it been renewed for another year ?

  95. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is a link to the video of Trustee Cheryl Hansen explaining why she believes it’s important to be transparent regarding revisions to agenda documents, including the bond resolution, followed by Board President Sherry Whitmarsh stating that she didn’t receive a single email about that: http://youtu.be/rl0kieuPK4M

  96. Curious Says:

    Do administrators have to receive a pink slip like teachers do if the district does not want to rehire them?

  97. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Now that the $150 million in bonds has been sold and the cost of issuance has been paid, it looks like the district’s projections related to property assessments that will pay for the bonds may have been too rosy, which could boost the cost above the promised $89 per $100,000 in assessed value.

    Property tax information released by Gus Kramer today shows that property taxes for 2012-13 will drop by the following percentages in MDUSD cities:
    Clayton – 4.06
    Concord – 4.62
    Martinez – 1.52
    Pittsburg – 0.90
    Pleasant Hill – 2.34
    Walnut Creek – 0.74.

    MDUSD’s “plan of finance” for the bonds showed a projected drop of 1.19 percent in 2012, flat assessments in 2013, 2 percent growth in 2014-15, then 4 percent annual growth from 2016-2040.

  98. curious Says:

    Where did the admin staff of Clayton Valley High School go?

  99. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Sue Brothers is the new principal of Ygnacio Valley HS and Jose Espinoza is a new vp there: http://yvhs-mdusd-ca.schoolloop.com/cms/page_view?d=x&piid=&vpid=1309422182233
    I don’t know where the rest of the former CVHS administrative staff has gone.

    I have also heard that a math teacher went to Concord High and a drama teacher went to Northgate HS. The former Northgate HS drama teacher will teach English next year, she recently announced.

    The YVHS website appears to have a new look. The school is seeking suggestions from the community about how to make the campus safer: http://yvhs-mdusd-ca.schoolloop.com/

  100. Doctor J Says:

    The YVHS new website says “Posted by Sue Brothers 6/7/2012″

  101. Theresa Harrington Says:

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

  102. Doctor J Says:

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

  103. Anon Says:

    Anyone hear who will fill Mildred Browne’s spot?

  104. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The position does not appear to have been posted, but the assistant director position is open: http://www.edjoin.org/jobDescriptions.aspx?jobType=Certificated&districtID=92

  105. 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: http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2012/07/06/john-swett-superintendent-shares-his-educational-philosophy-which-includes-discipline-and-accountability/

  106. 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?

  107. lc Says:

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

  108. 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.

  109. 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.

  110. 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?

    http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_21027236/la-schools-superintendent-shakes-up-district

  111. 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!

    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/mar/27/local/la-me-0327-lausd-20110327

  112. Theresa Harrington Says:

    According to this board agenda item, the district should also be filling a vp position at Foothill MS: http://esb.mdusd.k12.ca.us/attachments/f3629fba-3466-43c2-85f7-8cb1224f04f5.pdf

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