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MDUSD extends hours for Tuesday community input meeting regarding superintendent search

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, June 10th, 2013 at 11:01 am in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

The Mt. Diablo school district has extended the hours for its second community input meeting related to its search for a new superintendent. The meeting, previously scheduled from 4:20-5:30 p.m. has been extended to 7 p.m. to allow more people to participate.

Here is the revised public notice:

“PUBLIC NOTICE – Request for Community Input Superintendent Search – REVISED

The Board of Education of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District is conducting a search for a new district superintendent. Community input about the desired characteristics to be used in recruiting and selecting this person is desired. The trustees are soliciting input to respond to the prompt: What personal and professional qualities for an incoming superintendent will be a match for the Mt. Diablo School District?

Michael Escalante and Sally Frazier of Leadership Associates were selected to advise the Board in this important process. They will be in our district on June 6 and 11 to solicit input that will be used to develop the recruitment criteria. Your input about the desired personal and professional qualities anticipated in the incoming superintendent is valued.

Individual input from members of the community (parents, employees and others interested in our district) is desired. To attend and participate in an open forum, where your ideas will be heard and you may hear about the process, no appointment is necessary. The open forum will be held on June 6, 2013 at the Willow Creek Center, 1026 Mohr Lane, Concord 94518, between 4:20 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. On June 11, 2013, it will be held at the Dent Center, 1936 Carlotta Drive, Concord 94519, from 4:20 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

If you are unable to meet personally with the Board’s advisors, you may send a fax to (760) 771-4277 or an email to To speak by phone to either Michael Escalante or Sally Frazier, you may call (760) 771-4277.”

As previously noted, the district is also inviting public input via an online survey at:

Here are the questions on that survey:


The Mt. Diablo Unified School District Governing Board has contracted with Leadership Associates to assist in the recruitment and selection of the District’s next superintendent. This survey will be used to collect input from all stakeholders about the desired characteristics to be used in the selection process.

All input is welcome, so please take a few minutes to complete this survey!


Because experienced applicants can come from different backgrounds, tell us how you would rank the qualifications below.

1. Rank the following in order of desirability from 1 to 5, where 1 = high and 5 = low

Experience in oversight of school district finances, budgets, and business management.

Experience in management of school facilities.

Experience in California public education, either teaching and/or site administration.

Experience as an assistant superintendent or associate superintendent.

Experience as a superintendent in a comparable district.

A proven track record of strong academic achievement for all students, including special needs children, second language learners, and children of poverty.


We would like to know which leadership characteristics matter most to you.

2. Rate characteristics to look for in a superintendent based on their importance to you: Very Important, Important, Somewhat Important, Not Important, or No Opinion

Is a strong instructional leader who will maintain and improve the student achievement gains made in the district.

Will bring the entire community together toward a strong vision of student achievement.

Will place the highest priority on safe environments for students and staff.

Has strong human relations skills and is a “people person.”

Will be accessible to parents and staff.

Holds high standards for consistent discipline in schools.

Will be highly visible at our schools and community events.

Is bilingual in English and Spanish.


What should the next superintendent know about your community and neighborhood schools? Type your responses in the box for each question below.

3. What other desirable professional and personal characteristics would you like to see in the next superintendent?

4. In your opinion, what are some of the outstanding qualities of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District?

5. In your opinion, what are some of the challenges facing the Mt. Diablo Unified School District?


We want to know how the Mt. Diablo Unified School District serves you.

6. My perspective on Mt. Diablo USD comes from being a (check all that apply)

Community Member
Support Staff/Classified Employee
Administrator/Certificated, Classified, or Confidential
Teacher/Certificated Staff
School Volunteer/PTA Member
Business Owner/Operator
Public Official
Other (please specify)

Which of the above items are most important to you?

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68 Responses to “MDUSD extends hours for Tuesday community input meeting regarding superintendent search”

  1. Theresa Harrington Says:

    During the community input session, Victor Gomez said the district should proactively promote from within. After he left, I told Frazier that the district eliminated most elementary vice principals due to budget cuts and has since not appeared to have an effective professional development plan to train motivated teachers to become school site administrators. Instead, the district has transferred district administrators and even a high school administrator into elementary principal positions – or hired from the outside. I am curious whether the 3-year professional development plan Frazier mentioned includes any sort of training for teachers who want to become administrators.

  2. Doctor J Says:

    Agenda is posted.

  3. Anon Says:

    Still no names of the candidates for appointment. Still no photos of Brian Lawrence, Barbara Oaks, or the superintendent on the web page.

  4. Doctor J Says:

    Some interesting agenda items: *Tim Cody seeks carte blanche authority to enter into 25 construction contracts totaling appx. $8,000,000 without prior board review — only ratification. What happens if the Board doesn’t ratify ? *Two new elementary principals *5 specifically named existing litigation cases named. *”Notice of Possible Reassignment” of unnamed public employee listed under heading of “Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release”. *Two new bylaw revisions “Board Bylaw 9000 – Role of the Board” and “Board Bylaw 9200 – Limits of Board Member Authority” — no indications if the revisions are the recommended language of CSBA or MDUSD staff ideas. *Request approval of budget — no attachment as usual. *Move board meeting to Wednesdays — posting of agenda has to occur no later than Sunday late afternoon. * Appointment of Administrator of Equity and Disproportionality — new position paid out of General Fund but no mention of salary range.

  5. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a new blog post showing that the power of the press is alive and well in local schools, including Northgate HS in MDUSD and Hercules Middle-High in WCCUSD:

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Theresa, in the MDUSD “Departments” Link, Bernard is listed as Superintendent, but General Counsel is listed as Greg Rolen and not Jayne Williams. Do you know why, and if the Rolen separation agreement was ever approved?

  7. Doctor J Says:

    @#56 Its back on the closed session agenda for Monday night — stay tuned.

  8. anon Says:

    Very, very surprised they have not corrected the Brian Richards situation. Everyone is in agreement that this person constructively abandoned his job and is – rightly or wrongly – not trusted. I have never heard a reasonable excuse as to why the laptop was used for another district and why it wasn’t given to Berkeley to “clean” prior to Richards “losing” it. He is simply not a manager, has the need to be surrounded by an overpaid team of personal support, and seems to need a consensus for everything. Very, very bizarre but I think he loves meetings. Meetings, meetings, meetings. I think it is attention but the meeting I went to was odd, to say the least. It was like a little tea party with Richards at the head of the table and he had a stuffed animal he clutched called his “drama llama” and asked us if we wanted to hold it and tell our stories. H-E-C-K NO. He has terrible rapport with colleagues and seems to have some personal plan that did not coalesce with running an accounting branch. Some are blaming Richards for everything but old-timers know Personnel has been a mess for some time, before Richards, but he certainly fell in with the dysfunction.

  9. Theresa Harrington Says:

    For those who have been complaining about the Fiscal and Human Resources depts, it looks like the County Office of Education has assistance available. According to the draft minutes for the June 5 County Board meeting, the county Human Resources dept. holds a “labor law consortium” each month “to help Human Resources Administrators keep up to date on all current legal issues and legislation.” Apparently, the current attorney is leaving and districts are being surveyed regarding a new attorney. Also according to the minutes, WCCUSD has contracted with the county to host their financial system. They will “go live” with accts payable and receivable July 1 and will roll out payroll six months later. Given all the problems reported with MDUSD’s payroll system, perhaps the board might consider looking into contracting with the county for these services.

    Although these minutes haven’t yet been posted, they should be available online after the board approves them Wednesday: They are also available by contacting Loreen Joseph at 942-3380 or

  10. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Those interested in ideas for engaging families in student’s education and schools might find this new US Dept. of Ed. partnership interesting:

  11. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Reminder that today is the deadline to submit comments on the Ygnacio Valley HS field improvements EIR:

  12. g Says:

    anon 58— To see how we got into this mess I suggest start looking at who is/was (not) qualified to be in the jobs they have/were given.

    Look at the Who’s Who at the top of the page:

    Read the Supt’s message, and pay careful attention to

    “Besides the fiscal issues, the Fiscal Services Department has undergone major changes.
    During the 2007-08 year the Chief Financial Officer retired, the Director of Budget and Accounting position was eliminated, and the Chief Accountant resigned. The Department has been reorganized. Its supervision has transferred from the Superintendent to the Assistant Superintendent, Administrative Services. Despite these changes, we are prepared
    to present a balanced budget to the Board of Education for 2008, 2009, and 2010.”

    Now, keep in mind that within just a very-very short time, McHenry was gone and Nicoll temporarily moved up, and a ‘construction manager’ (Pedersen) was put in charge of financials and still held the invisable reins of M&O where he continued to groom ‘his’ team!

    Then we got Richards, who didn’t even hold a CA CPA, and he has been allowed to continue Pedersen’s methods; cluster and promote his few friends and other dept. clerks and admin’s into management/lead positions (whether qualified or not—so long as they ‘go along-to get along’ with him. That’s his way of ‘circling his wagons’.

    It’s past time decent management steps up to stop the bleeding of the General fund and the absolute vampirism going on with the Bond funds.

    They need to re-organize and clean house while there is still some money in the bank!

  13. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: Just to fill in the blanks here, after Pedersen left, the board eliminated the position of assist. supt. of administrative services and elevated Richards from Fiscal Director to CFO.

  14. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s the agenda for tonight’s meeting, which includes another reclassification of a secretary to a sr. acct. clerk, two translating contracts including one for CTI, two bid-related consent calendar items with no description of what they are for on the agenda, reports on the role of the board and limits to board members’ authority, action on moving the meeting day, several administrative appointments, a review of the CVCHS facilities agreement for 2013-14, and two lease-leaseback RFQ/RFPs:

    Also, the board should report out whether or not it approves the final settlement agreements with Steven Lawrence and Greg Rolen. And I expect the Interim Superintendent to report on his impressions of district operations during his report.

  15. anon Says:

    Theresa, do you have an understanding of why it has taken so long for the board to vote on approval of the separation agreements?

  16. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Board President Cheryl Hansen previously told me there was a lot of “back and forth,” but that she didn’t expect the agreements to differ substantially from the agreements that were previously placed on the agenda. So, no, I don’t know specifically what the hold up has been. Steven Lawrence and Greg Rolen have not returned my most recent calls and emails seeking comment.

  17. annon Says:

    #62G Hit the nail on the head. Richards has padded himself with overpaid, power-hungry, clerical staff, bestowing “managerial” status to even the clerk who does “position control” which belongs in Personnel. He moved her because she deals with money. Huh? I don’t call changing someone from a secretary at point A to a secretary at point B exactly financial. About $90,000 for a job that pays basic clerical rates at every other district. Nobody minding the mint. Bryan can never answer a question without getting his security blanket – excuse me – managerial staff and doesn’t seem to know as much as was originally thought. I, too, was baffled by the …..stuff. The taxpayers have no responsibility to overpay or provide moral support at about $100,000 a pop. There is a manager for every 2.5 people in Fiscal and it has gotten so bad in the last few years that we have two choices: strip the management down to the walls or outsource. There is no working with this grossly overpaid, top-heavy, crust. These people must think we don’t remember them when they did the same thing for a reasonable salary and title. Get rid of the 6 or so managers for 15 people and get two who know something, will work, and have actual managerial skill. I, too, am not done with the laptop issue. I find it wholly unbelievable and maybe TH can help with this: what is the Berkeley connection and what was their reaction to having this “theft” happen? Hopefully Mr. Richards no longer has access to a laptop without signing it out and producing it each day. Honestly, get your work done at work, and stop putting everybody at risk!

  18. g Says:

    Theresa @ 63, You are correct, and lest we forget, when Pedersen “left” Dent he didn’t really leave his position of strong advisory influence on what essentially became a 3.5 person board of Eberhart, Whitmarsh and Mayo/Dennler (4.5 if we correctly add Rolen/Pedersen-in-disguise).

    Under that 4.5 board configuration, the less-than-qualified new superintendent and accountant were groomed, and a quick-learning Richards was moved up again to CBO. Now on his own, having not been fired when he should have been, his real talents seem to have blossomed right in tandem with his ego.

    Unfortunately, good business office management does not appear be one of those talents.

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