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Principal of Northgate High in Walnut Creek resigns

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, June 30th, 2014 at 12:56 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Walnut Creek.

I have received the following message from the Northgate HS Parent Faculty Club in Walnut Creek from Principal John McMorris, announcing his resignation.

“Dear Northgate Community,

It is with great regret that I announce to you that I have resigned as principal of Northgate High School.

For six years, it has been my biggest honor and highest accomplishment to be your principal. Together, we have moved Northgate forward and created a strong, collaborative and supportive community between all the stakeholders of our school. We have transformed Northgate into a school that we can all be proud of — Bronco spirit pervades our community; test scores are up; AP classes have increased; football lights shine and a pool is being built; dedicated teachers have been empowered to create dynamic and collaborative professional learning communities; WASC commended us for our outstanding leadership and direction; our athletes perform at the highest levels; our performing arts continue to win awards and recognition; and our students are learning at high levels and are committed and involved in their school. We have a lot to be proud of.

There is still work to be done, and I am confident that the collaboration between students, teachers, staff, administrators and parents will continue to build on our past successes. I know you will continue to fight for the best education for all of the Northgate students.

I have too many people to thank to name them all here. And, frankly, every parent, student, and staff member who has walked through those doors over the last 6 years has helped make Northgate a better place, and I am forever indebted to everyone’s hard work, dedication, and support.

As I have said over the past six years, Northgate has the best students I have ever had the privilege to work with. I leave with countless memories of these amazing students. Your children give me great hope for our future!

It has been a great six years to be a Bronco!

Most sincerely,

John McMorris”

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  • k. saint

    What is the reasoning behind the abrupt announcement? There is remorse in the Principal’s voice.

  • Hell Freezing Over

    He states he has resigned as principal of NGHS but doesn’t state that he has left MDUSD. Does he still work for MDUSD?

  • Jim

    Regardless of the controversy over MUN, let’s be clear about one thing: Mr. McMorris was head-and-shoulders above his predecessor. We can theorize about who the absolutely perfect principal might be, or might have been, but here’s what we actually saw: a meek, indifferent, unmotivated, go-along-to-get-along individual replaced (after years of deterioration at the school) with someone who had high standards,who reached out to involve parents and students, who was committed 24/7 to the school, who tried to improve hiring standards, who tried to drag the school’s technology and processes at least kind of into the 21st Century, and who did many more things that can’t all be listed here. There was simply NO comparison between his predecessor and the leadership McMorris provided. Now the Northgate community is back in the hands of Dent, and as they know from past experience, ANYTHING can happen with that crowd. The students, the property values, the community — none of it matters. MDUSD can pull it all down again.

  • Doctor J

    OMG, carte blanc authority to Nellie isn’t enough ? Special Board Meeting on July 14. Must have been some Brown act complaints filed to cure and correct.

  • Northgater

    McMorris’s resignation is unfortunate but necessary. He accomplished many good things at Northgate H S. McMorris was lured to “folllow the money” raised/donated by the Northgate Pride Foundation/Tim Jochner to construct sports venues at Northgate. In the end McMorris acted unethically “shot himself in the foot” using “bullets” supplies by the Parent Faculty Club in an equally unethical act. A terrible example for our students. Unfortuneatly this will be his legacy here.

  • Doctor J

    The ghost of Christopher Nugent now haunts Nellie’s carte Blanche appointment authority. Nellie’s compadre at San Diego Unified who left the district has taken most of the available talent from SDUSD already. He struck while the iron was hot while Nellie was massaging the egos of Julie B-M and Rose Lock. How is Nellie going to make significant changes using the same old people who have resisted change ?

  • Doctor J

    why is Julie B-M still sending emails as the Asst Supt Personnel as of yesterday, July 7 ? that position was eliminated on June 30. Theresa, ask for the email. they are desperate for Oak Grove and Northgate !!

  • Doctor J

    Panic has set in at Dent. Nellie is feeling misled by long time staff at Dent now that Julie and Rose are enshrined. Major positions posted just in the last week — a day late and dollar short. Posted July 7: Asst. Supt; Exec Dir Instr Support. posted July 3: Chief Accountant; Posted July 2: Principals for Northgate HS and Oak Grove MS. Posted July 1: Director Personnel Services. what happened to L iOS Peterson ? Is Julie the Asst Supt of Personnel or Elementary ?

  • tmharrington

    Meanwhile, the neighboring Acalanes district plans to name a new associate principal tomorrow: http://www.boarddocs.com/ca/auhsd/Board.nsf/Public#

  • tmharrington

    Thanks for the heads up on the July 14 special meeting, which doesn’t show up on the district’s home page: http://www.mdusd.org/boe/Pages/boe-sam.aspx

  • tmharrington

    Questions are also arising about the addition of Home and Hospital teachers to MDEA under the new agreement: http://www.ourmdea.org/uploads/2/7/2/2/2722776/summary_of_contract_changes.pdf

    According to a caller, no one told the home and hospital teachers about this or asked whether they wanted to be covered by MDEA. And now that this appears to be a done deal, no one appears to be willing to answer questions about what this will mean for them.

  • Doctor J

    Shady dealings by MDEA and Assoc. Gen Counsel Crooksey and Julie B-M. The tent. Agreement dated 3-3-14 was approved by the MDUSD on March 26. Substantial revisions were made without public sunshining and approved only by Cooksey and B-M despite several board meetings in June — everything was kept secret from the public. Now are they going to try and keep it secret by holding a Special Meeting and hold back the agenda. There must be some federal and state laws requiring that the Home and school teachers along with the Transitional Kindergarten teachers have to vote to join the union since they were not previously required to join MDEA.

  • Doctor J

    Theresa, has a Public Hearing notice been published in the CCT for the July 14 meeting ? How are they going to post at all schools since they are closed and not accessible to the public ? Note that the salary impact numbers published for the March 26 meeting don’t match the numbers posted for the recent budget adoption don’t match. I wonder if COE already picked up on that ?

  • Doctor J

    Good help at high salaries is hard to find . Aug 13 Board Meeting. Start time 7:30 pm. End time 7:30 pm. LOL. http://www.mdusd.org/Lists/UpcomingEvents/DispForm.aspx?ID=403&RootFolder=%2FLists%2FUpcomingEvents

  • Tk

    This seems nit picky and petty. You certainly have a ton of inside information and experience with the district, as well as a major bone to pick with it. Why don’t you walk into the Dent and just ask the supt. some of these questions and let us know what happens? It might be more productive than what’s happening here.

  • g. de la verdad

    On 6/30 Barbara announced that they had completed ‘writing’ the Supt’s evaluation, and on 7/14 the only reason given for calling a special session would be to ‘sign’ the evaluation. We’ll see….
    You can bet the board did not catch the discrepancies in salary impacts or other budget discrepancies any more than they caught (or announced) changes to MDEA final contracts. The raises given retroactively to ALL employees will cover Home & Hospital membership dues, and MDEA will simply have more funds to pay for play in the politics arena.

  • g. de la verdad

    If you don’t pick the nits, they tend to grow and spread out of control — especially those at Dent…. Do you really think answers one gets ‘over the counter’ are more credible than what is said in a public meeting, or published for permanent records? I haven’t found that to be the case.

  • Doctor J

    Willie Mims blasted MDUSD’s LCAP before the State Board of Education. Willie I wish you had more time !!

  • tmharrington

    Or you would think they would at least need to be informed that they were going to be required to join the union. The caller said NO official notification has been given and some may not find out until they see the dues subtracted from their paychecks.

  • tmharrington

    Ah, but there seems to be some question about whether the home and hospital teachers will get the retroactive raise, since they apparently won’t be members of the union until the new school year begins.

  • Doctor J

    Illegal to subtract dues without written consent. Sounds like a NLRB complaint ready to happen. And Scoenke says the lawsuits “just happen” ?? Are you kidding me ? They come from poor choices by administrators.

  • g. de la verdad

    But didn’t the board approve “me-too” raises for all employees ‘not’ covered by any bargaining unit, on May 14? I know they listed some certain employees, but maybe others were covered without being named. Hmmm. I wonder.

  • Doctor J

    It was meant for Julie And Rose who were not feeling valued and already spent the raises on their vacations. Clearly the Board would be included in that and their raises would be illegal. All other employees have a right to hang their hat. Once again, shady dealings bring unintended consequences. You know home and hospital just might want the Teamsters ? :-)

  • g. de la verdad

    Are you saying Asst. Supt’s will no longer have separate contracts as they have in the past? No board vote on whether or not they want to renew those critical positions?

  • J Lo

    With all the conspiracy theories, conjecture and plain old rumor mongering around the motive for the July 14 Special Board Meeting, we are left with yet another empty expectation. Why has Dr. J been off their game the last few months?

  • tmharrington

    The special meeting is for the superintendent’s evaluation: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_agendaview.aspx?mtgId=473

  • Doctor J

    @g, Looks like Barbara’s statement of “completing” the evaluation wasn’t accurate: Here is what she has posted as Board President for the agenda. “The Superintendent’s Evaluation was an agenda item for the June 25, 2014, Closed Session Meeting. It was determined at that time, additional time would be needed to complete the Evaluation. Members of the Board of Education and the Superintendent met in Special Closed Session at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, June 30, 2014. It was determined that one additional Special Closed Session would be required to conclude the evaluation. An additional Special Closed Session Board Meeting has been scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Monday, July 14, 2014. It is anticipated the Superintendent’s Evaluation will be completed at that time.” odd that it starts at 2:30 pm. I thought it previously said 7:30 pm. Isn’t Brian Lawrence working then ? I noticed he has missed several of N Ellie’s recent evaluations.

  • J Lo

    Your post isn’t what I would call breaking news, are such irrelevant quips the nexus of your posts?

  • Doctor J

    The thought caught my attention that perhaps re-opening Nellie’s evaluation is a way to have a secret discussion of her proposed appointments and Big John’s sudden resignation, which in my opinion would be illegal under the Brown Act.

  • Doctor J

    Caught red handed, MDEA has taken down the signed, initialed and dated contracts approved by the MDEA membership and voted on by the MDUSD Board in light of further changes made after the votes, but neither approved. Y the MDEA membership or MDUSD Board.

  • J Lo

    LOL! Re-opening? They were never officially closed. As paranoid and erratic as your behavior is, we can only hope that you are as far away from the classroom and children as possible.

  • Doctor J

    Bryan Richards hired as Chief Business official in Newark Unified.

  • Doctor J

    Current Paradise Unified SD Superintendent Roger Byland and former Asst. Supt in MDUSD issued as a principal a 2002 letter of reprimand against Joseph Martin that has disappeared. Testimony also focused on MDUSD attorney Deborah Cooksey’ dragging her feet in supplying information to the police. It also appears the police and DA investigated both Roger Byland’s and Jennifer Bernard Sachs’ failure to file mandated reports on Martin. http://www.contracostatimes.com/walnut-creek/ci_26155397/concord-teacher-trial-molesting-students-had-been-reprimanded

  • Lola

    *Keygent financial adviser Tony Hsieh* said recent weak real estate market??!! Is he on crack?

  • tmharrington

    Just to put this comment in context, I believe you are referring to my blog post about the Acalanes school board’s 2008 promise to voters that their tax rates would not increase if they approved $93 million in new Measure E construction bonds, which was based on Hsieh’s recommendation that the board could reasonably expect assessed valuation to grow by 5.75 percent a year: http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2014/06/27/acalanes-district-residents-seek-transparency-and-accountability-in-bond-measures-broken-promise/

  • tmharrington

    FYI, the Pleasant Hill Education Commission will again discuss the Northgate Proposal on Wednesday: http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2014/06/27/acalanes-district-residents-seek-transparency-and-accountability-in-bond-measures-broken-promise/

    Those who live in Pleasant Hill may also be interested to know that there appear to be plans to merge the Foundation for Pleasant Hill Education and the Pleasant Hill Education Initiative.

  • tmharrington

    Here’s a follow-up story on the Acalanes district’s decision to seek court validation to issue $15 million in bonds, exceeding the promised tax rate: http://www.contracostatimes.com/lafayette/ci_26162494/acalanes-district-seeks-validate-bond-issuance-exceeding-promised

  • tmharrington

    MDUSD will hold a meeting for Northgate HS parents to receive input regarding the new principal search at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the school library.

  • Doctor J

    Unprepared ! Less than 30 days until new teacher orientation and Nellie is still two principals short, and 8 Vice-Principals short. Not to mention other district positions still un-filled. she calls this a “plan” ?