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Mt. Diablo school board to appoint more administrators, vote on sports banners

By Theresa Harrington
At a special board meeting Thursday, the Mt. Diablo school board expects to appoint more site administrators and to approve a banner policy that would help raise money for after-school sports.
In addition, Superintendent Steven Lawrence is seeking authorization to make administrative appointments during the summer, when the board is on its break. These appointments would be officially approved by trustees in August.
It is impossible to know which administrators will be appointed by looking at the board agenda. It merely states that “interviews have been conducted and candidates have been selected to fill school site administrator positions.”
At the June 22 meeting, the board made the following school site administrator appointments:
PRINCIPALS:
Ayers Elementary, Concord: Spoogmai Habibi (former curriculum specialist)
Hidden Valley Elementary, Martinez: Sandy Bruketta (former curriculum specialist)
Mt. Diablo High School, Concord: Kate McClatchy (former administrator at Olympic High in Concord)
Riverview Middle School, Bay Point: Christine Huajardo (promoted from vice principal of Riverview MS)
Valle Verde Elementary, Walnut Creek: Rhys Miller (former program specialist in curriculum and instruction)
Wren Avenue Elementary, Concord: Cynthia Goin (former Strandwood Elem. principal, returning from leave)
SITE ADMINISTRATORS:
Meadow Homes Elementary program specialist, Concord: Diane Sargent (former curriculum specialist)
Mt. Diablo High School vice principal, Concord: Lianne Cisnowski (former Olympic HS teacher)
Northgate High School vice principal, Walnut Creek: Linda Hayes (promoted from student services coord.)
Olympic Continuation High School administrator, Concord: Cheryl LeBoef (former Mt. Diablo HS principal)
Olympic/Alliance high school vice principal, Concord: Katie Gaines (former Alternative Education director)
Riverview Middle School vice principal, Concord: Ean Ainsworth (already vice principal at Riverview)
Although the agenda attachment listed 25 positions to be voted on, the board didn’t vote on these two principal positions, which Superintendent Steven Lawrence announced during his June 15 report:
Bel Air Elementary, Bay Point: Nancy Klinkner (former principal at Highlands Elementary in Concord)
Delta View Elementary, Bay Point: Nancy Baum (former principal at Ayers Elementary in Concord)
The board also didn’t vote June 22 on the administrative positions listed below, even though they were in the agenda attachment. The board approved these appointments May 11 and June 15:
DISTRICT OFFICE ADMINISTRATORS:
Assistant superintendent of personnel services: Julie Braun Martin (former personnel director)
Director of Personnel: Melinda Hall (former director of Curriculum and Instruction)
Assistant Superintendent, Student Achievement, Support: Rose Lock (former assist. supt. for elem. education)
Director, Elementary Support: Susan Petersen (former principal of Delta View Elementary)
Director, Seconday Support: Denise Rugani (former principal of Riverview Elementary)
Assistant Director of Categoricals and School Support: Jennifer Sachs (former assist. dir. of Curriculum & Instruction)
Principal Coach and school support: Patt Hoellwarth (former principal of Monte Gardens Elementary)
Principal Coach and school support: Lorie O’Brien (former principal of Hidden Valley Elementary)
Principal Coach and school support: Hellena Postrk (former principal of Sequoia Middle School)
Principal Coach and school support: Susan Hukkanen (former Curriculum and Instruction administrator)
Administrator, English learners, Student Support: Carmen Graces (former Curriculum and Instruction administrator)
Lawrence said June 22 that he anticipated the need for special board meetings to fill other positions. But at the July 1 meeting, he will ask to make these appointments without calling special board meetings.
“In order to assure there is adequate staffing for the opening of school, the superintendent requests authority to appoint candidates to positions, including administrative positions, during the summer months when there are no board meetings,” the staff report states. “Any such appointments will be brought to the board in August.”
Based on moves or announcements that have already been made, here are other openings I anticipate:
Highlands Elementary Principal, Concord:
Monte Gardens Elementary Principal, Concord:
Mt. Diablo Elementary, Clayton:
Northgate High School student services coordinator, Walnut Creek:
Riverview Middle School vice principal, Bay Point:
Sequioa Middle School Principal, Pleasant Hill:
Shore Acres Elementary Principal, Bay Point:
Two Mt. Diablo High School teachers voiced concerns June 22 about the administrative shuffle taking place during the summer, saying their staff was given no notice of the changes. Do you think trustees should allow Lawrence to make appointments during the summer, without notifying the public until August?

Posted on Sunday, June 27th, 2010
Under: Concord, Education, Martinez, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington, Walnut Creek | 36 Comments »

Plentiful principal replacements in Mt. Diablo district

By Theresa Harrington
All administrators in the Mt. Diablo school district were given pink slips this year, which means they could be replaced or reassigned at will.
Even though the school year has already ended and many principals have made plans with their staffs for the fall, some are being promoted or reassigned. It’s possible some could lose their jobs, although that won’t be clear until all the decisions for replacements have been finalized.
A few resigned, leaving holes the district had to fill. The board expects to vote on the appointment of 25 administrators Tuesday, including the promotion of five principals to district office administrators, the appointment of eight principals and a continuation high school administrator, and the appointment of four vice principals.
Last Tuesday, the board approved a district office restructuring that includes the principal promotions. Here’s a rundown of those:
Delta View Principal Susan Petersen will become Director of Elementary Support.
Riverview Middle School Principal Denise Rugani will become Director of Secondary Support.
Monte Gardens Elementary Principal Patt Hoellwarth, Hidden Valley Elementary Principal Lorie O’Brien and Sequoia Middle School Principal Hellena Postrk are being promoted to administrative positions as coaches who will support local principals.
In addition, the board appointed Bill Morones as principal of Ygnacio Valley High, replacing retiring Carolyn Plath. Morones is a Danville resident with three children who has worked as principal of Florin High in Sacramento for seven months.
But many other principal moves are in the works.
During the June 15 board meeting, Superintendent Steven Lawrence reported that Highlands Elementary Principal Nancy Klinkner has agreed to move to Bel Air, replacing Tom Carman, who retired. He also said Ayers Elementary Principal Nancy Baum has agreed to take Petersen’s former position at Delta View Elementary in Bay Point. Finally, Lawrence said Cynthia Goin, former principal at Strandwood Elementary, is coming back from a leave to become principal at Wren Avenue Elementary, replacing a retiring administrator.
The board will vote on these and other assignments Tuesday, including the appointment of some other district office administrators. Lawrence has already announced that he plans to move Julie Braun Martin, the current director of personnel, to the assistant superintendent position, replacing Gail Isserman, who is retiring. Lawrence has said he plans to move Melinda Hall, the current director of Curriculum and Instruction, into the personnel director position.
The restructuring also calls for Rose Lock, the current assistant superintendent for elementary education, to become the assistant superintendent of a new Student Achievement and School Support Division. Jennifer Sachs, the current assistant director of Curriculum and Instruction, will become assistant director of the new division, since the Curriculum and Instruction division is being eliminated. Carmen Garces, who is currently an administrator who serves socio-economically disadvantaged students and English language learners in the Curriculum and Instruction department will assume a similar position in the new division.
Here’s the list of appointments to be made, with names filled in, if they’ve already been announced:
PRINCIPALS:
Ayers Elementary, Concord:
Bel Air Elementary, Bay Point: Nancy Klinkner
Delta View Elementary, Bay Point: Nancy Baum
Hidden Valley Elementary, Martinez:
Mt. Diablo High School, Concord:
Riverview Middle School, Bay Point:
Valle Verde Elementary, Walnut Creek:
Wren Avenue Elementary, Concord: Cynthia Goin
SITE ADMINISTRATORS:
Meadow Homes Elementary program specialist, Concord:
Mt. Diablo High School vice principal, Concord:
Northgate High School vice principal, Walnut Creek:
Olympic Continuation High School administrator, Concord:
Olympic/Alliance high school vice principal, Concord:
Riverview Middle School vice principal, Concord:
DISTRICT OFFICE ADMINISTRATORS:
Assistant superintendent of personnel services: Julie Braun Martin
Director of Personnel: Melinda Hall
Assistant Superintendent, Student Achievement, Support: Rose Lock
Director, Elementary Support: Susan Petersen
Director, Seconday Support: Denise Rugani
Assistant Director of Categoricals and School Support: Jennifer Sachs
Principal Coach and school support: Patt Hoellwarth
Principal Coach and school support: Lorie O’Brien
Principal Coach and school support: Hellena Postrk
Principal Coach and school support: Susan Hukkanen
Administrator, English learners, Student Support: Carmen Graces
The district office reorganization eliminated the position of director of alternative education, currently held by Katie Gaines. It also eliminated five other administrative positions and replaced them with the new Student Achievement positions detailed above.
But there are more vacant principal positions that have not yet been filled. Shore Acres Elementary Principal Kari Rees told me she will be replaced as part of that school’s reform efforts, based on its status as one of the district’s six lowest-achieving schools. The principals who are being promoted to positions as district administrators are also leaving behind vacancies.
In addition, I’ve heard that some other principals may not be returning to their campuses next year.
“In an attempt to find the best match for each school, district staff has gathered input from site staff members and parents,” the district’s staff report for administrative assignments states. “For those positions that we feel we have a match, we will announce the person filling the position; otherwise, we will continue to search for qualified candidates.”
Lawrence told parents at Bancroft Elementary in Walnut Creek last week that he had conducted extensive interviews with staff and parents at Valle Verde Elementary regarding the kind of principal they would like, after Principal Carolyn Kreuscher announced she planned to retire. But Bancroft parents did not understand why he did not ask them if they were willing to give up their principal before he decided to transfer Linda Schuler to Valle Verde.
Lawrence pointed out that the principal would leave sometime, most likely by retiring or transferring to another school. In reconsidering his decision, he said he would evaluate whether the time was right for Schuler to leave now.
In the end, Lawrence reversed his decision, based on the meetings with Bancroft staff and parents. But he said Valle Verde was a larger school with a significant population of special education students and that his goal with all transfers was to create a “win-win” situation for the principal and the school, offering a new opportunity to the administrator.
Lawrence explained that the district had a pool of about nine to 12 candidates that he looked at for Bancroft. One parent suggested that Lawrence place the person he had in mind for Bancroft at Valle Verde instead.
“You considered the needs of Valle Verde,” the parent said. “It’s inexcusable that we were not involved in this process from the beginning. There’s no reason to take this principal to another high-performing school in this district. If (the candidate) is good enough for us, she should be good enough for Valle Verde.”
Parents also wanted to know if Schuler wanted to move or if Lawrence told her to move.
“I more asked her to go, based on my request, than asked her (if she wanted to),” Lawrence said. “We had a talk. If you want to define that as being told, then, yes, (she was told).”
Here are the other vacancies I know about, based on moves or announcements that have already been made:
Highlands Elementary Principal, Concord:
Monte Gardens Elementary Principal, Concord:
Sequioa Middle School, Pleasant Hill:
Shore Acres Elementary Principal, Bay Point:
If your child attends one of these schools, have you been asked what kind of principal you and your children would like? How do you feel about getting a new principal in the fall?

Posted on Monday, June 21st, 2010
Under: Bay Point, Concord, Education, Martinez, Mt. Diablo school district, Pleasant Hill, Theresa Harrington, Walnut Creek | 19 Comments »