Pleasanton Weekly

News - January 31, 2014

Jon Vranesh appointed 'itinerant principal'

New responsibilities unknown

by Glenn Wohltmann

Former Walnut Grove Principal Jon Vranesh is not out of a job, but it remains unclear what he'll be doing in his new position.

The school board voted last month to hire a new principal at Walnut Grove and left Vranesh on paid leave.

That changed Tuesday night. However, the change in title and responsibilities might have slipped through the cracks if not noticed by Sharrell Michelotti, one of Vranesh's supporters and a family friend. It was in a personnel document and included as part of the board's consent agenda, in which a list of items is voted on as a whole and without discussion. Vranesh's name was listed in the document as a personnel change from K-5 principal to "itinerant principal."

The personnel document, which is only a part of the consent agenda and lists several items, was removed from the consent agenda at the request of Boardmember Valerie Arkin. Arkin voted against approval of the personnel document Tuesday because it included a change in Vranesh's job title.

"We collectively felt, based on the recommendation of Superintendent (Parvin) Ahmadi, that we find a role where he could contribute to the district and be successful," said Boardmember Chris Grant.

Michelotti, who spotted the change in Vranesh's job title, asked the board what that meant.

"It would be helpful to the public to understand what 'itinerant' means," said Michelotti. "This position is a completely new position."

Ahmadi was unable to specify what Vranesh's new responsibilities would be, saying they'd be generally the same as any other principal. His new responsibilities, she said, would include "working with different departments in the district." She could not be reached for additional details.

Bill Faraghan, assistant superintendent of human resources, described the job of an itinerant principal as "doing a variety of tasks in a number of different school sites instead of just one."

Michelotti also questioned how much having an itinerant principal would cost the district.

"What is the fiscal impact of that, and how is it going to play out in the future?" she asked. "It has to affect the finances in the district."

It could not be immediately confirmed if Vranesh would receive the same pay as itinerant principal that he did at Walnut Grove.

Vranesh's attorney, Paul Kondrick, said he was not told Vranesh was up for discussion by the school district.

"We were unaware of any agenda item. We received no notice of the school board agenda," Kondrick said. "We'd always received a written notice under the ed (education) code of any action taken about him."

Kondrick is also unsure of what Vranesh's new job would be.

"I think I've heard of itinerant farmers before," Kondrick said. "I don't think that position existed beforehand."

But, Kondrick said, Vranesh "is going to go there and he's going to do what he's told to do."

Arkin was the lone vote opposing Vranesh's removal as principal of Walnut Grove. He was placed on administrative leave Oct. 25 for alledgedly creating a hostile work environment. Documents obtained by the Pleasanton Weekly indicate complaints against him include that he used expletives referring to female employees and that he created a hostile work environment.

Kondrick has said that Vranesh, under penalty of perjury, has denied those claims.

A permanent replacement for Vranesh has yet to be named at Walnut Grove, although the district posted the new position last month at the request of the board.

Counting Vranesh, seven principals have left the district's 16 schools over the last year, including principals at Walnut Grove, Donlon and Mohr elementary schools, all three high schools, and Pleasanton Middle School.

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