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Brentwood director of student services hired as new Walnut Grove principal

Appointment comes as union leader complains about teacher slanders

The Pleasanton school board announced the appointment of the new Walnut Grove Elementary principal as Jan Steed at Tuesday night's meeting.

Steed comes from Brentwood Union School District as the director of student services.

An 18-year Pleasanton resident, Steed has two decades of professional education experience including being the assistant director of student services in Fremont Unified School District from 2006- 09, serving under Pleasanton superintendent Parvin Ahmadi.

Steed has served in all grade levels from transitional kindergarten to twelfth grade at schools in San Ramon, San Lorenzo, Alameda and also Poland where she was a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English as a second language.

School board members selected Steed as the permanent replacement for Jon Vranesh, who was removed as Walnut Grove's principal amid controversy last October.

Steed plans to visit the school and meet with staff, parents and teachers before the current school year ends, according to board president Jamie Yee Hintzke.

In other business, representatives from the California School Employees Association and the Association of Pleasanton Teachers were given the opportunity to make comments in the public session.

APT president Peggy Carpenter addressed the board about the April 22 meeting, at which she claimed four teachers' names were slandered during public comment.

"All of those teachers mentioned have impeccable records," Carpenter said in the district boardroom Tuesday night.

Cristina Wetklow, a Hart Middle School math teacher, identified herself as one of the quartet mentioned during the April meeting, and she told the board Tuesday night that she was angry and saddened by the comments.

Wetklow said she was called "incompetent and under-performing," and added that, in reality, she is the "polar opposite."

Patti Eichhorn, parent of students at Hart Middle School and Foothill High, also addressed the board about a recent undisclosed incident involving Hart principal Terry Conde.

"It pains me, it pains a lot of us to see what's going on," Eichhorn added. "The board and district administration need to address the issues to bring this to an end."

Also Tuesday, the board unanimously approved of declaring next week as Classified Employee Week.

Board members and district administration expressed their gratitude for all the classified employees in the school district.

"Often times we don't get to see classified members every day, but they have a huge impact in supporting our students, schools and parents," Ahmadi said. "There's never enough time to thank our employees."

The board also approved a motion to reconsider if the Staggered Literacy Program will continue to be offered to third-graders in the 2014-15 school year.

Other matters discussed at the meeting included reports on the Alameda County Safe Routes to School Program, the Career Technical Education Program and the Tri-Valley Regional Occupational Program and the California state budget for next fiscal year.

There was also a superintendent's report and a student report from Village High School student board member Connor Castaneda-Warren.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for May 27 at 7 p.m. in the district boardroom, 4665 Bernal Ave.

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