News


School board appoints Dianne Howell as interim HR chief

Interim superintendent discussion continues June 22 at closed session meeting

The Pleasanton school board appointed Dianne Howell as the interim assistant superintendent of human resources, but did not name an interim replacement for outgoing superintendent Parvin Ahmadi during its special meeting Friday morning.

Howell retired as Pleasanton Unified School District's director of human resources in 2011 and had 24 years of service overall in the district. She replaces Bill Faraghan, who will retire this month.

According to board president Valerie Arkin, the board is set to meet again in closed session June 22 at 6 p.m. to continue deliberating on the interim superintendent position.

Ahmadi will leave July 1 to become the new superintendent of the Castro Valley Unified School District.

Trustees met in closed session Tuesday night to consider appointing interim replacements for these positions but no formal action was taken then.

They discussed possible candidates for the position and directed legal counsel to prepare and negotiate contracts. An announcement will be made and contracts will be considered for approval at an upcoming board meeting.

Comments

63 people like this
Posted by Linda Pipe
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:11 am

AWesome choice! Diane Howell is well respected, intelligent, possesses INTEGRITY and knowledgeable. Nicely done, Board of Trustees!


18 people like this
Posted by Thumbs Up
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jun 12, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Awesome choice!!!! She is a well thought out capable educator.


22 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Avignon
on Jun 12, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Relief is all I can say. I deeply appreciate Ms. Howell willingness to offer our district support.


3 people like this
Posted by highdiver
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2015 at 7:32 pm

Ask Doug Adams, the retired Superintendent of the Brentwood School District who lives in Pleasanton if he would be available for this interim position. He certainly has all the experience necessary.


22 people like this
Posted by Kara
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:00 pm

This is great news. She represents a time when PUSD was regarded as a coveted place to work and send your children to school. I hope she brings back some integrity and helps PUSD hire and retain quality people because Parvin drove out many talented principals. I hope Diane Howell reviews some of Parvin's hires. There are some very questionable ones Parvin put in place. I hear the Board is looking at replacing a few of the Ass. Sups and Directors. Thank you Board for making a good decision.


8 people like this
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:08 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

Kara, Pleasanton is STILL regarded as a "coveted place to work and send your kids to school". It may not be perfect, but I am proud to work here and send my kids here. If you don't think it's a coveted place to send your kids to school, then why do you choose to live here? Look at the home prices, they will tell you about the quality of the schools, and you will get a fine price for your home (with multiple offers over asking price) if you choose to sell.


26 people like this
Posted by Eric
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 13, 2015 at 6:00 am

Get the Facts, yes it would be easy to sell our homes for a good profit and high tail it out of here. Many like myself have voted and are hoping for a turn around. With the departure of the Superintendent and others it appears that we are getting on the right track again. It's so easy to say, "you don't like then leave". What takes heart is to stick around and fix it.


16 people like this
Posted by @get the facts
a resident of Beratlis Place
on Jun 13, 2015 at 8:17 am

I too work and live in Pleasanton but PUSD is NOT the coveted place to work. Our troubles are well known. The educational community is small. People have been watching our reputation begin to crack and crumble. And that fact is very sad but we can repair the damage caused.


3 people like this
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2015 at 8:27 am

Get the Facts is a registered user.

Eric, I never said "you don't like then leave", as you suggested I have. As you said, "it's so easy to say that", so I that is why I simply asked Kara why she chooses to live here.

The main point of my post is to state that Pleasanton is still a destination city, with housing prices continuing to rise, and that largely has to do with the schools. For every one person who is upset with the Superintendent or the HR Director or whomever, there are many who feel she is doing a good job, or frankly do not know who she is and have never met her. It may seem, from the posts on these blogs, that there is a majority of people who are upset at the district currently. This is absolutely false. And I would guess (and this is only a guess) that a strong majority of people who post against the superintendent live in the Walnut Grove area, and are still upset about the Vranesh mess.

Pleasanton is a great city with great schools. Many don't like the superintendent, but many didn't like her predecessor. And not many at all liked his predecessor. It seems we can never be happy. But regardless, Pleasanton is great, with very good schools, and that is why we live here.


3 people like this
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2015 at 8:41 am

Get the Facts is a registered user.

While I was typing my above post, "@get the facts" posted his/hers.

To '@get the facts', I couldn't disagree with you more. There is not one teacher at my site who doesn't like working in Pleasanton. I think it is a fair statement to say that I know and communicate with more staff than you, as I am a teacher in Pleasanton (something I have stated numerous times before). Both certificated and classified staff are happy to be working here. The proof is is in how many staff move to other districts, and it is very low. Pleasanton more often attracts teachers from other districts to work here.

And FYI, the "educational community" is not that "small", there are about 750 teachers employed at PUSD right now, and many more classified, administrative, and district office staff. Just because you know a few and they are disgruntled does not mean that is representative of the majority. (FYI, you said you work in Pleasanton, but I take that to mean not at PUSD. Please correct me if I have that wrong.)


12 people like this
Posted by @ get the facts
a resident of Beratlis Place
on Jun 13, 2015 at 12:54 pm

I do work PUSD and education is a small community in the Bay Area. And WE PUSD are now not know to be the capable district we were once known for. We are now known, even in schools of education at top universities, as a district with troubles in out top management. I know this from my personal experience. PUSD has many hard working talented staff but to there are management issues that have drawn attention. That is a fact.


2 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 13, 2015 at 2:09 pm

My piece is a Pleasanton teacher and she would love to leave PUSD and teach at Mission San Jose High School but no openings.


5 people like this
Posted by another teacher
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2015 at 3:23 pm

I'm a PUSD teacher and the few openings we have at our school have many experienced applicants from other districts so I don't think the so called "message" of our broken district is getting out to everyone. It's not a problem finding excellent teachers to work here, regardless of what anonymous internet trolls might say.


15 people like this
Posted by Foothill Parent
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Jun 16, 2015 at 7:59 am

Pleasanton is and has always been a beautiful community and city. Let's not confuse that with our schools. Our schools continue to be plagued by issues of race, drugs and disengaged teachers. However, it is important to note that these issues were ours to own long before the current Superintendent came to our district. The question to ask is what were her contributions in addressing these issues?
As a parent, I saw no improvement. As a professional, I understand the limitations she faced. When a Superintendent is not well supported by a board that is strongly beholden to the unions, there is very little the Superintendent can do.
So her failures are ours to own. If we, as a community, do not take the time to bocome involved with our district and rid it of the personal and selfish interests of a few, no Superintendent will be successful. Ours is a district where the principal of a high school finds himself unable to take action against the son of an influential father, where a teacher can tell a student he is dreaming if he thinks he can study medicine, where brown students think it's ok for white students to exert superiority over them, where a teacher can openly disparage a student for taking s contrary position during class discussion... Count our blessings that for every rotten apple there is a basketful of good ones and that is why we continue to be considered among the better districts in the Bay Area.
I know this will not sit well with most of the readers of this page but then I have never been afraid of voicing my opinion. It is a free world after all


6 people like this
Posted by Commentor
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Jun 16, 2015 at 9:36 am

Wow Foothill Parent, you speak the cold hard truth! Most parents probably didn't see much improvement because the discussion about white privilege that all people in Pleasanton need to get comfortable with is often met with denial or offense, which I've learned is part of the WASP culture (ever notice how often they get "appalled" by the stupidest things or accuse others of "playing the race card") it's often used as a way to avoid uncomfortable conversations. Pleasanton is a great place to live for tons of reasons, and most whites probably don't even realize their privilege and how it hurts our city, our kids in insidious, systemic ways. ("Waking Up White" by Debby Irving is a good place to start for everyone, whatever your skin color, income level, religion, etc...)


10 people like this
Posted by Did you hear
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 16, 2015 at 1:59 pm

At the secret board meeting last Friday @ 7am on the last day of school several parents and staff members criticized the school board for holding a meeting to select the interm superintendent and asst supt HR at 7:30 am on the last day of school with minimal notice. They also complained that the district has not laid out ANY strategy for selecting an interim superintendent nor the plan to hire a permanent supt.

After the criticism Trustee Hintzke took a picture of the small audience on her way to closed session. When asked why she did this she responded "to remember who was here." Intimidation for the criticism? Retribution to the staff members? It's bad enough that Hintzke and Arkin have run off their second superintendent in five years but secret meetings to hire a superintendent and intimidation has no place in our schools. Time to throw out Hintzke and Arkin at the election next year. Let's really clean house and get rid of the board members who created the problems in the first place.


9 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Jun 16, 2015 at 2:00 pm

One hopes that the interim superintendent selected by the Board has experience in this position and not simply a figure head that will do whatever the Board commends.


11 people like this
Posted by Jtjh
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 16, 2015 at 4:40 pm

To "Did you hear":

On what grounds are you referring to the meeting on Friday as a "secret meeting"? It is true that it was held at an inconvenient time, but I have seen no evidence that the appropriate procedures for scheduling a special meeting were not followed. The discussion was held in closed session, but that is the norm for those involving personnel issues. What other justification is there for your assertion.

You also wrote:

>> It's bad enough that Hintzke and Arkin have run off their second superintendent in five years <<

Again, I ask, what evidence do you have for your assertion that these two board members "ran off" the superintendents?

Perhaps you dislike their political leanings, or the way that they have voted on various issues. Perhaps you greatly prefer the opinions, or the politics of the other board members (who are numerically a majority) or those of the member of the board who lost his seat at the last election. That is your prerogative and had you preceded your attack with the words "It is my opinion that" there would have been little need for this message. However, you did not. You stated it as fact.

And to make such a serious allegation concerning members of a public body (of any political persuasion) without supporting evidence, is not only unacceptable, but, in my opinion, could easily lay you open to a legal challenge.


8 people like this
Posted by M.William
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Jun 17, 2015 at 12:23 am

TO Jtjh:
We have the freedom of speech and press, so being "open to a legal challenge" is just a scare tactic. My question to you, Jtjh, is why do you feel so much anger toward someone that is expresses their opinion?. My next question is, Why would a school board trustee take a picture of the people attending a public school board meeting, and then, allegedly say, "to remember who was here"?. There are laws against requiring people to register or "log" their attendance at public meetings and taking pictures of people in the meeting hall, maybe seen as a "Log" or registration.I think open public debate is always best.Intimidation and threats have no place in an open forum, such as this.


4 people like this
Posted by Josh
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jun 17, 2015 at 7:28 am

We need an experienced superindentent that knows our area not someone from outside the state. We also need an interim person who is an experienced sup not someone with no experience in the job. Get it right Board. No newbies.


4 people like this
Posted by Jtjh
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 17, 2015 at 11:26 am

Responding to M.William:

You wrote:

>> We have the freedom of speech and press, so being "open to a legal challenge" is just a scare tactic. <<

No it isn't. Freedom of speech gives us the right to state our opinions. There is a big difference between saying that one believes a person to be a murderer and stating, in public, that someone IS a murderer. It seems to me only helpful to point out the risks of ignoring the difference to those whose comments in a public forum indicate that they are unaware of it.

>> My question to you, Jtjh, is why do you feel so much anger toward someone that is expresses their opinion?.<<

And my question to you, M. William, is:- what did you find in my post that led you to conclude that I felt anger toward the poster in question? I am puzzled by your assumption. Especially since it was completely incorrect. I did not, in fact, share my own opinions concerning the School Board. I merely challenged the inaccuracy of the statements in the post to which I responded.

>> My next question is, Why would a school board trustee take a picture of the people attending a public school board meeting, and then, allegedly say, "to remember who was here"?. <<

That, I think, is a very valid question.

>> .I think open public debate is always best.Intimidation and threats have no place in an open forum, such as this. <<

I agree. Fortunately, I doubt whether the impartial reader will observe any intimidation or threats whatsoever in the words of the contributors to this particular thread. Let us hope that this absence will continue.


Like this comment
Posted by To jtjh
a resident of Foothill Place
on Jun 17, 2015 at 6:14 pm

Let me guess, you just enrolled in an on line legal course, right? LOL


7 people like this
Posted by Josh
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jun 18, 2015 at 7:28 am

Rumor has it the interim sup has no experience as a sup, deputy sup, Assit sup or even a director. Wow! And that he has been retired for a long time. Great! A dated captain with no experience. Great job board!


3 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Jun 18, 2015 at 9:13 am

Really? No experience? What are they thinking?


Like this comment
Posted by Jtjh
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 18, 2015 at 3:03 pm

In response to the poster who decided to create a User name that included my own and wrote:

>> Let me guess, you just enrolled in an on line legal course, right? LOL <<


I will say merely that ad hominem attacks are frequently the resort of those with a weak argument.

Still, I'm glad that I have apparently provided you with some amusement, in the form of the opportunity to laugh at your own rather strange joke.


19 people like this
Posted by Already Campaigning?
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 18, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Jeff/Patti/Janice,
Constant negative posts about Jamie aren't going to get Jeff re-elected. They reinforce why he got booted.


7 people like this
Posted by oldtimer
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jun 18, 2015 at 4:49 pm

How can Jeff even run with his wife as vice president of the union? At this point, he needs to be recusing himself on anything dealing with the unions/employees (which is about everything).

I guess with Parvin gone, Jeff can now ask his wife how to vote on items. I don't think I ever sawe a vote by Jeff that was not in the affirmative for something that Parvin suggested.

As for finding an interim, have not heard any rumors but if they are not looking inside the district office for this position, that is really a vote of no confidence in the district administration. The job of superintendent is to manage all of the directors, and to communicate with the public. For an interim position, we need somebody who is transparent and holds the directors accountable. You really do not want an interim superintendent working on new policy or other changes. Let the new superintendent do that.


Like this comment
Posted by bring back
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 18, 2015 at 8:27 pm

Bob Kroetch as the interim


3 people like this
Posted by Student
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Jun 18, 2015 at 8:52 pm

J. Clark for Interim Sup!!! Don't see any reason why not (being the teachers union president proves she has valuable experience)


6 people like this
Posted by Student
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Jun 18, 2015 at 8:56 pm

Please don't hate/cyber bully are elected officials on these blogs. I see too much nasty stuff. Let's be a little more bit positive


7 people like this
Posted by need a global perspective
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jun 18, 2015 at 9:38 pm

J Clark represents the teachers - period - and even at that, not those who disagree with the CTA/pro-union stance. She does NOT represent the students (which is who should come first) or the classified employees or the administrative staff. I'm hoping they'll find someone who listens to all sites.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Some election thoughts
By Tim Hunt | 3 comments | 647 views

Livermore's Marchand, aka the mayor of Seville, seeks re-election
By Jeb Bing | 2 comments | 212 views

 

Nominations due by Sept. 17

Pleasanton Weekly and DanvilleSanRamon.com are once again putting out a call for nominations and sponsorships for the annual Tri-Valley Heroes awards - our salute to the community members dedicated to bettering the Tri-Valley and the lives of its residents.

Nomination form