News


Another new principal for Walnut Grove Elementary

School leaders holding special meeting at school tonight to discuss change, other administrative moves

Pleasanton school district leaders will hold special meeting at 6 p.m. tonight at Walnut Grove Elementary School to answer questions about recent staff and administrative changes in the district, including naming another new principal at Walnut Grove.

Those changes have brought some new faces to Pleasanton schools after some promotions left their current positions up in the air.

One significant change was at Walnut Grove where principal Jan Steed has been reassigned as the district's assistant director of adult and career education. Steed has been principal at Walnut Grove since May 2014.

Replacing Steed as interim principal is Chris Connor, a vice principal at Fairlands and Mohr elementary schools with 11 years of education experience.

The school district's decision to restart its adult education program this year necessitated hiring a director and assistant director, both of whom were picked from the district's ranks.

Glen Sparks, formerly the district's coordinator of career and technical education, was selected as the director of adult and career education last month.

Those appointments set off a chain of promotions and new hires.

Kathy Roselle, a retired principal from Dublin, will replace Connor as vice principal at Fairlands. Beth Cutter, vice principal of Walnut Grove and Vintage Hills, will drop her second assignment to be a full-time vice principal at Walnut Grove.

Robyn Annacherio, formerly a vice principal in Mountain House, will become the interim vice principal at Vintage Hills.

Rich Puppione, retired senior director of student services, will replace Connor as vice principal at Mohr.

Interim superintendent Jim Hansen said Sparks will absorb his former job into his current role as director of adult and career education, so a replacement will not be selected.

The school board voted in November to restore adult education classes after the program was gutted in 2012 due to the recession. The first classes that are expected to be offered are English as a second-language courses.

Walnut Grove is located at 1999 Harvest Road.

Comments

22 people like this
Posted by Rebecca
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 5, 2016 at 12:16 pm

Don't know about anyone else but it's no surprise Jan Sneed is leaving WG.


3 people like this
Posted by WG parent
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 5, 2016 at 1:16 pm

Why is it no surprise Rebecca? My kids liked her, what was the problem.


18 people like this
Posted by Rebecca
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 5, 2016 at 1:31 pm

Kids liking her and her doing her job are two way different things.
It takes more than kids liking her to make a good principal.
There were 'issues' that will eventually come out.
She is better off now and so is WG.


21 people like this
Posted by Curious
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 5, 2016 at 9:09 pm

Can we get Mr. Mike back at WG now or is he still being threatened?


32 people like this
Posted by No surprise
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Jan 5, 2016 at 10:03 pm

I want to clarify - I'm incredibly pro-teacher and pro-union. However, this is the 2nd principal Walnut Grove teachers have run out of their school (ask the teachers what they were saying when it was announced Jan was going to the DO). Clearly there are issues at this school and it begins with the staff.

Good luck, Chris. I hope PUSD is giving you tremendous support because you will need it.


32 people like this
Posted by One more thought
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Jan 5, 2016 at 10:05 pm

I want to clarify - I am the above poster and not trying to make it seem as though 2 people are frustrated. Rebecca posted "There were 'issues' that will eventually come out."

At what point do we look at the situation and start recognizing that the school is not a safe environment for administrators? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.


55 people like this
Posted by Suggestion
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2016 at 7:55 am

I hope the PUSD issues the new principal a body cam for his own protection.

4 full time principals and a couple of interim principals in 5 years? Sad.


52 people like this
Posted by Eric
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 6, 2016 at 8:15 am

Not just "4 full time principals and a couple of interim principals in 5 years" but an entire office staff, nurse and custodian. The problem is still within the school and the union is supporting it.


8 people like this
Posted by I like him
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 6, 2016 at 9:41 am

New guy seems refreshing. Time will tell..... My daughter's teacher is awesome, I'm happy.


38 people like this
Posted by a few bad apples
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jan 6, 2016 at 10:03 am

There are some very positive teachers at WG but it does not take a detective to sniff out the rats. A few bad apples that have strong union connections are making WG a joke. I hope my kids can dodge the bad apples and have a solid grade school experience. It breaks my heart to know that adult educators put their personal agendas ahead of our children's education so frequently.


4 people like this
Posted by Helen
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Jan 6, 2016 at 10:37 am

Slightly off topic, but does anyone know the status of the Vranesh lawsuit? I know he lost one, but I thought another one was still in the works. Any updates on that entire mess?


27 people like this
Posted by Ellen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2016 at 11:04 am

Good luck to you Mr Connor! WG is lucky to have him and I wish him and you all a great deal of success. It's way past time that Walnut Groge stays out of the news and back on track and hopefully if there are any bad seeds left there, they don't bring him down. He's a very genuine and fair person and a good administrator and the kids love him.


21 people like this
Posted by Come on people
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 7, 2016 at 6:34 am

It is not within the scope of any labor organization to make personnel decisions. Those decisions are made soley by the district administration with the backing of the school board. I'm not sure why folks are so quick to blame the union, other than hating unions, of course. As a teacher in another school district, with a much stronger union than PUSD, it is painfully clear how little power labor has in such decisions. I suppose that since Ahmadi is no longer here and the new guy is very well liked...it must be the union's fault. Come on people....it doesn't work that way. If you want to know who is responsible for making these personnel decisions, look no further than your superintendent and school board.


26 people like this
Posted by response to come on people
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 7, 2016 at 8:05 am

Come on people - if you are not aware of the history of organized labor and their work to influence administrations and decision makers, then you are living with your head buried in the sand. The union influence may not get any particular person assigned but the extensive turn over at WG compared to every other school in the district speaks volumes. Throw in the facts of where the whole JV fiasco started and it is a major stretch to say that ownership resides at the superintendent / school board level only.


29 people like this
Posted by Suggestion
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2016 at 11:00 am

@come on people

I am not sure how it is in your district but in ours the union has big influence. The union here does "site surveys" which are in essence performance reviews of principals. When the APT does these surveys they demand the district act. For instance 2 years ago after conducting a negative site survey of the Hart principal the APT went public at a board meeting demanding she be removed. Fortunately for the Hart principal the APT already used up their "get rid of a principal card" earlier that year and parents got wind of the APT shenanigans so the Hart principal stayed in place. In court documents former APT president Peggy Carpenter admits when the Vranesh incident occurred she threatened the PUSD that if they didn't remove him immediately, they would "go to the media". In that case the PUSD did as they were told by the APT.

I think the small community here plays in favor of the APT bullying tactics. Hopefully the tide is changing but the fact some teachers at WG were very vocal in the community about not liking the principal who just left a school (that is still in crisis mid year) a person can't help but wonder if the principal left because of the APT.


2 people like this
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2016 at 8:49 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

@suggestion

I have worked in this district for almost two decades, at two different sites, and have never taken a site survey. The survey taken at Hart was specifically due to the issues that had come up there, and it is the only site/teacher's survey I have ever heard of. I know of another district that does this, but the APT has not done it other than in the one instance mentioned previously, to my knowledge.


53 people like this
Posted by Janie
a resident of Foothill Place
on Jan 8, 2016 at 7:01 am

@ Get the facts...

I work at Foothill High School and completed a school site survey on October 19, 2015. Feel free to ask any staff member or administrator about the survey. We were required to complete and submit it within a 3-4 week period. I don't know why you've never heard of this especially if you've been at PUSD for 20 years. After watching the Vranesh debacle and witnessing the despicable behavior of Peggy Carpenter, Janice Clark and many APT members at several board meetings, I can assure you that the teachers union does indeed wear the boot that stands on the neck of PUSD. I hope Mr. Connor has his eyes and ears wide open now that he's on deck at Walnut Grove. Unfortunately, we know who's sailing the ship... the specific teachers and APT members who turned to mutiny, lied under oath and forgot about the reason they became teachers in the first place... The children.


28 people like this
Posted by Flames
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 8, 2016 at 12:12 pm

All the captains of this ship called PUSD are jumping off...this district needs some help. It will take several more years to right this sinking ship.


7 people like this
Posted by Interesting....
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 8, 2016 at 12:39 pm

So when you say they lied under oath you mean you were there? You were at Walnut Grove and witnessed it all? I'm still shocked at all the adults in the community who forgot their role as a parent/role model. Taking sides, bad mouthing others in front of kids, harassing each other. If the poor children didn't have enough going on at school, you'd think all who are "concerned" could at least keep the issue out of the kid's homes.


30 people like this
Posted by Janie
a resident of Foothill Place
on Jan 8, 2016 at 4:14 pm

@ Interesting...

Ok, I'll bite. If you read all the FOIA and released OAH court documents, you would see that statements made under oath by various teachers claiming that they were "locked" in offices, that they received "profane text messages", and that they insisted their cars were vandalized by people they were positive were responsible (all without a shred of proof). It was disputed in court UNDER OATH that the office doors DO NOT lock from the inside, there was NO profane text message to be found anywhere by the district's forensic investigation. The outraged parents/adults in this community didn't "forget" their roles to behave properly, whatever that means. I think those who disputed the teacher's claims were simply behaving as one would expect if one was living according to the "Community of Character traits" the district claims to instill. I think that's a fine lesson to teach our children, don't you? Unless, of course, it gets in the way of APT or becomes massively inconvenient to the district, as we continue to see.


6 people like this
Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2016 at 8:55 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

@Janie

The school site survey you mentioned has nothing to do with APT, APT didn't write it or send it out. Probably didn't even see the results until they went public (I am assuming they went public, I have no idea).

@Flames

This is not a sinking ship, but simply a district in leadership transition. This often happens when a new superintendent is comes aboard. I will say it is more transition and interim leaders than normal, so one could say it's a big transition, but it's a transition nonetheless. A year from now, there will be a new superintendent in place, a new assistant superintendent of HR, etc. This is not a big deal.


2 people like this
Posted by Just want to mention
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jan 12, 2016 at 9:44 pm

I've been a teacher in the district for over 20 years and have never been asked to fill out a site survey. Bargaining survey yes, but that has nothing to do with the site. That has everything to do with teachers at all of the sites.

I'm wondering if site surveys are given when you have a problem at your site. Hart had problems with the teachers and principal. Foothill had problems with one teacher and her lack of ability to teach.


6 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of Avila
on Jan 12, 2016 at 10:59 pm

Funny that the PUSD web site has a list of reports called School Climate Survey Results 2013-2014 on its web site for each school site. The data is 2 years old.

Maybe like the so-called calendar survey results, they fudge the data for the so-called climate surveys and never actually get anyone to fill out the raw data.

Given the general lack of credibility, it wouldn't surprise me a bit.

Also, many teachers do not teach the required subjects at all. Why do you think there are two to three tutoring centers in each shopping center all around town?


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

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