Principal, VP departing Amador Valley High

Williams headed to district office, Hurtado accepts principal role in Dublin

Amador Valley High School will see some leadership changes next year.

At Tuesday night's school board meeting, trustees announced that principal Michael Williams will be headed to the district office at the end of this school year, to assume the post of director of human resources.

This comes as Mario Hurtado, one of Amador's four vice principals, recently announced that he will also be leaving the school to accept a principal position at Valley High School, a continuation school in Dublin.

Williams thanked the board and Amador community at the board meeting Tuesday.

"I've had the privilege of starting as a vice principal and growing within Pleasanton, and I'm very excited to continue my growth, in working with Mr. Hernandez," Williams said, referencing Julio Hernandez, the district's assistant superintendent of human resources.

"It's bittersweet because I'll be missing my Amador community, but I'm hoping that I can help the greater good of Pleasanton, so I appreciate the opportunity. Thank you," Williams added.

Williams was appointed as Amador principal in spring 2016. Then a vice principal at the high school, he served as interim principal for the last two months of the 2015-16 school year before formally taking over July 1 -- he replaced Tom Drescher, who left for another job.

Before coming to Pleasanton in 2014, Williams served as vice principal of a middle school in Half Moon Bay, after having taught physical education at Peninsula schools for several years.

Williams' departure marks the third year in a row that one of Pleasanton's two main high schools will be recruiting for a new principal. As the search for Williams’ replacement begins, district officials say they are looking to hold input meetings with students, staff and families before the end of the school year, with invites going out to all constituents once the dates are finalized.

Hurtado, a 1999 Dublin High School graduate, served one year as vice principal at Amador Valley following five years teaching history, economics and leadership at Pleasanton's continuation high school, Village High -- a tenure that included being named PUSD Teacher of the Year in 2017.

"Valley High is an integral part of our secondary school offering," Dublin Superintendent Leslie Boozer said. "It provides an option for students to achieve their high school diploma in a more flexible environment. Mr. Hurtado is committed to building a culture of excellence where students can reach their maximum potential. We are pleased to welcome him back to Dublin."

Hurtado is one of four vice principals at Amador, joining Terry Conde, Nimarta Grewal and Doris Kwok.

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42 people like this
Posted by PtownMom
a resident of Birdland
on May 24, 2018 at 10:35 am

OK, more detail is helpful, but I still don't understand how Mr. Williams is qualified to be the Director of HR. I have nothing against moving up, but considering the major turnover and lackluster hiring practices of this district of late, I would think someone with a lot of HR experience would be preferred in that position.

7 people like this
Posted by Amador Mom
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 24, 2018 at 8:00 pm

Funny how they don't mention that another VP, Doris Kwok, left last month for another PUSD position. 3 out of 5 Amador Admin gone!

21 people like this
Posted by ConcernedParent
a resident of Stoneridge Park
on May 25, 2018 at 7:07 am

Of late, the quality of the staff including teachers has become very disturbing. Teachers are incompetent to teach the advanced courses that they are volunteering to teach, and it looks the same thing is going on with the staff. From PE teacher to HR director? Where is the accumulated experience to make that jump?

10 people like this
Posted by Students suffer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 25, 2018 at 9:23 am

What happens is that due to the incompetence coupled with pervasive grade inflation, students are completely unprepared for university level work. Then colleges must either offer remedial instruction or the student ends up having to downgrade their major to an easy major like Physical Education or Elementart Education. Then these people end up in the public school system in high level positions. The fact is that there is no accountability and the PUSD board continues to appoint unqualified and/or inexperienced people.

30 people like this
Posted by Happy parent
a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on May 25, 2018 at 12:20 pm

I disagree with "Students suffer". All of my kids did exceedingly well once they reached college, even better than they did in high school. I had all types of students as well. One that was just average in high school but then did fantastic in a good college. Another who was a 3.5 type student again did great in college graduating with a very high gpa from a hard university. The last was the strongest student and he is at an extremely difficult university in a hard major and is still maintaining that high level. They all did very well against their college peers. I know many other families with similar college results. My kids received an excellent education in all of the Pleasanton schools they attended including Amador. I am very grateful for all the teachers and admin efforts that contributed to my children doing so well. The older ones were able to get great jobs after graduation that they love and are doing well which really isn't that the main goal?

10 people like this
Posted by Ptown parent
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on May 25, 2018 at 9:03 pm

I agree with 'ConcernedParent'. At Amador HS, for my youngest child (Junior) vs. my oldest (graduated from AVHS), the difference in the quality of teaching is deplorable. Not to take names, but some teachers teaching advanced or AP courses are plain incompetent. They have the gall to encourage students to take AP tution at local centers, and the students are forced to catch up with outside tutoring (and not everyone can afford).

Why offer AP courses at AVHS when they have incompetent teachers? They are counting on students doing whatever it takes to succeed. Wish we all could petition them to drop the AP's at AVHS taught by these incompetent teachers. The students, teachers, parents and even the admin know who they are...

5 people like this
Posted by PWCommentet
a resident of Grey Eagle Estates
on May 26, 2018 at 12:06 am

Hey Students suffer, maybe go back to “elementart” school and learn basic grammar before you go after “easy majors.” You want to find incompetence... just take a peak at these comments...

12 people like this
Posted by Interested
a resident of Castlewood
on May 26, 2018 at 9:46 am

Interested is a registered user.

The new Assistant Superintendent of HR is trying to turn Pleasanton USD into San Lorenzo. Very different way of hiring and no support for current employees. Lost a lot of good people since he arrived

15 people like this
Posted by HR?
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 26, 2018 at 4:22 pm

This District and Administration is very unsupportive of teachers. One board member, who obviously, forgot the bucks stops with the board, belittled the abilities of PUSD's math teachers in public. Our Superintendent is on a "listening" tour, but only wants to talk about how great he is and how he is going to "fix" PUSD. I have no faith in the Board or the current administration; they aren't transparent nor do they invest in their employees. If PUSD's teachers are ill-prepared to teach any subject then the BOARD and the District management is responsible for not providing the tools, training, and support. Mr. Miller should be embarrassed to admit that he is governing a district which he feels has such flaws. Why isn't he taking a proactive approach rather than deflecting the blame? The board and management team won't enforce policies to ensure all students are treated with equity in regards to discipline and cheating. Young teachers are not flocking to PUSD; the education community is well aware of the climate in PUSD. Fremont Unified pays more, and San Ramon provides more staff development. PUSD does neither. Interesting that the principal who made many poor hiring moves this fall (many teachers were let go--many students had substitutes) is now going to HR. Yikes. And our current superintendent wants to divide the community further by pushing a Mandrian bilingual school. What about school which focuses on the arts and then children are all ethnicities can come "together" to share their love of the arts. But....every superintendent has to come in and make their mark without concern for the community! We don't need another program; we need to strengthen the ones we have! We didn't need him to come in and "fix it" but build upon the strengths of our community!

9 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on May 26, 2018 at 4:56 pm

Millions of dollars of Common Core arithmetic training were poured into PUSD, but every year the testing shows some students in certain schools getting worse in the SBAC testing. Those teachers that can't cut it obviously need to be removed from the classroom. Permanently.

Each BOARD packet shows tens of thousands of spending on staff development, e.g. training and conferences that teachers regularly get sent to for some sort of "training" or "best practices conference" which is usually some out-of-state travel that looks like a boondoggle to me. In fact, in the last BOARD meeting, they just funded a whole group of employees to go to Portland for some sort of assessment conference in the summer.

Most people don't agree with: "If PUSD's teachers are ill-prepared to teach any subject then the BOARD and the District management is responsible for not providing the tools, training, and support."

If they were ill-prepared to teach, they should have been given a written examination of their skills prior to being hired.

If adults hired as teachers they don't know arithmetic by now, no amount of tools, training and support are going to help. And if hired the wrong people as teachers or they picked the wrong arithmetic curriculum provider (the third different one in 10 years), that is PUSD's own problem.

In 2015, at Alisal for third graders, 28% could not meet arithmetic standards (20% just below standards, 8% far below remedial standards) but these same students by the time they got to fifth grade had plunged even further to unbelievably low levels- 41.41% of 5th grade Alisal students could not meet arithmetic standards (22.22% just below standards, 19.99% far below remedial standards).

If these teachers can't fathom simple primary school arithmetic concepts like adding, subtracting, dividing, multiplying, fractions and decimals, no amount of retraining will help. Or if they are just having the kids zone out coloring pictures and watching videos instead of actual teaching, they just need to be removed from the classroom before they do more damage.

10 people like this
Posted by Ptown parent
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on May 28, 2018 at 11:38 am

I believe our kids are doing well in school (and in college) due to the family support, despite the quality of the schools, particularly AVHS. Over the past years, not only do the AVHS staff and teachers standards have gone down, but also they are lackadaisical in their teaching and support. The teachers are picking up classes that they are not competent to teach (do they get bonuses for doing that?), and the students lose respect quickly.

Maybe, the school should allow students to take other online or local courses in arts, language, science etc. It's probably the fear of this action by students/parents that the school and PUSD has been discussing restricting online/outside courses by students under the pretext of non-discrimination and uniform affordability. In other words, we have to put with this mediocrity from schools, yet as parents silently take the brunt of preparing them for college.

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

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