School board appoints Mike O'Brien as new Vintage Hills principal

Trustees also select two new vice principals for Amador Valley High School

Several new leaders have been selected to take the reins next year at two Pleasanton public schools.

At its regular meeting on Tuesday night, the Pleasanton school board announced that current Pleasanton Middle School vice principal Mike O’Brien is stepping in as the new principal of Vintage Hills Elementary School, and two other people will share responsibilities as vice principals at Amador Valley High School.

O’Brien will take the place of outgoing Vintage Hills principal Ann Jayne, who has been on a leave of absence for unspecified reasons since early March and officially resigns in late June. Vice principal Leslie Navarrette has been acting principal at Vintage Hills since Jayne's leave.

A veteran of the Pleasanton Unified School District for the past 21 years, O’Brien taught at Donlon and Hearst elementary schools for nearly two decades before moving four years ago to PMS, and said he’s “looking to open, positive and exciting communications” with the campus.

After O’Brien’s departure, Pleasanton Middle School will have all new leadership when school starts in August. Principal Jill Butler recently announced her retirement at the end of next month after heading Pleasanton Middle School for 3½ years. Joe Nguyen, a former middle school teacher and current principal at Iron Horse Middle School in San Ramon, was hired several weeks ago to take over Butler’s position, starting July 1.

Pleasanton Unified School District has not found anyone yet to replace O’Brien, but spokesperson Patrick Gannon told the Weekly that the district will use the same recruitment process as before to find a suitable candidate. PUSD is aiming to hire a new vice principal at Pleasanton Middle School before the start of the 2019-20 school year.

The search also continues for a new principal at Amador Valley but the Trustees appointed two new faces on Tuesday for the position of vice principal. Junior Yee, a social studies teacher at Amador Valley, and newcomer Jamie Mather, a teacher at Miramonte High School in Orinda, will split their duties on the Amador Valley campus when the new school year starts.

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.


12 people like this
Posted by To the 2 missing board members
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2019 at 5:06 pm

Congratulations to Mike O’Brien for his new position. PMS loss is VH’s gain.
It was disappointing to find yesterday that board members Laursen and Miller were absent(out of town, according to Arkin). Mrs. Laursen and Mr. Miller, The community has elected you to be present at board meetings and not be absent for important voting such as appointments of principals and vice principals.
Among other things you missed at the board meeting were: 1) Amador cheer parents asking for the reinstatement of their cheer coach. 2) AVHS parents and coaches asking for improvements to the unacceptable condition of the gym and 3)PMS teachers and parents voicing their disappointment with the hiring process of the principal.
Mr. Miller and Mrs. Laursen, you need to do your jobs as elected officials and BE PRESENT at board meetings. Otherwise you should resign and hand the job to people who are actually committed.

2 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2019 at 7:05 pm

Did the the board members ran uncontested. Do you really think it's okay to suggest that "paid next to nothing" board members retire for being out of town?

4 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 22, 2019 at 7:59 pm

Board members were elected because they wanted to be elected.
It is their responsibility to serve unwavering, steady and absolute.

9 people like this
Posted by VHParent
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 22, 2019 at 9:15 pm

We are thrilled to have Mr. O’Brien as our new principal!! It looks like the board and the district finally listened to our concerns and our school will now have the leadership it deserves. Bravo!!

17 people like this
Posted by justthefacts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2019 at 10:22 pm

justthefacts is a registered user.

I believe Trustee Laurson was out of town at her daughter's college graduation. She should be entitled to see her daughter graduate.

17 people like this
Posted by You Know Nothing
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on May 22, 2019 at 10:49 pm

“It is their responsibility to serve unwavering, steady and absolute.”

What an odd imagination you have. Do you ever take a moment to listen to yourself? They’re school board members, not the Night Watch.

3 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 23, 2019 at 12:18 am

If there were term limits, the school board members would better serve the community. Of course, they have never voted to have term limits.

Perks with serving on the board include travel, including international travel, all paid for by PUSD, flocking to conferences at hotels and resorts, attendance at catered dinners and events, etc.

As it is now, since there are no term limits, they serve in this position long after they appear to show any enthusiasm and energy toward serving the community. There is no transparency. Also, since they run every time as incumbents, it is very difficult to unseat them.

I do not believe any board member has any children attending Pleasanton public schools. They graduated long ago.

4 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 23, 2019 at 7:06 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Arkin and Miller have students who graduate this year (or graduated last year). Maher has grandchildren in the district. Not sure about Hintzke or Laursen. The biggest issue seems to be the demands of family and jobs (all our members are now employed) which make few parents interested. And yes, running against incumbents is nearly impossible and expensive ($5K-$10K).

The international travel, to my knowledge, was not paid for by the district. There is one conference that is a must for board members—they cannot lead in isolation.

All board members stated they support term limits and have done nothing to set a policy, put it to a community vote, or to step aside to give others a chance.

28 people like this
Posted by Back to Mr. O'Brien
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 23, 2019 at 7:16 am

It is too bad this thread has veered off the wonderful news that one of our schools will now be led by a principal who is committed to the community and has a strong track record of teaching and leading in this district. Clearly, our best and most successful principals have ties to the community and thus give more and plan to stay the course. The Vintage Hills' community is so fortunate. Mike O'Brien is not only a strong and reliable administrator, but a wonderful person who will connect with all stakeholders, especially the students of Vintage Hills. PMS's loss is truly Vintage Hills' gain. Good luck Mr. O'Brien!

4 people like this
Posted by FH parent
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on May 23, 2019 at 9:55 am

I really like O’Brien. Vintage Hill has a winner here.

7 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 23, 2019 at 11:04 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Sorry, just responding to other comments. Congratulations to Mr. O’Brien and Vintage Hills’ students, faculty, and families. Best wishes for success!

8 people like this
Posted by VH Parent
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 23, 2019 at 1:39 pm

Thank god the devil in a pantsuit is gone!

4 people like this
Posted by Kate
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on May 23, 2019 at 4:53 pm

Kate is a registered user.

To the 2 missing Board member poster
1) maybe you should find out why Laursen and Miller missed before bashing
2) You seem passionate about all things AVHS, maybe you should run for school board. Your slogan could be “I’ll never miss a meeting”!

3 people like this
Posted by Please RUN
a resident of Vintage Hills
on May 23, 2019 at 7:41 pm

Please run again the current board members! I know it is expensive, but maybe we can start a grass roots to support someone to run against the current board. They have lost sight that they are presenting the community; they are not "in charge". They are running our district into the ground. They enjoy their "power" too much and we could all see it at the last school board meeting which was not televised, how convient since all the speakers were upset at the district and the school board.

16 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 23, 2019 at 7:46 pm

I believe it is the PUSD staff running the PUSD district into the ground.

The PUSD board needs to lead the staff, not follow the staff.
However, the board does not know how to lead.
That is the dilemma.

4 people like this
Posted by Reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 24, 2019 at 12:45 pm

So great to see Mike O’Brien in this role! He was a teacher to my kids years ago - one of our favorites. Vintage Hills has gained excellent leadership.

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

All your news. All in one place. Every day.

Remaking Bishop Ranch Business Park into a mixed-use community
By Tim Hunt | 1 comment | 1,138 views

Premarital, Women Over 50 Do Get Married
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,016 views

How Your Email Impacts College Admission Results!
By Elizabeth LaScala | 0 comments | 377 views


Nominations due by Sept. 16

Pleasanton Weekly and 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