Monday, July 5, 2010

MDUSD Superintendent gets an F

(Remember, this is a blog, this is opinion, and it happens to be my right to have an opinion. Plus my opinion is subject to be updated depending upon how situations are handled going forward.)

F in school = Failure
Definition: failure
1. the act or an instance of failing
2. a person or thing that is unsuccessful or disappointing
3. nonperformance of something required or expected
4. cessation of normal operation; breakdown

Has anyone heard anything that sounds like any sort of goal or mission for our district? What is his vision anyway? Like some in the comments have asked, I'm asking the same thing. Why the internal district shake up? Why are some administrators becoming Principals and why are some Principals becoming administrators at Dent? Why were some Principals transferred for "seemingly" no reason? What is the point? And even more important, WHY NO COMMUNICATION? WHY NO "state of the district" address to at least tell us what direction the district is going, I'll even keep it simpler, what are the goals this summer (at least!)? How does he see the district in the future? We, as stakeholders of this district, need to start demanding communication and answers now.

Why do we not hear from the Superintendent unless he has an ulterior motive? Let's see, we got a note about Measure C, we heard in a community meeting about solar, and we heard about MDEA not bargaining and possibly sending our district to receivership.

Have we heard anything good? In fact, did he even publicly congratulate the Class of 2010? I am curious, and I honestly have no idea, did he attend any graduation ceremonies around the district?

So, now in his first summer round of hiring, we are left with (previously) angry Bancroft parents, confused Valle Verde parents, MANY parents left in limbo wondering who their principal will be. And now, we have Mt. Diablo Elementary. Apparently a meeting was held on a Weds night for feedback. Word is, he was not too engaged in the meeting, other than to answer an occasional question, but it was lead by Julie Braun-Martin. Ms. Braun-Martin, the new Personnel Asst Superintendent, in what seems to be her first hire, took a major hit for the team with her blessing on a hire of Dr. Christopher Nugent. A man that seems to have traveled around the country and worked in various school districts (why?). Someone with a 'background,' including accusations of federal wrong doings related to student private information online. Oh, and a DUI. Someone dropped the ball. It stings even worse as it seems the meeting on Weds was simply an attempt to "humor" the parents at MDE. It is obvious the hire was made prior to the meeting. Recruiting, interviews, background checks and DOJ clearances don't get done same day. Presumably all this was done going into Wednesday meeting. Why not just be honest?

So, now , while I acknowledge this is a holiday weekend and we have time off and furloughs to contend with, nothing yet has been done publicly about this debacle. I hope anyone upset about this issue or the issue at your own school is writing NOW to the Superintendent to express your thoughts and feelings. Are you feeling good about the future of our district? How about your school?


I've made it easy, just cut and paste the email above and write. You may get an auto-responder like I did saying he'd be on furlough through June 30th and back on July 1st. I know he's been busy moving into the Walnut Acres/Foothill/Northgate area - but there's no excuse for a leader of a district of this size not to be handling a situation like this over a weekend. And I'm sure I'll get some anon district person saying he's working on it but its private, yadda yadda, well how about a response beyond an auto-responder? Huh?

I know the board members are responding to emails this weekend. And I do thank them for that. I also understand that they can't comment on much. There are private personnel and legal issues to contend with. But I think the board needs to start with disciplinary action against both the Superintendent and Ms. Braun-Martin over this hire. And, I sure hope they can cut him loose, quickly. I'm just soooo curious if he disclosed his troubles and our district felt it was acceptable to hire him anyway? Or, did he omit the information? If so, that seems easy enough grounds for immediate dismissal.

From the emails I've received, and from what I've heard on the blogs... MDE parents aren't going to stand for this. However, they also realize we need time to hear back from the district on this matter before a formal reaction is formed. I commend them for that. Now we wait...


  1. Do we know if the DUI resulted in a conviction? I can look past a DUI arrest, especially if there was no conviction. HOWEVER, if there was a conviction, especially for the resisting arrest and fighting with the officers, this should be a huge NO-GO. Our teachers and principals should be role models for our children. This behavior is not worthy of a role model.

    I am also trying to figure out the big shuffle. If MDUSD is planning to close elementary schools for the 2011 school year, who will be the first administrators to be let go? Will they be laid off, or will they get shuffled around again.

    I heard a rumor that the employees who held positions in the DO, and are going into schools as principals are only doing so to have principal experience under their belts, as some kind of employment requirement for future DO positions.

    Do any of the DO employees that will become principals even have principal experience.

    I have been an avid, fierce supporter of our schools, but I do find the lack of communication to be inexcusable. Those in charge are fully aware of our desire for increased communication, yet some refuse to provide it. Do they not understand that silence does nothing but breed speculation and rumor? (yes, I am aware that I referenced a rumor above)

    Keep us informed, treat us as intelligent human beings, trust us with the facts, and they just might end up with some powerful partners in this game!

    Ignore us, and end up with nothing.

  2. Lawrence attended the CVHS graduation. He sat there looking bored, literally twiddling his thumbs, and then got up and walked out during the middle of the ceremony.

  3. I am a teacher at MDE and have worked for this district for more than 14 years. I hope board members red this blog and all the others. This whole principal shuffling and hiring debacle is just unbelievable. MDE has had numerous struggles for the last few years and we teachers reached out to administration for help. But now I realize why the rediculous outcome of two teachers and our secretary being transferred! The same inept people hired this new questionable principal! Any hope I had is gone. Any remnant of trust is gone. I do not believe that anyone at the DO cares one bit about teachers, students or their communities. They care only about data and numbers. They are so out of touch and have no concept of how to deal with personnel issues. There is a huge disconnect between them and those of us in the trenches, students included. When we had our problems last year and expressed them to the admin they completely dismissed us, based their findings on what they were told by anyone but us. It was all turned around onto us. Why are administrators in this district not evaluated by those they lead. Every other business requires their leaders to be evaluated by their staff. How else do you know how well and effective you are. The DO and admin in this district are in a comfortable caccoon and have NO CLUE about what their admin is doing. The board needs to step up to the plate and require some accountability from everyone. Just as I am evaluated, so should these people.

  4. TO mde teacher. I agree with you 1000% the administrators should get a report card of their own. HOWEVER, as a parent at MDE for 9 years +, you can't tell me that the office manager deserved to stay? That lady didn't deserve to be near any families, let alone children. I don't know the details of the teachers let go, or transferred... but, why even bring that up? Let's focus on this.. THIS principal who was just appointed to our school. I think we all agree that Dodson had to go for the sake of the school, so why did we deserve this jackass? Well, we didn't, and I'm appalled that the meeting on Wednesday was simply for "looks." So I say you can't have it both ways, they listened to the teachers and got rid of Dodson, and they listened to the MDE Community and got rid of the office manager. There it's even.

  5. What did happen to Dodson? Does anyone know if there is a possibility that he will be sent to another MDUSD school?

  6. No word yet on Dodson. I do not know how their reassignment process works. I do believe there is a good chance he'll be reassigned to a MDUSD school. I'm not sure though.. I do believe all administrators were given pink slips. So when he left his position at MDE, is he "technically" out a job until they reassign him a new one? or, is there a chance they just don't find a good place for him and he stays gone? I'm just not sure. Maybe someone will explain this.

  7. You get an f. What a dumb motherfucker you are. Since he started, the superintendent has passed a $348 million bond, dealt with principals that have been dead weight in this district and worked to get to know the district. He attended every graduation except those that overlapped. What type of dumbass asks that question when the answer is readily available? What's the matter, are you no longer special? Is your team gone?

  8. My team? Just love when someone doesn't have anything intelligent to say they resort to name calling. Thanks! :) Have a great day!

  9. ha ha ha, dealt with principals? You dumbass, he hired someone with a criminal record, fought with police, has a dui and broke federal education laws by putting thousands of kids at risk. Yup, he's a class act there anon! Oh, and the bond. . HA HA HA.. you're kidding right?

  10. Where is the info readily about graduation attendance? He doesn't even respond to emails.

  11. Anon 5:42

    I can not believe I am even acknowledging your post but we all have our moments.

    Since the Superintendent has been in his job he has passed a $348 million dollar bond that we will pay for until 2052 at a cost of $1.87 billion dollars of which $1.5 billion will never reach the classroom because it will be paying the interest. Great Job!

    He has lied to the Contra Costa Times about the bond survey and then refused to produce the document even under the Public Records Act. Great Job!

    He had no idea what the bond cost when he was asked by the editorial staff at the CCTimes while seeking their endorsement. Impressive!

    He refuses to communicate unless it is in his best interest and he wants something. Way to build a community!

    He moved a Principal from a stable school where she was well liked to another stable school without communicating with the local communities. Yahoo!

    He has now obtained approval from the BOE to appoint a Principal to an elementary school who has not been properly vetted. !!!

    And we wonder why there is a lack of trust and confidence in the district leadership. We are expecting leadership and I just don't see it. And that comment 5:42 wow. I think an "F" is exactly what he deserves.

  12. Interesting, I remember the teachers' union standing at board meetings holding a sign saying Gary McHenry received an F.

    So what exactly has improved?

    Hopefully the district people did not know about all of this because Chris Nugent did not disclose it. Until we know this is NOT the case, maybe we should all just back off.

  13. 7:10. I readily acknowledge that. I do not believe the board had any of this knowledge but I hold our Asst Superintendent of Personnel and the Superintendent himself to a higher standard. They are the ones conducting the search, the interviews and recommendations to the board. They should know better. District employees certainly have internet enabled computers (since some post here with obscenities), and can certainly use google in their recruiting arsenal. Most companies do. If not convicted of anything, I can see why none of this would've shown up on a DOJ or FBI check, but... it took someone on a blog all of about 30 seconds to figure it out. There's no excuse.

  14. 7:10, I acknowledge they may not have known from the application or resume process if Dr. Nugent did not disclose, but it took someone on a blog all of about 10 minutes to post what they found online. There's no excuse. I know the Dent Center has computers, I know they have google. I know that an online search of a name is a simple process, and important precaution many companies do now. I hold our Superintendent and our Personnel Office to a higher standard.

  15. Good reporting on this story. what a sham of an investigation must have taken place.

  16. The responsibility for the Nugent fiasco must be shared!

    The board approved him. If they needed more time to check him out, then they shouldn't have rubber-stamped the approval!

    The super recommended him! He should be listening to the staff and community, not just wasting our time!

    Julie Braun-Martin gets a huge piece of responsibility here too. It's HER job to check out the candidates.

    What a shame this has been. Thank god he resigned so we didn't have to pay him off to get him to leave. I encourage the Clayton community to band together and hold the district accountable and help them find a highly qualified leader!

  17. I emailed Lawrence last week, and received a reply from him the day he came back. Of course, he didn't say anything that I didn't already know, but at least he (or his secretary) responded.

  18. I e-mailed Mr. Lawrence after one of his town hall meetings (seems so long ago) I got no response.
    If we want change it has to happen at the polls. It is my opinion that we as a whole do not do any research we just keep voting in the same Cr*p that we always do. I am curious how the teachers feel about the board they wanted and talked all of us into electing? MDUSD is a joke and someone needs to take responsibility for this. We deserve better! Thank you for the update and the reporting was great.

  19. July 5, 2010 2:49 PM. Teacher at MDE. I am more concerned about you then the next principal at my daughter's school. You can't even spell. Hope your not teaching my kid next year.

  20. I can guess who the MDE teacher is... the same "woe is me" mess who supported her best friend the office manager. Go away Ms. C... it should've been you to have been transferred out. YOU teachers are about 80% of what is going wrong in that school. We're not stupid. Your political gaming just backfired, that's all.