Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Message from the MDUSD campaign trail - Cheryl Hansen

Dear MDUSD Parents,

Whew! Our new school year is truly up and running, and my hope is that your students are already experiencing success.

As I’m hitting the School Board campaign trail and trying to get my message out, I am proud that dedicated MDUSD parents, classified and certificated staff, and district and site administrators have given me their support and endorsement. Your confidence in my integrity, competence, and leadership matters. Things are busy for me at the Contra Costa County Office of Education where I am Coordinator of Instructional Leadership.

Just to fill you in on a little of my background: I began my career in education as an MDUSD teacher and administrator where I served for 24 years at schools throughout our district: Oak Grove Middle, Olympic High, Northgate High, Ygnacio Valley High, and College Park High. I then moved on to Martinez USD as an Assistant Principal at Alhambra High.

And then I had the chance of a lifetime in administration: I was hired as the founding Principal of Rodriguez High School in Fairfield-Suisun USD and successfully opened the district’s third high school. Being able to build and develop a school curriculum, staff, culture, and community from the ground up was an amazingly rewarding experience and one that lives on as Rodriguez High became a California Distinguished School.

At CCCOE, I now apply my experience and knowledge to improve instruction and increase learning in schools and districts. Here are some of my current projects:

  • I’m collaborating with Contra Costa SELPA (special education) to provide training in standards-based instruction and IEPs to beginning teachers who want to obtain credentialing as special educators. Our focus is on helping these new teachers understand content standards, goal setting, high expectations, and increased access to grade-level curriculum for special education students.

  • Next week, I begin our fall session of leadership training for new and experienced principals, vice principals, and district administrators. Training administrators is one of the most critical parts of my job. I have many trainings scheduled throughout the year for administrators who wish to become more knowledgeable about school improvement or who need to complete Tier II for their administrative credential. (Visit our web site at to learn more about the program.)

  • I’m continuing work that began this summer with a group of elementary principals on standards-based instruction and leadership.

  • My work also continues with a middle school staff on understanding the content standards, raising the rigor of assignments, and applying research-based instructional strategies to improve student learning.

  • I’m also out visiting schools in MDUSD and other districts in our county as part of California’s Williams lawsuit settlement which requires that all 1-3 decile schools provide adequate instructional materials for students, qualified teachers, and a safe, healthy facility. The good news is that MDUSD staff has worked hard to meet the legal requirements, although we still have work to do to improve student learning for all students so that none of our schools is in the bottom three deciles.

As valuable as all of my work is, I’m still excited about and committed to being able to serve on the Mt. Diablo School Board. Again, thank you to the dedicated MDUSD parents, staff, and administrators who have endorsed me. You are the foundation of our district. Your trust and support keeps me focused on my priorities: 1) Student learning that prepares students for college and career, 2) responsible budgeting, 3) competent leadership, and 4) improved trust, respect, communication, and morale.

I look forward to serving on the School Board and to hearing from you about your interests, needs, and concerns. Email me or visit my website at for more information.

Thank you for this chance to post!

Cheryl Hansen


  1. Cheryl, your credentials and background are impressive and your statement is typically general. I would like answers to a few questions please.

    What did MDUSD do to allow six of its schools to be named "persistently underachieving schools'? What can MDUSD do to correct these schools ? What is your feeling about the recent reorganization of the curriculum department and new support department, assigning administrators to "coach" prinicipals ? How involved should the Supt be in the "solar project" ?
    Doctor J

  2. Yikes!! We finally get rid of the Super's council and now another one wants to take up space on the school board. Give me a break. I do not want to have to sit and listen to another administrative academic throwing around acronyms and "lingo". The school board needs someone who can represent the people--not the Superintendant. What a disaster this could be. We need parents outside of the education "circle" to hold these people accountable!

  3. Hi Cheryl,

    Maybe you have the guts to answer the following question:

    If you were on the current board and the board president accused a well respected community member of and I quote, "being an enemy of the children of MDUSD" would you request that the board president apologize publicly? Or would you continue to be a lapdog to him like the current board members?

  4. As a spouse of one of the Teacher of the Year honorees, it was a pleasure meeting you Thursday night. I understand you had interviewed and observed the semi-finalists. It's nice when a school board candidate takes an interest in honoring teachers.

    Great evening all the way around!