Posted on 07 December 2013.
Dear Crocker Community:
As you know, Mrs. Kelleher was assigned to Crocker as our interim principal this fall. OUSD will be reviewing her placement and making a formal recommendation this winter (late January) about whether she should be assigned to the school as our permanent principal. We would like our community to provide a strong statement to OUSD that we support Mrs. Kelleher’s appointment to the school and would like to see her as our permanent principal. We have spoken with parents at another OUSD school who indicated that they were able to provide this show of support through collection of letters from the community stating their support for their principal.
To that end, we have drafted a letter and would like to ask members of the community to sign a copy of this letter (or draft their own). We will collect these letters and present them to our representative from OUSD when she meets with the community, which will happen either right before or right after the winter break. This is not required and no one should feel pressured to do so. But, we are hoping that through this show of support, we can streamline this process and ensure the continuity of school leadership is preserved.
Copies of the letter will be available for you to sign in the office and people will be on the playground at drop off and pick up next week. You can also download it here or email one of us to send you a copy. We need an individual letter from each family, with an original signature. Please leave signed letters in the PTA box outside the office.
Please let us know if you have any questions.
Thanks so much,
Lesley Podesta and Louise Bedsworth
community letter to OUSD
Follow-Up Email on Letter of Support:
Dear Crocker Community,
We wanted to follow-up and further explain the interim principal selection process a bit more. Thank you to those of you who have already expressed your support of Mrs. Kelleher, and thank you also to those of you who have sent in questions and concerns. Hopefully we’ll be able to address as many of those questions and concerns here.
First of all, the statement of support that we sent out yesterday is not a PTA position – the PTA has not taken formal action on this, nor do we think it is appropriate for us to do so. We have been reaching out to OUSD – both throughout the summer and over the fall. We met with Sondra Aguilera, OUSD Regional Executive Officer PreK-8, Region 1, this summer and were given an overview of how the selection process would proceed. However, since that time OUSD has not been very communicative and did not follow through on holding regular community meetings this Fall.
We felt that this would be a positive way that we could try to engage in the process and reach out to OUSD. There have been no reservations expressed about Mrs. Kelleher in this position from the community (to us or to OUSD). OUSD reps have met with the teachers, who have expressed overwhelming support for Mrs. Kelleher. We also attended and discussed this at a School Site Council meeting and the group also expressed their support. Since the SSC is a body that includes equal teacher and parent representation, it seems to be an appropriate forum to consider such issues. We took all of those signs together and chose this course of action.
Of course, silence is not consent. If there is strong opposition, people should express that to OUSD in whatever way they feel is best, beginning with the community meeting at the end of January.
All of that being said, we believe that OUSD’s formal selection process works like this:
1) OUSD develops an eligible candidate pool through online applications, application reviews, interviews and reference checks.
2) School-Site Community Matching Process that includes a community announcement, community-wide Principal Selection Meeting, and the formation of a Principal Recommendation Committee.
3) Final Candidate Recommendations are made through network executive reviews and provides input to the superintendent. The superintendent selects the principal, and the Network Executive officer reports back to the Principal Recommendation Committee.
From what we have heard, this process will begin in January, and will hopefully end by June.
However, the Crocker community (including parents, teachers, staff, and students) can choose to forego the formal process if we feel satisfied that Mrs. Kelleher is performing well and ask that OUSD hire her permanently as Crocker’s Principal. The community engagement meeting date hasn’t yet been set for January, but we anticipate that after community engagement, a paper vote will be taken. The vote will decide whether to make Mrs. Kelleher the Principal or go through OUSD’s Principal Selection Process. In order to expedite this process and give OUSD a strong sense of Crocker’s commitment to hiring Mrss. Kelleher, in partnership with Crocker’s School Site Council, we have created the retention letter that was attached to yesterday’s email (and is attached below).
We hope that this clarifies the situation a bit more. We appreciate all of the thoughtful questions and concerns that people are raising, and look forward to continuing discussion with all of you and with OUSD soon.
Louise Bedsworth and Lesley Podesta