Tag Archives: BUSD Superintendent

Schools superintendent to hold Town Hall meetings

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Donald Evans, the new superintendent for Berkeley schools, has scheduled three community Town Hall meetings in the month of October.

Evans, who used to hold similar gatherings in his previous post as superintendent of the Hayward Unified School District, said he hopes to use the get-togethers to talk about his ideas for the city’s public schools and to hear from the community about “how to take our schools to the next level of excellence for all students.”

The meetings are in line with Evans’ self-described collaborative management approach. Speaking to Berkeleyside in July, he said: “Before I make a decision, I want to hear everybody’s voice. Some people don’t like that. But I feel like you might bring out something that I probably have not thought about that could be critical for me in making a major decision. It’s really important for me to understand why you think and how you think in terms of how we move this organization forward. … Continue reading »

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Schools

New Berkeley superintendent Evans: ‘This is my ministry’

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On his third day as superintendent of Berkeley Unified School District, Donald Evans’ office still had a just-moved-in feel, with few personal effects on the walls or his desk. Pride of place on the desktop was a freshly bound copy of the school district’s annual budget, already looking well thumbed.

Berkeleyside met with Evans so early in his tenure not to grill him about Berkeley issues — he understandably said he needs time to develop his thinking on the specifics — but to hear from the new superintendent about what brought him to Berkeley, and what he views as the major challenges of the post.  … Continue reading »

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Hayward chief named Berkeley schools superintendent

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The Berkeley Unified School Board on Wednesday night formally appointed Donald Evans as the new Berkeley superintendent of schools by approving his contract. Evans, who was has been superintendent of the Hayward Unified School District for the past two years, will take up the position on July 1.

Berkeley Unified Board President Karen Hemphill said the board had been impressed with Evans’ experience and achievements, as well as his reputation for forging fruitful partnerships and having a collaborative leadership style. In Hayward, Evans held two town hall meetings for the community every year, for example.

“When we look at his body of work, he ticks a lot of the boxes that we wanted in Berkeley,” Hemphill said.

One of Evans’ last tasks in Hayward was submitting a plan to the district to raise the achievement levels of African American students, an issue of direct relevance to Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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Schools

Hayward chief is finalist for BUSD superintendent spot

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A national search for a new Berkeley schools superintendent has ended practically right next door in Hayward with the announcement Friday morning that Donald Evans has been chosen by the School Board as its preferred finalist for the position.

Evans has been superintendent of the Hayward Unified School District since 2011, and has previously worked in Compton, Oakland and East Palo Alto. He started out as an elementary school teacher in San Diego in 1988.

Karen Hemphill, Berkeley School Board president, said Evans’ range of experiences — with elementary and secondary students, and struggling students as well as high-performers — and his long history in California set him apart from the pack. … Continue reading »

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School board launches new superintendent search

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The Berkeley Unified School District board has launched a new search for a superintendent, following the failure of two attempts to appoint a new head last year. The board has engaged Ray & Associates, an executive search firm that specializes in education, to lead a nationwide search for a new superintendent. The job posting cites a “tradition of excellence rooted in a vibrant community.”

As part of the new search, the board is planning to issue a survey this Friday, and will hold community forums for input on Feb. 28, Mar. 1 and 2. The intention is to interview semifinalists for the post at the end of March.  … Continue reading »

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BUSD board vows to be more inclusive in new chief search

The Berkeley School Board at its Wednesday night meeting. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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A seemingly chastened Berkeley school board announced Wednesday night that it will restart its search for a new superintendent in early 2013  and will be more open and inclusive in the process.

Before opening the meeting to public comments, Leah Wilson read a statement from an iPad that the entire board had put together, presumably at its Tuesday closed-door session when it was scheduled to discuss Edmond Heatley’s selection for superintendent. But Tuesday morning, before the meeting, Heatley withdrew his name from consideration.

“We agree with and respect Dr. Heatley’s conclusion that despite his experience, skills, and achievements as an educator, Berkeley is not the right fit and we support his decision to withdraw,” said Wilson. “The Board acknowledges how difficult this time has been for everyone involved. We are and will be committed to serving and supporting all our children and their families. When we re-initiate this search after winter break, the Board is committed to doing so in a manner that reflects our community’s request for greater inclusivity and transparency.” … Continue reading »

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News

BUSD: Potential chief had “too much explaining to do”

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Now that its one finalist for the post of superintendent has withdrawn his candidacy, the Berkeley Unified School District board will probably not begin looking in earnest again for a replacement to retired superintendent Bill Huyett until late winter or early spring 2013.

“Any superintendent of merit is already sitting in a superintendent job,” said Board President John Selawsky on Tuesday afternoon, the day Edmond Heatley, former schools superintendent of Clayton County, Georgia, removed his name from consideration.

Selawsky said Heatley’s withdrawal was provident, because there was so much negativity associated with him. “Could he possibly be successful here?” said Selawsky. “He would have had too much explaining to do.”

At issue, said Selawsky, was Heatley’s role in the passage of a resolution in support of Proposition 8 when he was superintendent in San Bernardino County’s Chino Valley school district. Selawski said the board did not hear about this until “very late in the process,” specifically shortly before the Sept. 12 BUSD board meeting when members of the public made reference to it. “It might have made it easier if we had known earlier,” Selawsky said. … Continue reading »

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Lessons learned from the Edmond Heatley fiasco

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Now that the search for the Superintendent of the Berkeley schools is back at square one, there will be plenty of time for members of the community to engage with the Board on the substance and process of their continued search. But the fiasco that just unfolded offers a few obvious lessons that the Board would be wise to heed.

Lesson #1: This is a smart, thoughtful, resourceful community. We know the difference between real engagement and lip service. This … Continue reading »

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Schools

Heatley withdraws candidacy for BUSD Superintendent

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Edmond Heatley has withdrawn his candidacy for the post of Berkeley Schools district Superintendent. Heatley was the only candidate in the running, after the school board let it be known on Aug. 31 that they had narrowed to field down to one.

An alert released by BUSD at 8:38am today reads:

In an email to Board President John T. Selawsky Dr. Edmund Heatley said: “I want to thank you personally for all of your time and support. I have attached my letter of withdrawal from candidacy for the position of Superintendent of the Berkeley Unified School District. I wish you, the Board and Community of Berkeley nothing but success in the future.”

The Board will be meeting in the days and weeks ahead to determine the next step. President Selawsky stated, “We will advise the community as soon as we have determined what that next step will be. Fortunately we have two very capable interim superintendents doing a great job of running the District while we work this out.” … Continue reading »

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Schools

Questions about Heatley’s role in Prop 8 resolution swirl

Anti-Heatley campaigners at Wednesday night's school board meeting. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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The pending appointment of Edmond Heatley as superintendent of Berkeley schools has been vocally protested this week by parents and teachers who are concerned about his role in the passage of a resolution in support of Proposition 8 when he was superintendent in San Bernardino County’s Chino Valley school district. But the then-president of the Chino Valley board said yesterday that Heatley was merely putting together an agenda item on his instructions. Proposition 8 sought to outlaw marriage equality in California.

Yesterday, teachers at Oxford Elementary School wrote to the school board “in strong opposition” to the hiring of Heatley: “We write to you today as advocates for ALL students and families. We oppose the hiring of Dr. Heatley, and are appalled that he is the sole finalist for the position of superintendent.” An informal survey on Berkeleyside yesterday had 401 votes (74%) advocating the board withdraw Heatley from consideration, 74 (14%) urging more time for investigation, and 66 (12%) urging that the board keep Heatley as a finalist.

Neither Berkeley school board members nor Heatley responded to Berkeleyside’s requests for interviews.  … Continue reading »

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Schools

Should BUSD withdraw the Heatley nomination?

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According to information uncovered last night, Edmond Heatley, the sole finalist for superintendent of Berkeley schools, pushed a resolution supporting Proposition 8 when he was superintendent in Chino Valley in 2008. The school board announced last night that it was slowing down the process of appointing a new superintendent, so next week’s scheduled vote on Heatley’s appointment will not take place.

Berkeleyside this morning contacted a number of school board directors to discuss Heatley’s background, the details of the … Continue reading »

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Superintendent candidate supported Prop 8 in Chino post

Anti-Heatley campaigners at Wednesday night's school board meeting. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Edmond Heatley, the sole finalist for the vacant post of superintendent of Berkeley’s schools, wrote a memo in 2008 urging Chino Valley’s Board of Education to approve a resolution in support of Proposition 8, the measure to prohibit marriage equality in California.

At the time, Heatley was superintendent in Chino Valley. His memo stated:

“If Proposition 8 is not successful, then school districts throughout California will inevitably be required to adjust their policies and curriculum to align with the Court’s recent redefinition of marriage.

“This resolution also recognizes that the ideal learning environment for children is within a nurturing home governed jointly by a mother and a father as primary educators of their children.”

The resolution was passed by a 4-0 vote by the Chino Valley board. The memo was on the agenda of the Sept. 4, 2008 board meeting in Chino Valley USD.

Berkeley schools, in contrast, adopted the Human Rights Campaign’s Welcoming Schools curriculum in 2010, and BUSD and the City of Berkeley have sought to be in the forefront in LGBT-friendly policies. Heatley’s support of the controversial Prop 8 came under fire during public testimony at last night’s meeting of the Berkeley school board. The board announced last night that it is putting the brakes on the appointment of a new superintendent and taking more time to assess Heatley.  … Continue reading »

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Heatley’s Broad Academy connections attract criticism

Edmond Heatley, who briefly was a candidate for the superintendent's job at BUSD.
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The credentials of Edmond Heatley, the only finalist for the vacant Berkeley schools superintendent post, have come under fire from the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, as well as from individual teachers and parents.

The BUSD board is scheduled to decide on Heatley at its meeting next Wednesday night, but vocal opponents of the appointment are expected to be out in force for public testimony at tonight’s board meeting. The board is also expected to discuss the Heatley appointment in closed session tonight.

The focus for much of the criticism is Heatley’s training at The Broad Superintendent’s Academy, a program designed to take people who may not have education backgrounds and train them to lead “large urban school districts, state departments of education and high-growth public charter systems”. Broad Academy graduates run many of the nation’s largest school districts, including the Chicago Public Schools, where teachers are now on strike.

Cathy Campbell, president of the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, sent her executive board an email on Monday raising questions about the Broad Academy connection. … Continue reading »

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