After public outcry and an accusation by the district superintendent of compromised “integrity”, the search for a new principal of Laurelwood Elementary School will start over.
In a letter sent to the school’s families on April 20, Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Dr. Jose Gonzalez wrote:
“During an initial search for candidates, we sought feedback from stakeholders and used that to drive our interview process. Unfortunately, the integrity of the interview process became tainted when the committee’s deliberations, including protected personnel information for some of the candidates were leaked. This is unfair and unacceptable to all candidates involved and is counter to the type of employer we aspire to be.”
Gonzalez says the district consulted with labor association presidents and the superintendent’s cabinet before deciding to begin the search, interview and appointment process anew. SCUSD will hold a community meeting at Laurelwood Elementary on Tuesday, April 26 at 6 p.m. to discuss the issue. It has also created a community input survey for families.
Several parents within the Laurelwood community attended the SCUSD School Board meeting on April 7 to speak in favor of the school’s Assistant Principal Paul Fuller. Many of them were upset because they had heard Fuller would not be appointed the school’s next principal despite strong support from the school community.
Many believe the lack of communication about Fuller is just the latest instance of the district administration trying to deceive local families.
“This is not the first time that the Administration has taken action that feels like it may be intended to conceal information that should be open to the public under the California Open Records Act. The school district is supposed to operate in full view,” said Elizabeth, a Laurelwood parent.
“The administration’s actions seem to be pitting us against each other rather than showing that they have the best intentions for our students and teachers,” continued Elizabeth. “For example, earlier this year, the board added an item to a slide show right before a board meeting telling Laurelwood families that they no longer intend to build the school campus that has been promised for the past eight years and supported by two bonds. The dubious actions of the administration raise real concerns, not confidence, and the board should not be cornered into upholding decisions like this that do not seem to put our students and teachers first.”
The district assured the Laurelwood community that “each candidate is evaluated on his or her own merits and we will find and hire an exceptional principal to replace Dr. Rogers when she retires.”