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UPDATE: Parkmead Parents' Pleas to Keep Principal

A Parkmead Elementary school parent asks the superintendent and governing board to seriously consider their proposal to move Kathleen Scott to Walnut Heights Elementary.

The following are letters from two parents to Walnut Creek School District Superintendent Patty Wool and the district's governing board. They are concerned about a proposal to move Principal Kathleen Scott to Walnut Heights Elementary as part of a reshuffle of principals to fill vacancies at two of the district's five elementaries. The school board will likely make a final decision about the principal positions at a meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the district's offices. Sources say that parents plan to "march" on the school district offices before the meeting.

From Dave Wright, a local business owner:

Thank you for hearing the concerns raised by a concerned group of Parkmead parents. We truly appreciate the opportunity to have a public voice and are hopeful that our passion and commitment will compel the Board to pause and reflect upon the ramifications associated with relocating Dr. Scott.

While deliberating the pros and cons of change, be mindful that even “the best intentions,”which the Board clearly has, will often bear unforeseen complications or yield unwanted results. To minimize the risk of such unknowns, we advise the Board to hear the concerns of the Parkmead families and to consider what such a move will do to Dr. Scott’s new school when yet another void is created upon her eventual retirement.

Will the District truly benefit in this scenario? Or, will this put another group of caring and dedicated parents and faculty in the same position we find ourselves in now? While we fully empathize with the need to fill the vacant positions in a timely manner, a hasty decision regarding Dr. Scott is not the answer.

Parkmead and Dr. Scott have a unique, symbiotic relationship, and such a monumental decision requires due diligence. I wonder, has the Board approached Dr. Scott to garner her feelings about such a move? While such a consultation may not be “required,” it might serve the Board and the District well to enlist the expertise and feelings of Dr. Scott.

Given the uniqueness of the Parkmead campus and the challenges presented by the coexistence of PALS and PCS, governing the entity that is Parkmead presents robust challenges and requires a unique leadership skillset. It is the opinion of this group of parents, that it is through the leadership of Dr. Scott that PCS and PALS have flourished in recent years.

Parkmead is among the leaders in the API test scores and the community has a built quite a reputation for supporting educational programs (WCEF, PERC, PALS, to name a few) both financially and through blood, sweat and tears. We challenge the Board to find a more dedicated group of parents.

Our movement on behalf of Dr. Scott is evidence of our commitment to the excellence in education she has fostered at Parkmead Elementary and while we understand that she would be an invaluable asset to our sister schools, we have yet to hear an acceptable reason for her potential relocation. If your true and ultimate objective is “in the best interest of the District,” I challenge you to inform all of us how relocating Dr. Scott will benefit the District in a manner more significant to the legendary contributions she has made to Parkmead Elementary School.

Sincerely,
Dave Wright
Parkmead Parent and Local Business Owner

From Roger Kibbe:

I want to thank you for all the contributions and hard work that you have made towards the Walnut Creek school district. The community owes you a debt of gratitude.

This being said, in the strongest possible manner, I strenuously object to the rotation/shuffling of principals that is planned for the 2011-2012 school year. Although well meaning, you are making a grave mistake which will weaken the school district for years to come. In this era of ever shrinking state budgets and the incumbent challenges, making wholesale changes to leadership is an ill advised move.

Continuity and a steady hand at the till, for as many of our fine schools as possible, is what we need. The unavoidable challenges and disruption caused by a new principal should be limited to as few schools as possible. To force this change upon almost all the schools in the district is a grievous mistake.

Arthur, Katie, Angela, Jon-Michael and Barbara - listen to the out cry you are and will be hearing and you will realize that your are going against the will and support of the very people who have elected you and depend upon for any further support. Please support the community by limiting the disruption to as few schools as possible.

Superintendent Wool - listen to the outcry as well and realize you are going against the will and support of the very parents whose support is critical to your success. You have an opportunity to show strong leadership by admitting the error of the current direction and putting the school district, which desperately needs your strong leadership, on a path to success..

As a Walnut Creek resident and more importantly, a parent of Walnut Creek school district children, I urge you to strongly reconsider the principal rotation/shuffling plan and to rescind it. The community and our schools need your strong guiding hand in providing continuity and purpose in continuing to lead an outstanding school district.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Roger Kibbe

Katie Fries May 12, 2011 at 03:59 AM
Thank you for so clearly articulating the thoughts of so many Parkmead parents, Dave.
ally thorndike May 12, 2011 at 04:37 PM
Very well put, Dave. Thank you. We deserve a clear explanation of the motivation and rationale behind involving Parkmead and Dr. Scott in this proposed change. I agree with Katie Z -- "Each school deserves the RIGHT Principal for that school and the right Principal for Parkmead is Kathleen Scott."
Adina Holland May 12, 2011 at 05:13 PM
I agree with Katie Z -- "Each school deserves the RIGHT Principal for that school and the right Principal for Parkmead is Kathleen Scott."
Brandi Grant May 12, 2011 at 07:37 PM
Nicely put Dave and fellow concerned parents of Parkmead. I agree!
Kashina Warren-Hicks May 12, 2011 at 08:23 PM
Thank you so much for putting concerned parent's thoughts so eloquently into words Dave! I wholeheartedly agree with your letter as well as the posts in response to your letter.

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