District says goodbye to dedicated employee
Clem Donaldson retired June 30, but stays through end of month
Driving 70 miles to work everyday, often staying for late meetings, is employee dedication. For five years Clem Donaldson made the trek from Watsonville to Pleasanton to serve as the Pleasanton Unified School District's assistant superintendent of human resources.
Even though his retirement was effective June 30, he continues to make the hour and 20 minute drive until the end of this month as Bill Faraghan, the previous director of human resources, prepares to take on the role.
The human resources department is responsible for making negotiations with the teachers and classified employees as well as administrators. Donaldson said it's all about support.
"Human resources is a key position in any district, in my perspective," he said. "We are in the people business; we attract and hire teachers, administrators and classified staff. It's a lot of building support systems."
In his five years with the district, they have developed an administration credential program and built a Tri-Valley teacher credentialing program.
"It's not just to hire folks," he said," but we give them high quality support, especially in the beginning, and continue it. It's all about coaching them."
Those who attended school board meetings saw Donaldson sitting on the front right side of the board. Most of his work was dealt before those meetings in closed sessions, yet he didn't mind staying up late with the board. It's the board and the other people he worked with that he will miss the most.
"I work with the very best of people," he said. "You get a lot of really good people that are working for very rewarding reasons, supporting kids and education, therefore you run into quality people. Pleasanton has phenomenal employees, teachers and classified staff. It's really been a joy."
One of those people is Superintendent John Casey, whom he also worked with for five years in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District.
"I've worked with Clem for 10 years and during that time I found him to be a tireless worker," he said. "Importantly, he worked with the union to change the teacher evaluation system to provide more information to the teacher about how their doing and to provide them better ideas. He also brought to us the idea of coaching, so that new teachers and administrators have a coach to work with during their first two years."
For Donaldson, retirement might mean a shorter commute than time to kick back and relax. He will continue previous work with a new teacher center in Santa Cruz that focuses on teacher and administrative support.
Soon to join him in retirement will be his wife Marilyn Cook, who is also an assistant superintendent of human resources with a long commute to Palo Alto.
Donaldson looks forward to retirement, partly because he's confident in how things are going with Faraghan on the job.
"With the teams I see being built," he said, "I think things are going to continue to get better and stronger for the district, the kids and their families."