By Tim Hunt
Interesting choice by Pleasanton school trusteesUploaded: Jun 25, 2015
When Pleasanton schools chief Parvin Ahmadi departs next week for the top job at the Castro Valley school district, there will be a familiar figure at the helm in Pleasanton.
Bypassing the typical pattern of bringing a retired superintendent to serve on an interim basis, school trustees instead selected retired Amador Valley High Principal Jim Hansen for that role. In addition to his Amador time, Jim also was principal at Harvest Park, but never worked in the district office.
That just may be an advantage as he can focus on operations at the sites—where the business of educating students happens—instead of "downtown" that should amount to back office services supporting the schools.
To replace the retired head of human resources, the trustees wisely brought back Diane Howell from retirement. Howell worked in personnel for many years and is well-qualified to take that role until the two key positions can be filled.
Presumably, the trustees will conduct and finish their search for a new superintendent and then let that person handle hiring the key personnel job. That position and the finance departments are the two areas that can create the most headaches for any superintendent.
Ted Kaye will retire next week after guiding the Las Positas College Foundation from its formative days into adulthood.
Ted, a second career guy in the non-profit sector after working with the Disney Company for 25 years, declined any public recognition. Instead, he and his wife, Dale, who is CEO of the Livermore chamber as well as CEO of Innovation Tri-Valley, have set up a fund to encourage innovation at the college.
They have established a fund to give grants to staff who pursue innovative solutions to the challenges facing the institution. It's open to all staff and now has topped $10,000, which will mean a $500 grant annually in perpetuity. As befits their style, it's long on impact and very short on bureaucracy.
A few months ago, I joined one of those neighborhood "NextDoor" groups. A post about a hot water recirculating system caught my eye. We can easily run a gallon of water into a bucket in one shower before the water gets warm and it takes twice as long in another bathroom.
We installed a Watt recirculating pump—it bolts right on to the water heater, plugs into an electric outlet, and includes a special valve that ties the hot and cold water systems together at the farthest point from the water heater.
To say we have been delighted would be an understatement. We have hot water in both showers in literally seconds (it is programmable, but the showers among the several adults in the house, take place throughout the day so I am running it full-time). It is so efficient that we cannot fill our Brita filter with cold water before the water is hot. (We have soft water only on the hot water side—it's an ancient house.)
Check them out. It was about $200 at Home Depot.
My friends at Valley Plumbing recommend a system that they believe is more durable as well as more expensive. It has worked so well for us that the amount of water we collect in the "warm-up phase" is so minimal that we will have to start watering our house plants with tap water.