Amador Valley parents, staff discuss what they want in a new principal

District plans to have finalist selected by June 22

Staff and parents of Amador Valley High School students want much the same things of an incoming principal to replace retiring Principal Bill Coupe, Jr.: Someone who's visible, collaborative and can help teachers be their best.

Parents even joked that they wouldn't mind someone who was independently wealthy and would be willing to work for free, either.

The school district held two forums seeking input Thursday, one with staff and a second with parents. Assistant Superintendent Bill Faraghan led the meetings, asking parents and staff three questions:

What's working well at Amador?

What are some of the challenges?

What are the characteristics you want in a new leader?

Much of what parents said was positive. Al Cohen, for instance, praised the vice principals at the school.

"First of all, they're young," he said. "It helps in this day and age to be able to relate to the students."

A number of parents agreed that Coupe's leadership has brought the school's former "wild west" atmosphere under control, and they like that he's accessible to students, parents and staff.

The group agreed they'd like a principal who's more collaborative with parents, especially parent volunteers they envision picking up slack as the school cuts staff.

Parents also said that bullying at the school remains a problem. Most pointed out the recent death of a young girl as an example of how prevalent that can be.

Parents want a new principal to can connect with kids immediately, and one who listens to parents but stands up for staff -- "someone who can say 'no' to parents in a positive way" when their demands are unreasonable, as one of the parents said.

School board member Jamie Hintzke wants a new principal to focus on staff development.

It would be nice to have somebody who works with poor teachers, either helping them get better or get rid of them," Hintzke said. Most parents agreed.

They'd also like a new principal to be involved in activities, attending events like football games and band concerts.

Faraghan said the plan is to have candidates be interviewed by a group of 10 to 12 people, with two to six selected for interviews with the superintendent's cabinet.

"The end goal is to try to get a finalist to the board meeting on June 22," he said.

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by Amador Mom
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 21, 2010 at 10:18 am

I am concerned that this story gives the impression that the death of Amador student Evelyn earlier this year was due to bullying. There has never been any indication that this was the case.

Like this comment
Posted by Oh please
a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on May 21, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Hintzke, stop kissing up to the parents so you can be voted back into office. Amador has amazing test scores and yet your response is getting rid of teachers who are not performing? Why don't you focus on real needs instead of worrying about the next election.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on May 21, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Sounds like a job that I could step right into! But wait, I'm retired...sorry!

I have no plans to work...I rest my case!

You might want to consider somebody at the country club who gives the impression that she's loaded and might work for free.

HINT: she give out big tips and XMAS presents. Interested?

Like this comment
Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Why all the parent input? Do the people at our district office have no idea what makes a good principal?

Ok, input is good, but they shouldn't be basing the decision solely on what the parents want. It would be like always making dinner based on what your 6 year old wants

I vote for Cholo! Yes on Cholo! No on PP or QQ or TT or YY!

Like this comment
Posted by D W
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2010 at 1:45 pm

How about a new principal that is strong with budget, self-discipline, and media & other communications, including bloggers whose influence may be too big (thank goodness mine isn't, LOL) and can affect the school for worse? Learning + managing + communicating + sound judgment (unlike misguided passion) = a solid leader. I, for one, am confident that one of the Eastbay's greatest high schools will find that ideal successor to Mr. Coupe.

Like this comment
Posted by Mean girls
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Well, Evelyn crossed my mind, when listening to the radio this today. A Pleasanton parent was calling in to an expert on teenagers,
asking about handling her daughter being bullied by "MEAN" girls in Pleasanton schools. There is NOTHING I dispise more, and have LESS tolerance for, than arrogant, entitled, snoty, mean girls, who grow into big bitxxxx. Do they see it at home? ...doesn't matter, schools, including teachers, weak scared principals, and aloof parents cannot tolerate it...That can REALLY blow a district's reputation FAST ! I wouldn't tolerate that for my kids for 5 minutes! I never heard of this in earlier generations.. Is it TV ? I was an adult before I knew there were young bitxxxx.

Like this comment
Posted by Karen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2010 at 6:31 pm

OOOhhh... "Mean Girls" must have had some bad experiences in life. I am sorry. I didn't and neither did my daughters at Amador.

Anyway, my 4 kids are out of Amador and in college/working but I have very positive feelings about Mr. Coupe. My 2 olders kids were at 2 other high schools (we moved a lot) and I KNOW FOR SURE that he was an effective principal. I never cared whether he knew my name or said hello - what I DID care about was that if he hired a teacher who wasn't working out, he didn't waste any time getting rid of them and trying for something better the next year. He didn't perpetuate the tenure disaster. (Oh...thank you for that!!!!!!) I can't tell you how much I appreciated that! The 2 principals I knew at other high schools were soooo cozy with teachers that they couldn't do the right thing. (That is also the case at PMS, IMHO).

Ok. Said enough.

I would just want a principal who will stand up to teachers
(his/her peers).

I also LOVE the way the Amador landscaping always looked soooo clean and cared for (better than Foothill) and a school sect'y told me that Mr. Coupe was responsible for that.

I also appreciate that when my daughter had a hissy fit in his office about a teacher (lazy in our family opinion), he was patient listened and seemed to know that she really needed someone to listen.

Like this comment
Posted by a parent
a resident of Downtown
on May 21, 2010 at 6:33 pm

How about a principal that will stand up to the teachers unions and get rid of bad teachers and commend the good ones!!!

Like this comment
Posted by Mean girls
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Sorry Karen, you can't or didn't read. Apparently, I had nothing but sheltered, happy experiences. I never realized, until recent years that these horrors go on.
When my son went to Amador, years ago, I knew of no proglems. The Pleasanton Mom who, called in to the counselor didn't say WHICH school her daughter attended, NOR DID I !!! They do offer adult reading classes ! I see news report of other towns and was surprised and disappointed to learn there are 'MEAN BULLY' girls in Pleasanton.(her words). Sorry to tell the world. Maybe you're not tuned in to what's happening here. I don't know which school! As a resident, I will again say, any parent in denial that tolerates that crap, as some point will suffer the consequences, as will the misguided daughters. BULLY Bitxxxs are taught early and cannot be tolerated in any school, in any town. Parents, teachers, principals, law enforcement, all need spines. I just don't like it in my town.
In Pleasanton it's not from being deprived, but possibly being given too much, without any guidance. Kids pick up when there's just denial, knee-jerk defending, and tsk, tsk.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on May 21, 2010 at 9:37 pm

If I am chosen, I promise the following:

. A chicken in every pot and a pot for every chicken!
. No teacher's union, but guaranteed annual teacher's raiser of 27%.!
. Paid holidays for everybody, even students, amounting to $1,000 annually!
. Not PTA led by a snitch!
. Only day of academic classes to be conducted in Spanish and German!
. Uniforms for all students....FREE!
. Busy body teachers and students...fired & expelled for 6 months for the 1st offense
. Weekly perks and suprise grab bags!



Like this comment
Posted by Rick
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Just getting rid of Coupe is a big improvment. Does anyone wonder why Amador never wins anything in sports? Bad management.

Like this comment
Posted by Karen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 23, 2010 at 10:17 am

To "Mean Girls":

The tone of your posts contradicts your message on mean girls.

Like this comment
Posted by Karen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 23, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Amador just won EBAL in baseball. They are also leading in boys lacrosse.

Like this comment
Posted by amador parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 24, 2010 at 9:26 am

The way the sports teams are run at Amador are at the direction of the A.D., Lou Cesario. He sees no issue with the way that kids are treated on the teams - boys and girls alike. I think we've lost focus on what being on a high school team teaches. These teams are not club teams, where cost is no object and the only goal is to win. High School teams should include all able bodied kids, whether their family has money or not. These teams should be teaching teamwork, humility and diligence - not favoritism, belittling and self loathing. Coupe, a so-so soccer coach, sees no problem with disciplining an entire team when there is inappropriate behavior. NCS titles are not everything. High School is our last chance to teach these children how to be honest, humble adults - not prima donnas. We need a principal who will listen, stand up to the teacher's union and not bow down to the A.D. when it comes to how student athletes are treated.

Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of California Reflections
on May 24, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Well, in order how to teach these children how to be honest, humble adults we need to start with their parents.

Like this comment
Posted by amador parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 24, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Parent: I wholeheartedly agree! Parents?

Like this comment
Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 25, 2010 at 10:44 pm

You're all kidding about the sports stuff, right?

Like this comment
Posted by The Tyranny will end!
a resident of Charter Oaks
on May 26, 2010 at 9:31 pm

I appreciate that one of the parents above has a positive view of Coupe but it does not appear to be the overarching opinion of all Amador Families. Yes, while he has let some ineffective teachers go he has also hired a lot of his pals who are not qualified to teach and hangs on to them dearly. My son has has a horrific experience with an un-credentialed teacher who Coupe hired to coach and teach (coaching always comes first!). With all the layoffs last year I am sure they could have found a more qualified teacher but this man does not care. He does nothing to preserve or attract talented teachers.
I hope that our next principal is qualified and passionate about teaching and developing new teachers. This is a great school and great staff.

Like this comment
Posted by Really?
a resident of Downtown
on May 27, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Amador Parent, While I agree with some of your rant above, I take great first hand exception to the elusion that Mr. Coupe "bows down" to the A.D. This feedback shows you have no real direct first person insight into Amador Valley Management. Having been a parent and coach at the school I can assure you that maybe the single biggest complaint by coaches about the A.D. is that he takes all direction virtually unquestioned by Principle Coupe. I do believe at Foothill that A.D. Matt Sweeney has and always has had, far more latitude from both previous and current administrations, to do as he pleases in regards to athletics. I think it is definately parents of kids at Amador who think the administration at AV dosen't care about being competitive in sports far more than the players on any of the teams at the school.

As soon as most kids get to college, they have long forgotten about games lost and cross town rivalry's. Can't say the same for their parents.

Like this comment
Posted by hughseyp
a resident of Ridgeview Commons
on May 29, 2010 at 2:32 pm

hi guys new here, forums looking good


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Ridgeview Commons

on Jun 5, 2017 at 5:31 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Couples: "When Good People Have Affairs" by Mira Kirshenbaum
By Chandrama Anderson | 3 comments | 2,525 views

Castlewood members considering offer from Bay Club
By Tim Hunt | 0 comments | 603 views