No decision, no new information on principal's ouster

30 come out in support of Vranesh before board closed session

The Pleasanton School Board took no action regarding ousted Walnut Grove Principal Jon Vranish on Tuesday night, despite a push for the board to say what led to his being placed on leave.

Thirty people, including colleagues, parents of current and former students and friends, attended the meeting. Ten spoke before the board went into closed session.

That session lasted more than an hour, but Board President Jeff Bowser left the session after less than five minutes to tell waiting audience members that the board would make no decision that night.

Bowser originally tried to limit comments to a minute apiece -- as was the case in the board's Nov. 12 meeting -- but he bumped the time limit to three minutes when questioned by Board Member Jamie Hintzke.

Many who spoke before the board went into its closed-door meeting raised the same criticisms and concerns as they did in the last school board meeting: a poor job of letting parents know Vranesh had been placed on leave, no word on why the action was taken and requests for him to be reinstated.

"The lack of communication has not helped the parents," said Walnut Grove parent Jeremy McCarthy. He said he learned of Vransh's being placed on administrative leave when his kids started asking where the principal was.

"All you guys have done has created mistrust in this community," said Bruce Henry, who questioned whether the issue was somehow related to Bowser's run for county school superintendent.

Three of Vranesh's colleagues from his time at Pleasanton Middle School read a letter signed by 30 of those he worked with, noting that Vranesh "always strived to create a safe school environment for all."

Two other colleagues also spoke, saying Vranesh "always had the kids' best interest in mind."

One parent questioned the board's timing for its closed door session held during the school's Thanksgiving break.

"This issue has dragged on for five weeks," said Erin Lyions. "I do not believe the timing is a coincidence."

Vranesh attended the board meeting with his attorney, Paul Kondrick. Neither spoke.

It remains unknown what led to Vranesh's being placed on leave. However, Vranesh offered a prepared statement after it became known he had been replaced by an interim principal.

"I put the Pleasanton Unified School District on notice months ago regarding situations that negatively affect staff safety, working conditions and a conducive environment for instruction and student learning," Vranesh said. "Rather than taking effective action to eliminate those conditions, they put me on administrative leave."

Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi, however, said that's not the reason for Vranesh's being placed on leave.

"We have explained the reasons for this personnel action to both Mr. Vranesh and his attorney. The rules covering employee privacy do not allow us to comment on them publicly at this time," Ahmadi said in a response to Vranesh's statement.

At the Tuesday night meeting, parent Chris Jacob questioned whether Vranesh's safety concerns were ever addressed.

"We don't know what these issues were, whether they were ever looked into or not," Jacob told the board, adding if it's a safety issue, "you should all be held accountable legally."

Meanwhile, the school has its third principal in less than six weeks. Vranesh was originally replaced by interim principal Richard Puppione. He stepped down Nov. 21 due to health issues.

Steve Maher has come out of retirement as the school's interim principal, according to a message from Ahmadi, posted on the Walnut Grove school website.

Maher, a 40-year veteran of the district, will begin his official duty at Walnut Grove on Dec. 2 and will work with Puppione to make the transition.


Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Nov 27, 2013 at 7:14 pm



Like this comment
Posted by Not surprised
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 27, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Not surprising. Our school board and superintendent all need to be replaced

Like this comment
Posted by Not the board
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 27, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Our teachers union is out of control. I am a teacher and know that just a few teachers are doing as much as they possibly can to sabotage all administration. It is a sad thing to see. We all need to work together to bring our students the absolute best education. The world is changing and Pleasanton needs to come out of the dark ages and improve. As the administration ask us to improve there are teachers who will do anything within their means to wreak havoc on this district rather than change. In the end the only people who suffer are your children. The teachers in this district are the root of the conflict.

Like this comment
Posted by Another parent who supports Vranesh
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Nov 27, 2013 at 8:37 pm

I am very glad Mr. Vranesh has retained Mr. Paul Rondrick as his attorney. He appears to have a very good track record. He also has filed lawsuits against those that made libelous accusations against his past clients in other cases:

"Meanwhile yesterday, Kondrick filed a lawsuit on Bartel's behalf against at least 14 defendants (and perhaps as many as 214) alleging defamation, invasion of privacy, interference with contractual relations and/or prospective economic relations/advantage; discrimination, harassment and retaliation; intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress and a request that those who defamed Bartel make it known publicly their comments were false."

Like this comment
Posted by Not the teacher
a resident of Amador Estates
on Nov 27, 2013 at 9:48 pm

I am calling "not the board" out as a liar. It is my opinion that you are deliberately misleading in your statement that you are a teacher. I believe you are hiding behind an anonymous comment section and lying about being a teacher. You say the teachers union is out of control and then go on to say it is only a few teachers who are out destroying everything and everyone in their path. This conflicting statement is just the start of a ludicrous post that does nothing but attack and blame Pleasanton teachers for...well so, so much. Though not much of it is in any way related to the article or the issue concerning Jon Vranesh.

This article says nothing about teachers, yet you have chosen this articles comment section to attack the teachers of Pleasanton? Pleasanton Teachers are also included in those supporting Jon Vranesh. You have chosen to veer off topic so that you can attack and blame Pleasanton Teachers for sabotaging ALL Pleasanton school administrators, keeping the city of Pleasanton in the "Dark Ages," causing conflict, refusing to work harder and change, working very hard to destroy and wreak havoc throughout the district, and of course make the children of Pleasanton suffer.

This talk of absolutes and your exaggerating give you away.

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

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