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Hart Middle School principal to be reassigned, but school board mum on reason why

District, board leaders say they can't discuss Terry Conde's move because it's a 'personnel issue'

Hart Middle School principal Terry Conde will be reassigned to another position due to a personnel issue, school board president Jamie Hintzke confirmed Thursday.

A timeline for Conde's removal and reassignment hadn't been announced as of Thursday afternoon, nor had information about when a new principal would be chosen.

Hintzke and school district spokesman Patrick Gannon said they couldn't comment on the reasons behind the reassignment, citing personnel privacy laws.

Conde, Hart's principal since 2010, said she couldn't comment on the matter when reached late Thursday evening.

Interim superintendent Jim Hansen declined to speak specifically about Conde or Hart Middle School, but he said in a statement regarding reassignments in general:

"In consultation with cabinet members, I am responsible for managing and maximizing talent. Our goal is to place staff in roles that have the most positive impact for the individual and for the district as a whole. Our current site administrator re-assignments are about optimizing talent.

"We understand that change does not come easily. These changes, while difficult, are being made to find the best fit for the overall organization with the long-term goal of stability and continuity for our school site leadership."

The board voted in closed session Tuesday night to approve of the reassignment of Conde, Hintzke confirmed. Conde's name was not listed on the board's public agenda nor mentioned by the board when its closed-session decisions were reported out.

At Tuesday's board meeting, six parents urged the board to keep Conde as Hart Middle School's principal. Half of them addressed the board before its closed session, with the other three speaking during the public comment when the regularly scheduled meeting began.

Hart parent Celeste Lopez asked the board to consider parents' comments when deciding whether to reassign Conde.

"She's a great leader, she's a very good principal," she told the board. "Hart is a very successful school."

Kirsten Schwartz, a parent of a Hart student, said she's been pleased with Conde's performance as principal and would like to see the school have some continuity with leadership.

Schwartz pointed out that some students matriculated from nearby Donlon Elementary, which went through a slew of principals over the last few years -- six since 2009.

"If you look at these kids from kindergarten to sixth grade, they've had an absurd number of principals," said Hart parent Brian Schwartz.

"My child has this idea that you change principals every year," said Hart parent Erika Schmitz.

Conde's leadership at Hart had been questioned publicly dating back to 2014, when multiple employee grievances were filed against her, one mentioning a "stern and intimidating tone and demeanor."

Janice Clark, teachers' union president, said during a school board meeting at that time that union officials and teachers had been arguing for Conde to be removed from Hart.

Clark said in an interview Thursday that the Association of Pleasanton Teachers' leadership has not held meetings regarding Conde's reassignment since 2014 and has not been involved with discussions about this decision.

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