New principal appointments at Amador, Harvest Park

Also: Employment extension for Haglund, multiple plan approvals

The Pleasanton school board unanimously appointed new principals at both Amador Valley High School and Harvest Park Middle School Tuesday night.

Alberto Solorzano joins Amador from Dublin Unified School District, where he served as director of secondary education. Terry Brenner, an associate principal at Acalanes High School in Lafayette, is set to assume the Harvest Park post.

The official decision to appoint them both was made during closed session, after a “brand-new interview process,” according to board president Mark Miller. The new appointees were announced at the beginning of a sparsely attended open meeting.

Solorzano thanked the board and district staff for the appointment. “I’m truly honored to be named principal of Amador Valley High School,” he said. “It’s an exceptional school, with a wonderful, dedicated staff and simply amazing students. I’m really eager to become one of the Amador family.”

Solorzano worked in Dublin for the past school year. Prior to that, he was a principal and school administrator at all levels in the Livermore Valley Joint Unified and New Haven Unified school districts, according to district staff.

Brenner also thanked the board, adding that she enjoyed the new interview process Miller had referenced.

“I came home after going through that and I said to my husband, ‘I have never had so much fun interviewing for a job. It was a lot of fun,’” Brenner said.

“I am so looking forward to my time here, and I can’t wait to get started,” she added.

Brenner also began working at Acalanes this past school year. Before that, she served as a school administrator in Washington and Wisconsin, and has also worked as a classroom teacher at both the elementary and middle school levels, according to the district.

The two positions’ vacancies were made public in May. The Harvest Park principalship first opened up after Robin Munsell, the school’s principal of just under two years, unexpectedly resigned early in the month. While she sent out an email to families announcing her resignation, the message did not elaborate on why she was leaving the middle school, and she did not respond to the Weekly’s requests for comment regarding her reasons.

The Amador vacancy became public knowledge when the school board trustees announced at their May 22 meeting that Michael Williams, the school's principal at the time, was headed to the district office next year to assume the position of director of human resources.

In addition to the two new principals selected, the board also announced two other appointments Tuesday night: Ashley Sprader as the new coordinator of Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) and Susan Rittel as project manager of facilities and construction.

In other business

*Trustees approved a new employment contract with Superintendent David Haglund, who has been with the Pleasanton Unified School District for nearly a year.

The new contract will take effect July 1 and continue through June 30, 2022, and “supersedes and completely replaces the prior employment agreement,” staff wrote in their report -- the previous contract was set to last from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2020.

The new agreement calls for a new salary schedule with a step increase of 4% per year, starting with the upcoming school year. This would increase Haglund’s base salary to $281,112 -- board president Mark Miller noted that a previous calculation error had led to an incorrect total listed in the agenda.

“This new contract goes a long way toward ensuring the stability and longevity of the superintendent position,” Miller said. “I’m very happy Dr. Haglund offered to extend his contract up to a four-year term.”

*The board unanimously approved a series of plans that had been discussed and revised over the past few months, including: the 2018-19 district budget, the District Technology Plan for 2018-21, the 2018-21 Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and the Measure I1 Facilities Master Plan.

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2 people like this
Posted by PtownMom
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 27, 2018 at 9:43 am

A "new" interview process? Well, let's hope so...and hope it actually included background checks/vetting. Sigh...

9 people like this
Posted by Iffy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 27, 2018 at 10:38 am

I hope we promised them a retroactive pay raise and a bonus if they last a whole year.

2 people like this
Posted by Livermore Parent
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 27, 2018 at 11:49 am

You hired a former principal of Livermore High School to be the principal of Amador? What is stopping you from taking Kelly Bowers away from us?

5 people like this
Posted by Jenn
a resident of Valley Trails
on Jun 27, 2018 at 12:39 pm

Both of these individuals are taking steps down. I doubt that these appointments will last... Another revolving-door choice.

9 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jun 27, 2018 at 2:09 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I don’t think Brenner is a step down; she moved from being an associate principal (assistant principal) to a principalship. I would worry more that both these appointees served only a very short time in their prior positions. I hope they will find these new positions satisfying enough to stay a few years.

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 27, 2018 at 2:24 pm

I would also think that Brenner is also a step down who was a Directing Principal at a high school in Washington state (Mount Ranier High).

I see her info on a recruiter's website called "Might Recruiter" in the Google cache Web Link

If that link does not work, here is what it says:

"Terry J. Brenner
Current Job: Directing Principal
Location: Pleasanton, California
MightyRecruiter Candidates California Pleasanton Directing Principal
Are you seeking a qualified candidate to fill a position in the Pleasanton, California area? If so, look no further than this MightyRecruiter-sourced candidate. A practiced worker with 11 years of experience under their belt, this candidate is a highly skilled professional and a quality applicant according to our MightyRecruiter scoring system. This candidate received their master's degree from National Louis University. This candidate came by valuable experience working as an Assistant High School Principal, an Assistant Principal, and as a Curriculum Writer prior to moving into their most recent position as a Directing Principal with Mount Rainier High School. Click the button below to find out more about this jobseeker and more than 20 million other candidates registered with MightyRecruiter."

Perhaps shee was a principal there at Mount Ranier for a year and her name was Terry Chapman, a different name. I don't know what a Directing Principal is. When I look at the Mount Ranier High website, I do not see that title used.

Not sure why the recruiter listing says she was a "Directing Principal" on their website.

I doubt either of them will stay more than a year particular when the schools are HPMS and AVHS.

3 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jun 27, 2018 at 2:53 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

resident, I don’t think the schools are the problem. What is your concern?

4 people like this
Posted by bigfan
a resident of Old Towne
on Jun 28, 2018 at 8:41 am

bigfan is a registered user.

Alberto is a winner and a leader. One can only go on one’s record of accomplishment and bringing people and groups together while elevating the bar on performance. His record speaks for itself, and he’s a nice man to boot. When you think you’ve got it bad, take a look at the other 2500 school districts and high schools in this Country. For all folks’ complaints, AVHS is a very tippy top HS. Like any HS, especially public ones this size (part of the problem), in a regulated, Teacher-driven first culture, there will be valid issues and concerns. He won’t be part of the problem, but will be one to seek solutions, in a thankless job. There, I’m sure I’ve raised enough fodder to bring out he hecklers, yelpers and complainers, who themselves have no proposed solutions.

3 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 28, 2018 at 9:18 am

Easy to conduct research:

Alberto was in his latest job for a year. Probably didn't like being off a school site. Lots of people return to school sites from district office jobs if they discover its not for them.

2 years at an elementary (15-17), 3 years at Livermore High (12-15), and 5 years at a middle school in Union City (07-12). Probably won't be a long timer at Amador (but maybe he's looking to settle down). Sounds like he has a good reputation from above post.

8 people like this
Posted by Ongoing problem
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 28, 2018 at 12:34 pm

Here what I see as the problem. Pleasanton has a history of promoting teachers/principals to administrative jobs as their reward. I’m sure both these will end up making a lot of money in administration. Look what happened to Williams. He “paid his dues” and now director of HR which I have no idea how he is qualified to do that job. Don’t you have to have HR experience to be a Director if HR? It just floors me every time I see all these events take place that would make no sense in the corporate world. And the whole superintendent thing is so suspicious. I have a feeling all these things must have been promised in a handshake deal for him to come here. Because it makes no sense what the board did. I hope I’m wrong and these principals stay in their job for more than 2 years.

3 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jun 28, 2018 at 2:23 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

How do you get HR experience, especially in K-12 education? Principals, especially middle and high school levels, are reviewing many staff members in multiple disciplines. And while some teachers only want to teach—arguably a tougher job in many respects—there are others who wish to take their knowledge and talents to other positions. We certainly can’t hold them as teachers; otherwise they look elsewhere.

“ . . . handshake deal for him to come here.” Do you mean a future DO position? Hard to promise something like that given most DO personnel have three year contracts I believe.

I don’t think superintendent’s contract was suspicious; just sets a bad precedent and my concerns mentioned on that thread, like the me too clause.

But I agree the goal stability for any school site and their students, which I would argue is three years.

4 people like this
Posted by ConcernedParent
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Jun 28, 2018 at 10:12 pm

I agree with 'Ongoing Problem', the whole system seems absurd: the move of Williams to HR Director, the quick new Principal hire etc. The Pleasanton schools are fast losing the reputation of high standards, and it's directly the result of poor teachers and administrators. Anybody who thinks otherwise does not have proper insight into pathetic the quality of teachers/staff, or just lulling themselves into a positive mindset. These admins like Williams do not care about the students or teachers or the school itself, it's pure greed. It feeds the other ill-advised actions of the teachers and so on. In a couple of years, if this trend continues, PUSD schools will be the worst of the trivalley schools...sad.

3 people like this
Posted by Creekside
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2018 at 1:32 pm

Mr. Williams always tried to protect the kids even when they were on the wrong side of the spectrum. He was pretty relaxed as a principal. There were issues of powerful students bullying the weaker ones at Amador. Mr. Williams and the administration were oblivious to these issues. He was not a right fit as a principal.

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

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