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Principal departures: Board approves Solorzano's resignation, Butler's retirement

District set to start hiring process to find next leaders for both schools

The Pleasanton Unified School District Board of Trustees has approved the requests of two principals to step down at the end of the school year.

The board, as part of its consent calendar Tuesday night, accepted the resignation of first-year Amador Valley High School principal Alberto Solorzano effective June 30 and the retirement of Pleasanton Middle School principal Jill Butler effective June 11.

Solorzano's resignation request comes amid a month-long leave of absence that he was granted for personal reasons less than seven months into his Amador tenure. His absence since Feb. 20 for unspecified reasons has left many parents and students confused.

Amador parent Katlyn Haus spoke to the school board at Tuesday's regular meeting, saying that Solorzano's resignation has had a "lack of transparency" and that "from what I know of my interactions with him, he hoped to make an impact" at the campus.

"If Mr. Solorzano's resignation is accepted, I would ask that in choosing this next leader for our community, that we form a community committee to assist in choosing who becomes our next principal," Haus said.

And several weeks earlier, Amador senior Marina Abreckov approached the Pleasanton City Council for help "because of the lack of transparency in this situation" among Amador and PUSD leaders.

A seasoned school administrator hired at Amador last summer, Solorzano left the school suddenly last month after requesting personal leave. District officials have declined to comment on reasons for Solorzano's departure, citing personnel confidentiality restrictions, and he has not responded to the Weekly's previous attempts to contact him.

Solorzano's personal leave started several weeks after a district investigation revealed that unnamed administrators purposely removed a grade from a student's high school transcript, in violation of state law. His leave also came days before a prescheduled Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation visit at Amador.

Solorzano's subsequent resignation letter has not been released publicly to date.

District spokesperson Patrick Gannon did not comment on Solorzano's decision to leave, but said "we will be initiating the process to hire a principal for Amador Valley High School and will be communicating and working with our Amador community through that process."

Earlier this month, district leaders promoted vice principal Nimarta Grewal to serve as interim principal through the end of the school year. She is the fourth principal at Amador since the 2015-16 school year.

As district leaders search for a new Amador principal, they will also be recruiting for the next leader of Pleasanton Middle School.

Butler recently informed PUSD of her intent to retire after the school year to cap a public education career that included leading Pleasanton Middle as principal since late 2015.

A longtime teacher at the school, including time as chair of the Language Arts Department from 2000-13, Butler was promoted to vice principal at Pleasanton Middle in 2013. She left briefly for an interim principal position at Harvest Park Middle School before returning to Pleasanton Middle in November 2015, when administrative shuffle created a principal vacancy at her former school.

Butler, who holds a doctoral degree in education leadership, said her retirement decision comes with mixed emotions.

"Pleasanton Middle School has been my 'educational home' the past 23 years, and it has been an honor to have served as a former teacher, vice principal and principal," she said in a statement.

"Being part of such a wonderful learning community has truly enriched my life, and for that I will be forever grateful," Butler added. "I extend my heartfelt thanks to my many students, staff, parents/guardians for allowing me the opportunity to be part of your lives."

Gannon said that the district will "be initiating our hiring process to find a successor at Pleasanton Middle School," in addition to the search for Solorzano's replacement.

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Comments

16 people like this
Posted by District involvement?
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 28, 2019 at 12:28 pm

Rumors are just that rumors. Did a district administrator direct Mr. Solorzano to make a transcript change or did the district administrator do it himself? Did Mr. Solorzano take the fall for someone? If so, why is the district person still in his position?


8 people like this
Posted by Hani
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 29, 2019 at 8:24 am

Admission Scandals at major universities, grades changed, others paid to sit-in & take tests for the students or to falsify test scores:
Perhaps we need a very serious, in-depth investigation into All of our High Schools and grade schools as well?
Have wealthy parents been paying for grades?


Like this comment
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Castlewood
on Apr 3, 2019 at 7:53 am

When average high school GPAs at our middle of the pack UC schools are 4.3, there is a partial shell game going on with grade inflation. Now, let’s look at how Amador and Foothill grads are actually doing garnering admission into our UCs relative to the “average” high school and other Bay Area elites. Answer: not great.

This is in part why we pay the property taxes and high salaries of PUSD administrators, is it not?


1 person likes this
Posted by Hutchings
a resident of Spotorno Ranch
on Apr 3, 2019 at 4:30 pm

Concerned,

Please share the statistical evidence you used to arrive at your conclusion.


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

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