The latest round of administrative musical chairs at the Pleasanton Unified School District ended Tuesday night with the Board of Trustees naming half a dozen appointments in upper management, including a new principal and vice principal for Hart Middle School.
PUSD leaders also announced principal Shay Galletti will be departing Fairlands Elementary School after being promoted to the district office, meaning one third of the district's 15 schools will have a new principal next school year.
Before Tuesday's open meeting, the school board voted in closed session to name local administrator Caroline Fields as the new principal at Hart and teacher Mary Geasa as a vice principal there.
Several weeks ago, then-principal Leslie Heller announced she was transferring from Hart to Village High School in the new school year to become a vice principal at the alternative education campus. Heller's departure, coupled with earlier Hart vice principal transitions, temporarily left the middle school without any top administration -- until Fields' and Geasa's arrival.
Fields, who has been vice principal at Harvest Park Middle School for five years and spent a decade before teaching at Foothill High School, said she was "honored and so grateful for this opportunity" and looks "forward to being a Husky."
Meanwhile Geasa, who has taught at Hart "on and off" for most of her tenure with PUSD, said she was “very excited to serve my colleagues” and gave a “shout out” to Trustee Steve Maher for first hiring her 17 years ago.
In other moves Tuesday, deputy superintendent of business services Micaela Ochoa bid farewell to the district after nearly four years of service. Ochoa, who accepted a position earlier this month at the College of San Mateo, is resigning at the end of this week.
Trustees recognized Ochoa for her service at PUSD with a placard and flower bouquet near the beginning of the meeting. "I'm very humbled and I feel very privileged to have served the district," Ochoa said, also thanking the community for their support.
Ochoa was promoted to her current position in 2015 after initially filling in for former deputy superintendent Luz Cazares, who took an extended leave of absence before stepping down permanently. Ochoa also worked as PUSD's interim superintendent for nearly six months in the second half of the 2016-17 school year after the board fired then-superintendent Rick Rubino. She returned to her deputy position in July 2017 after the trustees hired Superintendent David Haglund.
With Ochoa's exit, PUSD is reorganizing Haglund's executive cabinet to remove the deputy superintendent designation from the business services position.
The board approved the proposed job description for Ochoa's future replacement, an assistant superintendent of business services position. Salary and benefits are not listed in the job description.
After seven years as assistant superintendent of educational services, Odie Douglas is also leaving the district at the end of the month.
Douglas, who announced his retirement plans back in January, shared his gratitude after being honored with a commemorative plaque from the trustees. "I have learned so much through my journey here," Douglas said.
He will be succeeded by Janelle Woodward, a newcomer who has spent the last three years as a senior leadership associate with the Leadership Institute of Riverside County. Woodward will hold the newly renamed position of assistant superintendent of teaching and learning.
Multiple administrative staff members have left or rotated throughout PUSD schools over the past school year, including some new vice principals at all three district high schools, and new principals at Amador Valley High, Vintage Hills Elementary and Hart and Pleasanton middle schools. And now Fairlands is added to the list.
Galletti is stepping down as Fairlands' principal after four years to become the district's new director of elementary education in the new school year. Maher, who is Galletti’s father, recused himself from the board’s vote on her new assignment. An internal recruitment process is underway to find the new Fairlands leader.
Fairlands will be the fifth PUSD school with a new principal when the 2019-20 school year starts in August.
Three new elementary school vice principals were also appointed at the meeting: Dwight Pratt (from San Ramon Valley Unified School District) for Walnut Grove, Patricia Leonard (Modesto City School District) for Mohr and Gerardo Guzman Rico (San Juan Unified School District in Sacramento) for Valley View.
Meanwhile, Haglund is staying on another four years after the trustees approved a contract extension Tuesday evening. Haglund will serve a four-year term through June 2023 with a base salary of $298,225 for the 2019-20 school year.
Additionally, three assistant superintendents' contracts were signed off for three-year extensions through June 2022 with a base salary of $208,992 next year.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that Maher recused himself on the board vote regarding his daughter, Shay Galletti, being reassigned to the district office.