Nicole Steward started as Management Assistant/Technology Coordinator in November, earning $76,034 as an 80% fulltime employee, and sending out news releases and the district's e-connection digital newsletter is just 20% of her duties. The district's public information officer position, held by Grasso, was eliminated in 2009, when her responsibilities were shifted to include test data analysis.
Steward explained that, like Grasso, she's working with schools on testing, helping them "translate the data into English."
She previously worked at Fremont Unified School District, where for the last year and a half she was a behavior management specialist, working directly with students and their families.
"I was contracted with the Alameda County Behavioral Heath Services to do prevention and early intervention for students with academic and behavioral needs. I also did transition counseling with sixth-graders on their way to seventh," Steward said. "I was able to move many students from 'below basic' to 'proficient' on their state testing simply by working with them and their families to provide the non-school services they needed."
That, she said, included helping with things like housing, food, and child care. Now, she said she's taking a macro approach, but is still helping students.
"Much of the work I did one-on-one with students and their families translates perfectly to my new position as it gives me a real-world picture of what the achievement gap really looks like and how it impacts communities," Steward said. "It also gives me a strong personal/moral push to make sure Pleasanton Unified has their assessment and technology needs met so they can better serve every student in the district."
Steward, who lives in San Jose, said she decided on the move to Pleasanton because her earlier job as public information officer, which she held for about two-and-a-half years in Fremont, was cut and her last job was "shaky."