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New principal selected for PACT

Original post made on Jun 16, 2009

The Mountain View Whisman School District has selected the first principal to run PACT — the popular parent participation program which until recently was housed at Castro School — from its new solo campus near the district offices.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, June 15, 2009, 4:59 PM

Comments (41)

Posted by Observer, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 16, 2009 at 5:03 pm

More deception from the school district. No one applied for this position. The guy they appointed is a stop-gap, and by no means a first choice for anything. It's laughable for the self-absorbed superintendent to come out with such a statement on leadership. Just create the impression and perception he actually did something to fill this position, and the gullible morons of Mountain View will lap it up. Yeah right. I challenge the Voice to file a freedom of information request to find out who actually applied to the position, this one and many others. It's all a sham.

Posted by Don Frances, Mountain View Voice Editor
on Jun 16, 2009 at 5:55 pm

Don Frances is a registered user.


You make serious allegations against specific people, without offering any evidence to back it up. And you manage to insult the entire population of Mountain View in the process. All while hiding behind your anonymity.

Nothing about you or your posts indicate any special knowledge on this or any subject. They do not add to or illuminate the discussion. They do, however, indicate severe intemperance and misanthropy, and are a drag on the discussion. Unless you can rein in your anger, future posts by you are not welcome here and will be removed.

Posted by Charlene Viera, a resident of Castro City
on Jun 16, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Dear Observer,

How well do you know Mr. Gilbert? I had the opportunity to work with him this past year as my supervisor. He is a wonderful choice for PACT. He was good for Castro this past year and I believe he will do a wonderful job in his upcoming position. By what basis do you gather your facts about this fine man? Do you know him personally? He had a calm demeanor and was pleasant to work for. Please, if you dare, identify yourself and I will be more than happy to listen to you. If you have a sincere or valid gripe, you have a right to express it--heck, even if you don't. But, to attack this man as you have? That's cowardice!!!

Posted by eric, a resident of another community
on Jun 17, 2009 at 6:09 pm

Had "Observer" come in with some actual.... observations on the hiring process, maybe someone would listen. Frankly, I think that Ghysels and his staff has made a few bad calls in principal hiring since they took the helm, but have rectified most. That said, Observers baseless juvenille rantings add nothing to the conversation. Seriously, in this economy, with schools getting cut to the bone, you dont think that the district had plenty of qualified applicants? If they chose this guy-- who has experience with the PACT program-- without interviewing anyone else, that is their right.

Posted by Nancy, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 18, 2009 at 9:04 am

Actually friends the Observer is correct with many of his facts. Many of my friends who are teachers in the PACT program communicated to many of us that Mr. Gilbert was the only applicant accepted and interviewed for this position. Stephanie Totter had a timeline and well...a timeline must be adhered to no matter what! Who cares what is best for the kids and teachers?!

Many of the teachers in PACT were concerned that Mr. Gilbert never once took them up on their availability to help inform him about the special aspects of the program they so passionately teach in....not one ounce of interest to engage! So let's just pray he will truly be an advocate for the program's vision and purpose, and he won't turn out to be another one of Mr. Ghysels' "CI is the Way" cheerleader and ENFORCER. Keep your fingers crossed PACT!

Posted by Ellen, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 18, 2009 at 7:04 pm

I've heard the same as Nancy from teachers at Castro. No one applied for this 50% position which they say pays less than a beginning teacher. It's also a tough job, supporting a politically charged program like PACT, and located a few feet from the district office.

I don't frankly see Observer above being that far out of line, rather, make up a story about how the district searched far and wide for the perfect candidate, pretend the district went through a rigorous interview processes, and in the end come out and claim the district made a legitimate effort and found a leader worthy of inspiring words by the superintedent. Actually, this wasn't even an article written by the Voice, it was a press release. How can the editor comment on the comments here if he had not presumabbly engaged in a journalistic effort to at least research the validity of the press release?

I also agree partly with Eric. The process of hiring, rather at many times just appointing principals in this district, has been far from consistently open and thorough with the interest in finding the best and most qualified professionals in the field for our schools. I challenge the Voice to take that up as a subject of serious journalism. Hello! This PACT program was the one that has been causing so much grief in the community and on line. The Voice can then look at Castro for instance, where the original candidate picked a few years back to replace the long serving principal who was selected by a group of teachers and parents and administrators was rejected by the superintendent after putting them through a long and formalized process. He then went out and appointed his own pick and subsequently at other school went on to appoint several of the last principals rather undertake a serious recruitment effort. And then there's the disaster called Graham. Come on The Voice let's not be so gullible in the future. If it smells like it, it probably is. And just maybe this all is yet another factor in why are schools are not performing as well as neighboring disticts.

Posted by Graham Parent, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 18, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Let's not be naive, the school distict has been using The Voice for postive press coverage for years and then run into hiding when something negative breaks. Just try to get a response from them then.

Posted by Here we go again, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 18, 2009 at 7:56 pm

It's all about PACT, and PACT all the time.

Posted by Carl, a resident of Castro City
on Jun 18, 2009 at 8:15 pm

I thought everyone aleady knew that no one applied for the job. The article should have read, "Superintendent Appoints Principal (Again)"

This happens every year once school gets out. Appointments are made and controversial news is put out. It's the current Superintendent's trademark.

And before he get's the chance to say it, I will:

Mussolini made the trains run on time.

Posted by Lee, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jun 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm

PACT has alway gotten the short end of the stick. No difference here.

Posted by Ned, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 19, 2009 at 8:04 pm

I just can't resist this one in reference to Observer's comments above.

"Nothing about you or your posts indicate any special knowledge on this or any subject."

This was a press release, doesn't seem like the editor knew anything about the story either.

This paper has put forward some real winners of articles in the past few years. I am admittedly beginning to feel like a moron for reading it.

Posted by look on the bright side, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 19, 2009 at 8:41 pm

I would have thought the PACT parents would have picked the new P.

How much is all this costing us is what I'd like to know?

Posted by your real name, a resident of Jackson Park
on Jun 19, 2009 at 8:53 pm

Add to the price the fact that this program requires a campus of its own.

This is our Bullis Charter School. We just haven't realized it yet.

If you ask me, the hiring process of everyone and the validity of everyone's job position should be reviewed.

Posted by tax payer, a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2009 at 10:13 pm

yep, I agree-
PACT is your Bullis Charter School

Its a terrific program that offers a real alternative. It makes everyone do a better job---because there is a choice!
And like Bullis its cost effective. Bullis recieves zero dollars from parcel taxes. The parents contribute to make up the cost. The pact has parents that help run the school. This also saves tax payers money--What other school has 1/2 of an administrator? Most have at least 2---- Both programs are win/win situtations.

Posted by sd, a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 20, 2009 at 10:54 am

It's smart that he appointed someone, otherwise a PACT appointed or influenced principal would have been a wildcard. Next thing you know they will become a charter school.

Posted by Tisk, tisk, a resident of another community
on Jun 20, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Waiting until school is out to make changes. There needs to be more transparency in the selection process. The community needs to be involved.

Posted by Leslie P, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 20, 2009 at 1:42 pm

I think it's a shame when decisions such as these are not taken seriously by either the schools or the paper. It's a lot like government and politics in general.

You vote for someone or something that claims to represent real change, but in the end you are just getting false promises, hollow declarations of progress, and no real improvments, just more appeals for more of the same.

The hiring process for any position of public trust should be fair, open, and subject to scrutiny.

Posted by Lynn, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jun 20, 2009 at 2:50 pm

A program this small located at the district office needs a principal!?! You've got to be kidding! No wonder the schools are so tight on money. And here I thought PACT parents looked after their own.

Why don't the superintendent and all the assistant superintendents and associates and directors, etc fill in as the principal of the site?

This is overkill.

Posted by Carolyn, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 20, 2009 at 3:35 pm

I don't think the program is that small? I heard they just added a 3rd kindergarten class. Isn't that about the same size as most other MVWSD campuses? Or at least large enough to warrant a 1/2 time principal?

I don't have super strong opinions about PACT because I don't have a child there, but it was completely necessary for a new campus to open this year because of overcrowding across the board in the MVWSD. They could have opened Stevenson as a neighborhood school and redrawn boundaries, but moving one of the choice programs makes more sense and is easier. Castro was very, very, very crowded this past school year. Based on K enrollment for this upcoming year I think the district is going to be dealing with this problem again, I hope they reopen a campus in the Whisman area, it really stinks that they have no neighborhood school.

Posted by Robertr, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 20, 2009 at 8:45 pm

The solution actually is charter schools folks. Let's take back our schools and put them back on the right track. Stay tuned for more.

Posted by Unbelievable, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 20, 2009 at 8:52 pm

"from its new solo campus near the district offices"

Are you kidding me, the so-called solo campus is an adjacent building next to the main office building... about 20 feet away at one point. Talk about smoke and mirrors.

Posted by Don Frances, Mountain View Voice Editor
on Jun 20, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Don Frances is a registered user.

Some readers seem to have gotten the impression that the district fooled everyone into thinking that they looked high and low to fill this post before handing it to Gilbert. Neither the district nor the Voice ever said or implied that. Probably the administrators had an obvious choice for the position right before them, and filled the job internally. And why shouldn't they? As Ellen noted, "No one applied for this 50% position which they say pays less than a beginning teacher. It's also a tough job, supporting a politically charged program like PACT, and located a few feet from the district office."

The district press release on the choice of Gilbert is here: Web Link. Assigning principals is part of a superintendent's job. This is a mundane bit of school district administration, and it's hard for me to see where all this controversy/conspiracy is coming from.

Posted by Bar Room Lawyer, a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 21, 2009 at 9:41 pm

The problem here and with other stories on the schools this week is that the people in charge of the schools aren't really doing their jobs. They're just putting up the front that they are. They claim to handle personnel matters correctly and document problems, but they never really do. They claim to conduct thorough and complete hiring processes, but they never really do. If you've ever worked in a position in a government agency, you would konw what I'm talking about. Even more so with this school district since the paper seems to take everything at face value, never assuming they just might be getting played. Sound all too familiar?

Posted by District Insider, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 21, 2009 at 9:53 pm

I disagree that the school district probably did anything correctly based on the current track record.

Its about time to see this stuff exposed for what it is.

Next thing you know they will all be asking for raises on top of the millions they want for new construction.

How can we really have confidence in this system if they can't even get the small or everyday things right.

The lawyer has got a point. They can't handle matters as simple as personnel and correctly responding to and documenting parental complaints, let alone researching the validity of them when it come to the potential abuse of children, but we are expected to believe that they can properly adminsiter millions in long term constructions cost and renovations. I shudder to think.

Posted by Huff Parent, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 21, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Brilliant!!!!!!!!!!! District Insider has a point.

The principal that never documented the complaints against the teacher was promoted to the district office to head up the financial shell game.

Posted by Father of Three, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 21, 2009 at 10:40 pm

My problem with all this is that these things are linked only when school gets out, making it more difficult for us to organize into action. Wrong and deceptive management does inspire my confidence.

Posted by VIP, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 21, 2009 at 11:44 pm

I think the precedent was set with Enron, and then AIG.

Posted by Carol, a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 22, 2009 at 5:32 pm

PACT is a great program and deserves the best to be had for a principal as do all our schools.

Posted by Charlene, a resident of Castro City
on Jun 23, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Wow! If indeed the job of the superintendent is to appoint principals to their school, why is there such a fuss? I can only speak from experience. I had a daughter in PACT, for a very short time. The concept and application of it is very good. It just didn't work for me and my daughter. So, I went to the EO program, that is the neighborhood school. Its been going great for her. I hope the people at PACT don't lose heart. Keep up the good work and be open to other people's ideas. You have a lot of wonderful things to offer the community and I hope you succeed!! For those who question Dr. Ghysels decision, did you ask him personally why he chose Mr. Gilbert? I don't think it will change anything, but its better than hearing you whine about the new choice. I find I get a lot more information from people when I just ask them point blank. But then again, I'm just a little outspoken.

Posted by Ned, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 23, 2009 at 5:56 pm

I believe you miss the point Charlene. The issue is whether or not the district conducted a thorough search and hiring process for this position. Was their community input and buy-in? My sources tell me there was not. And this is far from the first time a principal has been appointed at our schools over the summer term with no community involvement. Our schools deserve the best candidates for all positions, particularly those in leadership roles. I generally question any leader who appoints on gut instinct. Many of the principals currently at our schools are appointees. A fair, thorough, and open hiring practice for public positions should be required and the burden of the public institution to prove.

Posted by Monta Loma Teacher, a resident of another community
on Jun 23, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Carl said it best, "Superintendent Appoints Principal (Again)".

It's all spin, all this time. Just wait until they try to reneogiate the teacher's contract next year. All the negative will be emphasized to justify no raises, no cost of living adjustment, higher costs for benefits, and longer hours. Forget about incentives.

When it comes to making the supe look good, all the positive is emphasized.

Try to get a straight answer from this administation.

Posted by a nobody, a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 24, 2009 at 7:48 pm

I see it as a waste of money given the financial crisis and that this program is at the district office and also because PACT is so well-run anyway. Few discipline problems with non-abusive teachers.

Posted by CL, a resident of Jackson Park
on Jun 25, 2009 at 6:35 am

Maybe they were trying to save money by not conducting a comprehensive search for a principal. Maybe they were too busy trying to clean up the mess of the Lighting Rod Teacher!

How much is this extra campus and principal costing us? Let's get down to brass tacks.

Posted by Lee, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 28, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Follow the money. This board should appoint an auditor, outside of education cirlces to clean up this district.

Too much waste at a time we can no longer afford it.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of another community
on Jun 28, 2009 at 5:55 pm

This program does not need a principal. SAVE THE MONEY!!

Posted by Observer, a resident of another community
on Jun 29, 2009 at 5:57 pm

Programs like PACT are the future. We should support and rely on them. That said, PACT does not need a principal.

Posted by Amused, a resident of another community
on Jul 6, 2009 at 3:39 pm

What I am amused about: you can replace the names here with just about any superintendent/program/school/district and people all say the same things. Read the Town Square for Palo Alto, or any threads about Los Altos School District. It seems that Kevin Skelly and Tim Justus are just as stupid/crooked/incompetent/lazy/whatever as Maurice Ghysels.

Just goes to show that working in a public capacity wins you no friends no matter what you do or don't do. Everyone can do a better job, "throw the bums out." Old story, will never change. Doesn't make what everyone posts here any more or less accurate or true.

After a while it's hard to take all the whining seriously.

Posted by Frustrated, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jul 6, 2009 at 5:12 pm

I think people are just frustrated with the steady decline of CA schools. I do think change needs to start from the top however--and not from the ranks of teachers. Nearly all administrators come from the teaching ranks, maybe therein lies the problem. The situation is just compounded when a principal is appointed.

Posted by concerned, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jul 7, 2009 at 7:52 am

I disagree with Amused in that apathy from the public is exactly what public school officials in Mtn. View have grown accustomed to. Mtn. View is not PA or LA. We need to demand more from the superintendent. There is also the addage that a replacement can always be found. We don't have to settle for under-performance. However, I do believe that the squeeky wheel does get oiled.

Posted by Fed Up, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 9, 2009 at 8:32 pm

PACT is the only program that gets attention because there are the people that put the most pressue on. The rest of us can line up for seconds. We're a two income family and can't afford the volunteer time.

As far as the appointment goes, this guy Gyhsel has never been one for being transparent.

Posted by Huff Parent, a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2009 at 9:16 pm

More money wasted for a position not needed. Why not assign a district office administrator an additional duty given the campus is in the building over. If they are going to assign a principal for PACT, bring back Slater School!

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