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New Yorker tapped to lead MV schools

Original post made on Jun 5, 2015

Members of the Mountain View Whisman school board announced Thursday night that they have found a new superintendent in Ayindé Rudolph, an educator from Buffalo, New York with a background in public and charter school education.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 5, 2015, 12:44 PM

Comments (27)

Posted by Old MV Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 5, 2015 at 1:18 pm

Really? I'm worried even more MV children will leave us and go to private schools. Why didn't we get a proven leader like MVLAHS? Why did the board select a silver penny? I looked him up... "consultant"


Posted by Old MV Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 5, 2015 at 1:23 pm

correction: Shiny penny (ala the shiny new penny syndrome)


Posted by Cfrink
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 5, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Cfrink is a registered user.

I'm just disappointed that people don't acknowledge the challenge of attracting top talent to this position. The "Public" came out and complained about paying a good superintendent, then complains that they can't get a proven leader. We can't afford a proven leader given what this contract stipulates....no housing allowance, no stipend for post graduate work, no comparison to what neighboring districts are paying and attracting top talent with, and then they have the nerve to complain about not getting a "proven leader." SMH. I'm excited about working with Dr. Rudolph. It seems he's already bent over backwards to make the public happy. He's young and enthusiastic. I look for him to embrace the opportunities this community has to offer and the host of talented I see who volunteer their time to make our schools better, not to mention the district staff who is poised to continue carrying the torch for our kids. I'm very excited!


Posted by James Thurber
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 5, 2015 at 2:24 pm

Sir, I wish you the best of luck. After Buffalo you'll find the cost of housing here a bit overwhelming. However, Mountain View / Whisman has a great staff, very dedicated students and many exceptional parents. I think you'll really like it here.

Two other things you should know about The Bay Area: a) no humidity; b) no bugs!

Superintendent Rudolph, Welcome to Mountain View!


Posted by Cfrink
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 5, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Cfrink is a registered user.

"Dr. Rudolph is an education consultant and former associate director of school transformation for the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood, an initiative modeled after the Harlem Children Zone. Its mission is to eliminate the achievement gap through a “cradle to college” community schools approach that utilizes coordinating all a community’s resources around each child."

This is exactly what we asked for in focus groups! Now I'm really excited!


Posted by Huff parent
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 5, 2015 at 5:05 pm

Mountain View ..... Harlem


Posted by Laura
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 5, 2015 at 6:24 pm

Of concern is that it was emphasized in the Board meeting that Ellen Wheeler made sure he gets 2 years of executive coaching, and 8 days of leadership training (which is over and above the usual superintendent trainings). This indicates to me that she knows he is in over his head. Maybe 1 year of executive coaching, but 2 years? And why was it emphasized during the Board meeting? it is clear that she, as an experienced Board member, knows that he is out of his league.
I'm praying for the best, but I am concerned.
This Board, for whatever reason, was unable to secure an experienced leader. He is probably a wonderful man, with a good kind heart. That does not translate into effective leadership.
We should all get involved in the 2016 election.


Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jun 5, 2015 at 6:25 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Yeah, Like Skelly did for PAUSD with his fancy credentials did SO much better. Lying, breaking FEDERAL LAWS, ( He and the PAUSD could have even been charged under RICO laws as he supported the acts of his Special Education staff ). The list goes on and on.
I know this because an ex Assistant School District Administrator lives inside your own city. That Assistant Administrator specialized in Special Education as a start up the ladder. So when I asked about coming out of retirement to fix the PAUSD problems created by Skelly, the reply was ( the first actual swear word I heard ) " Hell No! ".
I at least got a running opinion of what had to be done printed in your sister paper.
That saved the PAUSD thousands of $$$ in " consultant " fees. Be happy that Skelly did not do the same for the District here.

A 1973 MVHS graduate

( Still upset that my HS was torn down and Dog City was not )


Posted by @laura
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 5, 2015 at 6:53 pm

It is very common for new superintendents who are coming from out of state to have coaching so I am not concerned

I do agree that citizens of Mountain View need to get involved in the 2016 elections Mr Nelson was back to his old form of slinging insults, making threats, and disturbing the meeting last night check out the video from last nights meeting if you don't believe me


Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 6, 2015 at 12:29 am

@the_punnisher of Whisman Station
You wrote:
"Yeah, Like Skelly did for PAUSD with his fancy credentials..."

Most people tend not to learn from history and thus...

While I have disagreed with Temp-Super Skelly, my main issue was that these massive Boundaries and schools issues, closing one school to open another, adjust boundaries and etc. was all being done with a Temporary Superintendent.

Just like the "ambitious" Temporary Superintendent who closed the Slater school a decade ago. With the "awesome" cooperation of the Board of course. The "excited" politicians who cast the final votes on these drastic decisions never suffer the consequences of their actions either. It's only ever the hundreds of innocent families who suffer.

A politician may lose the next election, but a "Temporary Superintendent" has no "skin in the game" at all. No matter how tragic the outcome of their actions may be (creating a group of people who have been angry for a decade still focused on doing anything it takes to get a school, for example), these "temps" can do nearly whatever they wish and will never be held responsible for any damage they leave in their wake. Or worse, for the plans they create and get approved which will eventually do even more harm after they are years gone.

You wrote:
"A 1973 MVHS graduate
( Still upset that my HS was torn down and Dog City was not )"

A case in-point! A person who graduated from a school in 1973 is still upset that their school was closed years AFTER they graduated! Still angry that "Dog City" survived too.

Anytime you close/move/disrupt a whole school, you unavoidably do lasting damage to a whole community who will never out-live the trauma. Failing to learn this lesson means that the same injustice will just be inflicted on a whole new set of innocent families. Thus perpetuating even more anger.

My baby brother suffered the closing of his elementary school in the 1980's. He's still pissed. That school took a 20-min bus ride to get to and when it was closed the buss took 45-min EACH WAY to get to/from the next closest elementary school. That school resented the over-crowding caused by the "invasion" of the kids of the closed school and the families of the closed school never stopped trying to essentially switch places with the surviving school.

Just puts things into perspective.


Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 6, 2015 at 12:28 pm

The Superintendent process: in public session Board months ago, choose a search firm, from several finalist choices. There was a very strong emphasis on firms that could bring, nation-wide, candidates with hybrid (non-traditional + standard-public-schools) experiences. We almost (2:3 vote) choose a very small firm, that had never done a superintendent search — just because they had impeccable credentials hiring innovative charter administrators. (would have cost 2X more than "CA traditional firms")
We chose a hybrid search firm, and we asked them to sort for hybrid type candidates. Out of 73 applications, we got 12 selected for us (what we paid for). Then we paper researched those 12 (and internet researched).
We, the Board selected 6, and 5 of those were still interested and were personally interviewed here in the district. This was done by the Board. These included CA people with more (decade) administrator experience, and out-of-state people with lots of DO experience (but no teaching credential). We were trying to hone-in on the hybrid version superintendent the Board would be comfortable with. [it is our decision]
The head of our search, did extensive phone interviews with references, professional acquaintances, suggested new references. He then used his decades of experience (gee, guy was Superintendent of Dallas) to give us his opinion in writing, and in conference calls.
As another Trustee has been telling everyone, we then settled on 2 finalist candidates. Different people, different skill sets and experience levels. Both we were willing to offer contracts to. We extensively reviewed both their private credit reports (no deadbeats bankruptcies, lingering settlements, or other 'weird financial/ethical liabilities')
We ended up with our selection, and he ends up with MVWSD!

SN is a Trustee of the MVWSD, the PROACT search firm process and our contract (exclusive of candidate information) is Public Record.
This is my spin (opinion) on the process.


Posted by Huff Parent
a resident of Slater
on Jun 6, 2015 at 2:49 pm

Welcome to our new superintendant.
All I can say is that the last persones who have been hired by MVWSD, and were coming from New York have been great additions to the school district.
I am looking forward to work with you Dr Rudolph, to make sure that ALL our children receive the education they deserve.
We can sure use someone who knows about reducing the gap, while implamenting common core standards.


Posted by Don
a resident of Slater
on Jun 6, 2015 at 7:13 pm

Welcome Mr.Rudolph, if you give the PACT program everything they want you"ll be a hit. Keep in mind there are more no-pact student that need good leadership. Beware you won't take two steps on there campus before a swarm of PACT parent will rudely make there wishes heard. Welcome to Google View.


Posted by resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 6, 2015 at 9:45 pm

there, their, they're


Posted by Educator
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 6, 2015 at 9:47 pm

I respectfully disagree with Laura's concern that getting coaching and leadership training indicate lack of readiness to lead. Coaching isn't always about helping someone who performs poorly. Regardless of experience, coaching is a valuable tool for anyone who wants to be effective. I would be more worried about someone who thinks they don't need it. For example, Mr. Goldman had years of district level experience in California. If he had been open to coaching we might be in a very different situation now. I also think it shows Dr. Rudolph is willing to do what the district asks teachers, principals, and other administrators to do. That means a lot to me.

I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Rudolph to MVWSD.


Posted by Trinh Pauly
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 7, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Some Board members said that the 15 days notice for quitting was not as important as the relationship the Board has with the Superintendent. That may be true, but relationships are wonderful, until they're not. A superintendent is a perfect fit, until he's not. In 5 years, the make-up of the Board will change. The only constant will be the contract, and the fact that the taxpayers will be funding any mistakes made, or relationships gone bad.

My frustration was that we'd only had a minute to read through the 11-page contract to make comments, & when that 15-days notice popped out at me, I wondered what else was in the contract that could put us at financial exposure. Since then, we've had a chance to read through the contract and my husband, Brett, proposed 1 additional change that could further protect the district without diminishing Mr. Randolph's compensation package. We believe that the Trustees are good-hearted people who strive to do the best for our district, and we hope they will consider adding this additional point in the addendum.


Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 8, 2015 at 8:16 am

I'd like to remind the Pauley's, there is no legal "addendum." The Board has not asked for this, it was more like an 'off the top of the head' wish by the Bd. President. The contract is a three year arrangement, not a five year arrangement. I know of absolutely no goverment body around here, LAMV, PAUSD, LASD, the City - that thinks it good public policy to rely on lay commenters - to offer legal addendums to signed personnel contracts.

SN is a member of the Bd. of MVWSD, and these are his own opinions on governance


Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 8, 2015 at 8:19 am

"Pauly's" was misspelled, sorry Brett and Trinh!


Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jun 8, 2015 at 9:56 am

Trustee Nelson is both incorrect and needlessly generating contention.

Dr. Ayinde Rudolph, as a first rate professional with the community's interest at heart, has already offered an addendum to the contract to give 90 day notice if the board so desires.

The point is there is no controversy, and there are many more important things for us to be focusing on for children.

I hope the community can separate Trustee Nelson's actions from those of the school district. I hope even more the the leaders in our school district can change and model behavior and manners we want our children to emulate. Here's a video of our last board meeting:
Web Link

My apologies to the community for the actions of my colleague. Great things are about to happen in our school district, let's all hope the school board won't get in the way.

Christopher Chiang is a trustee for the Mountain View Whisman School District, but these comments are his own.


Posted by Matt F
a resident of Castro City
on Jun 8, 2015 at 12:59 pm

Don't worry, Chris. We can see that you are doing your best but the fact is that you're locked in a cell with the craziest inmate at the asylum. Hang in there for a few more months.


Posted by TH
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 8, 2015 at 7:51 pm

I would love to see a big improvement in the struggling schools, I hope the new superintendent can bring about this change.


Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 8, 2015 at 11:44 pm

@Matt F of Castro City

You wrote:
"Don't worry, Chris. We can see that you are doing your best but the fact is that you're locked in a cell with the craziest inmate at the asylum. Hang in there for a few more months."

Matt F, I would respectfully disagree on the "craziest inmate at the asylum" part and on your assumption of the election outcome.

Far be it from me, very far, to defend Trustee Nelson, but...
(Though I must admit there have been some things about being careful with public money and the like where I have found common ground with his remarks.)

In any case, I must say that I have indeed seen Trustee Nelson behaving in a professional manner, as one would hope all our public officials would conduct themselves at all times.

This fact belies the perception he is "crazy".

An actual "crazy" would find it difficult to behave properly at selected times, then switch to the behavior we have all come to recognize at other times.

No, Nelson is not "crazy", he's just another politician who has chosen a specific style of political behavior he feels is most likely to attain his single-minded goals. Clearly, it's a style he wears comfortably, like his hat, but he's not "crazy".

And I wouldn't dismiss his chances of getting re-elected so soon, because most of the public will never see him in action, nor even see the videos. Politicians know that they are mostly immune from the consequences of their actions.


Posted by @PACT Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 9, 2015 at 8:14 am

I have to disagree with you that Mr. Nelson is just a politician who has chosen this particular style. While we can't know his mental health status, there are times when he is genuinely out of control and unable to behave in an appropriate manner. As someone who has witnessed this out of control behavior at Board meetings, it is extremely frightening to view in person and I fear that someday someone will be physically hurt by him. Imagine what that would cost the district financially. We, as community members, have a responsibility to make sure that the voters see this terrible behavior so that the damage Mr. Nelson has done to this district does not continue.


Posted by OK
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 9, 2015 at 3:03 pm

"worked as principal of Westminster Community Charter School in Buffalo, New York"

Well that is good, maybe he can bring the Charter principles to the public schools here and create a place of learning.

So the placement agency couldn't find any liberal Democrat in the bay area or california, we need to move someone across the county to server here, of course on taxpayers dime.


Posted by Mountain View Parent
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jun 9, 2015 at 3:43 pm

To the Huff Parent in Waverly, what do you mean, "Mountain View...Harlem?"


Posted by @ Mountain View Parent
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 9, 2015 at 10:25 pm

I cannot imagine any Huff parent I know who would ever make such a convoluted comment. It's just a mean spirited, backwards comment and an attempt to paint a negative perception of the Huff community on our new superintendant.


Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 10, 2015 at 2:02 pm

@[email protected] Parent of Cuesta Park

So, any chance Nelson is a neighbor of yours? Just wondering.

"I have to disagree with you that Mr. Nelson is just a politician who has chosen this particular style."

Maybe I try to hard to give people the benefit of the doubt.

"While we can't know his mental health status, there are times when he is genuinely out of control and unable to behave in an appropriate manner."

Again, that is an interpretation of his actions, not proof that he is factually unable to behave professionally when he wishes to.

"As someone who has witnessed this out of control behavior at Board meetings, it is extremely frightening to view in person and I fear that someday someone will be physically hurt by him."

I must admit that the very first time I encountered Mr Nelson, it seemed pretty much about to get seriously violent. I had no idea who he was or the guy he was screaming at or what the issue was. But I picked up my pace as I walked my suddenly highly clingy and concerned 5 yr-old daughter past the scene of the one-way argument. I was concerned violence might take place any moment, but it didn't. He was not on camera, nor surrounded by the Board nor an audience of public observers. Nothing to really prevent him from violence, but still it didn't happen.

In my long career I have seen many bosses behave just like Nelson as a tactic to get what they wanted whenever they knew they could not get it in other more civil ways.

"Imagine what that would cost the district financially."

Hostile workplace law suits, that I accept is a real risk that goes with that sort of behavior, so there you may have a point, but only the voters can do anything.

"We, as community members, have a responsibility to make sure that the voters see this terrible behavior so that the damage Mr. Nelson has done to this district does not continue."

OK, but there are still problems with the district that have been here long before Nelson was elected. If Nelson loses the election, that is just one step to correct the course of this ship.

I still think the voters wont bother to get informed enough to make an informed choice and he could indeed get re-elected. It would take a very serious and sustained effort to get them informed.

And I still think his behavior is a political means to an ends.
I've seen far too many people just like him.
Crazy like a fox, not actually crazy.


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