Monta Loma and Mistral Elementary principals resign | Town Square | Mountain View Online |

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Monta Loma and Mistral Elementary principals resign

Original post made on Jun 26, 2020

Two school administrators in the Mountain View Whisman School District announced their resignation Thursday, creating turnover during an uncertain time as schools seek to reopen in the fall.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 26, 2020, 12:33 PM

Comments (31)

23 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 26, 2020 at 1:14 pm

And the Graham principal resigned in February but effective 6/30. He was inexplicably replaced immediately. What happened to him? Did he change his mind and make it effective earlier or did they show him the door?

37 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jun 26, 2020 at 2:12 pm

Every principal has unique reasons, but this falls 100% on the board for supporting the wholesale rotation of principals in 2018. The board speaks with confidence that each change improves the community, but they ignore those who cautioned them that each change creates new work on onboarding an entire community, which after years of work often leads to about the same performance as before. This is because they focus on using fear and removal; rather than trust and training, to develop leadership. What ideas do you have to make MVWSD a place where educators we invest in stay?

51 people like this
Posted by Concerned parent
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jun 26, 2020 at 2:16 pm

There has been an extremely big level of principal churn in this district over the past few years. We can all speculate as to why, but maybe someone should ask for a statement from the Superintendent (or the Board) for more explanation of why this might be!

10 people like this
Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2020 at 2:31 pm

With all due respect to the critiques... how about a glass-half-full view on this:

- Educators that work in MVWSD can be successful and move on to bigger opportunities without having to leave the Bay Area. Principal Higgins is one example & I hope people would agree that she's gone way way above and beyond in terms of years of service on the Board, school staff, and as MLE principal. Having people we know in neighboring districts - some of whom might be doing pretty innovative things - is good for MVWSD's connections. Especially if we want to see them return someday, perhaps in an even bigger role.

- Sometimes we need to take people at their word that they need to make changes for family reasons. Who knows how much different people are being affected by the current environment, and perhaps reassessing priorities. Saying we should somehow block people from doing what's right for them and their families... well, that's not exactly a priority I'd support.

All that said... heck of a time to have to replace staff. And how that's executed will be a good test of current leadership.

9 people like this
Posted by Cfrink
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 26, 2020 at 3:14 pm

In the Bay Area where people move to new companies constantly in search of a bigger paycheck, it always tickles me that people expect teachers and principles to hang out at one location for decades just for their own comfort. Teachers and administrators usually LOVE their work, but at the end of the day, they have bills to pay just like everyone else. And because our district is such a good district, it makes sense that other districts and organizations would be looking to woo them to other teams with more money. That's life. Additionally, I have no problem with moving administrators around to new schools every few years because it decreases complacency. It stops people from doing things the same old way, parents from getting special treatment, and teachers from reducing their innovation. There are definitely positives and negatives but these I think the positives outweigh the negatives. It would be better if the teachers and administrators from our schools could live in our communities more often. It think that would make these moves less traumatic for parents but overall, I think they're good for schools and their communities. I wish these folks all the best, now we'll get to find two new fantastic hires (or maybe promote another deserving current member of our school community).

16 people like this
Posted by Mrs. B
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 26, 2020 at 3:38 pm

Principal Higgins will surely be missed by the Monta Loma community. Thank you for your leadership and compassion over the years, Gloria. Peace, Love, Leopards.

39 people like this
Posted by Not a fan of district and board’s MO
a resident of Castro City
on Jun 26, 2020 at 4:03 pm

I’m happy that some of the principals that were let go for no reason other than not being subservient to Carmen and Ayinde have found jobs that value their talents. Hard for talents to show in an dysfunctional District and a Board who doesn’t understand how to look out for the children. Assistant sup is far from appropriate for the job.

59 people like this
Posted by District observer
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 26, 2020 at 4:28 pm

By my count 21 administrative staff have left the district since Rudolph arrived. That high number can be laid at his feet because of the toxic culture of fear (and removal as Chris Chiang stated above) Rudolph has created in the district. The Board is insulated from talking with current staff by the superintendent so they don't know the true culture in the district. Perhaps the Board should consider conducting exit interviews with the staff members who have recently left to gain some insight into that culture.

4 people like this
Posted by smorr
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 26, 2020 at 4:46 pm

One correction to the article: It says that Gloria Higgins became principal of Monta Loma School in 2016 and later says that every school except Bubb and Castro have had new principals since 2018. Should that have been since 2016? Or should Monta Loma have been in the "exception" list?

Many thanks to Gloria for her leadership at Monta Loma. She'll be missed. Sandpiper school is lucky to get her!

56 people like this
Posted by Someone in the know
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2020 at 5:48 pm

I agree, the district leadership is ruled by fear and intimidation. How can there be that many administrators leave in such a short time. The board should do exit interviews, I’m sure they would hear more than they ever imagined. Dr. Rudolph doesn’t like people to disagree with him. He punishes those who do.
It’s time for a change that starts at the top!

40 people like this
Posted by I see a theme
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 27, 2020 at 11:41 am

Based on the comments here and my experience with Rudolph, he is a classic bully ruling by fear and intimidation who refuses to consider he may not know it all. It's time the Board required an anonymous 360 evaluation of him or did those exit interviews suggested by others above. What say you Board?

38 people like this
Posted by Concerned resident
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 27, 2020 at 11:50 am

The board has been asked repeatedly to take a close look at the superintendent and the culture of fear and intimidation he has created for several years and yet year after year they give him a new contract and raise. He has with the help of his yes men destroyed the district.
When will the board wake up and consider the truth?
The principal that is leaving Mistral is the woman he brought in from his old district. The people he brought have left. We are back to a culture of rotating principals, which isn’t good for the students or community.
Board members you owe it to us to do something besides rewarding a bully.

28 people like this
Posted by Concerned Community Member
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 27, 2020 at 11:22 pm

These resignations are just proof of the low morale of both administrators and teachers in MVWSD. Nothing new here!

27 people like this
Posted by Concerned staff member
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 28, 2020 at 8:55 am

Morale of the employees of the district is the responsibility of the superintendent. He doesn’t seem to care and is a bully of a leader. It’s time for him to go. Come on board members wake up and check in with staff members who will tell you the truth about his abysmal leadership.

13 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 28, 2020 at 4:05 pm

The Board in the past - set their own Board Policy and approves Administrative Regulations that intensely restrict their oversight to NOT ALLOW INDEPENDENT TRUSTEE visits to school sites. This means there are only administration/Superintendent supervised visits to classrooms or opportunities to have informal discussions with teachers (and certainly there is no Board Personnel Standing Committee to do "exit interviews"). This Board has chosen to be 'uninformed' in this way!

Board members Wilson and Blakely support this policy - and probably will be voting YES on a new Superintendent's contract this Thursday (the terms are being hidden from the public until after their public Open Session vote!). Both these Trustees are UP FOR REPLACEMENT or re-election if they choose to run this November (with "incumbent's" advantage).

"And in the end, the Love (government) you get is equal to the Love (government) you make"

20 people like this
Posted by Concerned resident
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 28, 2020 at 4:17 pm

This week the board vita on a new contract for the superintendent. It’s time to write the board and express your concerns if you have concerns. Stand up and have your voice heard

22 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 28, 2020 at 5:42 pm

Ask them to postpone the Superintendent's contract vote until the next meeting - AFTER THEY HAVE PUBLISHED THE PUBLIC CONTRACT that they are going to vote on. Please.

20 people like this
Posted by Concerned resident
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 28, 2020 at 6:10 pm

I urge you to look at the agenda for July 2 school board meeting. Not only is the superintendent’s contract up, they are voting on close to $66,000 For leadership coaching and consulting.
That money belongs to the students and teachers not in the hands of the disfunctional district leadership team.
Look into al the money that had been spent on leadership consulting or leadership coaching. What good has that money done? The district is ruled by fear and that isn’t leadership.

21 people like this
Posted by Standing Ovation
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 29, 2020 at 8:15 am


Once again no quotes from Board Members. Two years ago they claimed they had all the answers getting rid of strong leaders. Now they can't be found anywhere. The real resident talent has been driven away. The district has built a firm reputation of incompetence and poor leadership. The Ghysels legacy lives on to continue its destruction. The real problem are the sociopaths. Rudolph, Guiterrez, Wilson... get rid of them. They can't even manage their personal affairs. Why are we entrusting them with our children. Wheeler please step down. Blakley, please don't run again. The other one can barely articulate an argument to the point her name isn't even recalled. Epic fails all around. It's just too embarrassing to follow anymore.

8 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 29, 2020 at 12:35 pm

The district up the Peninsula for Higgins is Belmont-Redwood Shores. The principal who resigned (Tamara Moore) had a Total Cost of Employment of $181K in the 2018 calendar year / Higgins had $199k in MVWSD. BTW - BRSSD is also the District where former Sup. Goldman went to be CBO. His TCE in 2018 was $228K.
data from Transparent California (if you want more recent - you need a PRA request to MVWSD and/or

6 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 29, 2020 at 12:43 pm

The current Board members are not 'psycho'! There are just mainly run-of-the-mill "what does the Superintendent suggest" type of Board. Occasionally I think Rudolph does a very reasonable administrator's job - of trying to get/force them to provide 'guidance'. But Wheeler in particular, seems to fall back to "Let me ask, what does the Superintendent suggest?"

Example - good administration - the Science Curriculum NGSS adoption Pilot Program was done according to the Board Policy (like the Math curriculum for Common Core was first adopted - Not Teach2One 6th Math)

31 people like this
Posted by District observer
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 29, 2020 at 3:46 pm

Well now we know what kind of a sweetheart deal the board is offering Rudolph this year. His contract was just published. He is getting a $1.2 million loan for housing. Seems like a person who makes almost $300,000 a year should be able to afford Housing without the board getting into the mortgage business. Use that money for the students not for a bully.

28 people like this
Posted by Concerned resident
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 29, 2020 at 3:52 pm

How dare they give a 1.2 million loan to the superintendent to buy a house. The money belongs with students and staff not in the hand of a incompetent bully who leads through fear.
People have short memories of all the money this superintendent has lost the district, dare I mention teach to 1

21 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jun 29, 2020 at 3:55 pm

The board this Thursday will vote on adding a $1.2 million home loan to the superintendent's compensation package:
Web Link

The superintendent's first contract (2015) was drafted to be clean of fringe benefits, so that it not only mirrored other staff in spirit, it was easier for taxpayers to understand. Since then, teacher housing expands what benefits are now in the spirit of being similar, that said, I wish the board would decline making employment contracts unnecessarily complex if a superintendent was ever to choose to work elsewhere.

Taxpayer paid superintendent home loans have not always ended well for local schools upon their departure (especially in a down housing market):
Web Link

24 people like this
Posted by Standing Ovation
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 29, 2020 at 4:12 pm

For the sake of the children fire Rudolph. Recall the Board. Enough said. This district has hit rock bottom under his so-called leadership and that of our dysfunctional and cowardly board. And get rid of his cronies Asst. Super Carmen Ghysels and Kathy Bauer as well. It's time to wipe the slate clean once and for all.

13 people like this
Posted by Standing Ovation
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 30, 2020 at 7:17 am

So five years into this mess and we still have Superintendent Rudolph funneling money to his old boss from the Carolinas. These guys have really set up the gravy train nicely. One would think we would be seeing stellar results. Instead, we see principals and other administrative staff fleeing.

Leadership Associates Peter Gorman - Organizational Development to provide strategic advice to increase student achievement and close achievement gaps $38,000.00

6 people like this
Posted by Teacher
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2020 at 2:29 pm

As a teacher in MVWSD, I just wanted to say that I have benefited from Peter Gorman's services. Coaching of teachers and leaders is considered a 'best practice' in education.

19 people like this
Posted by Exhausted by MVWSD
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 1, 2020 at 2:07 am

Chiang: "...teacher housing expands what benefits are now in the spirit of being similar..."

I almost... *almost* threw up in my mouth when I read that. You cannot spiritually equate a temporary rental housing project for teachers and staff to a jumbo loan for permanent housing for such a highly paid employee. They are materially different and only share a broad concept of shelter as a commonality.

Perhaps we should offer Rudolph (or future superintendent) a guaranteed suite in the staff housing alongside the teachers and staff that will be lucky enough to get in? If someone in the district making $300k can get a district loan for $1.2m, then why can't teachers making $80k get a district loan for $320k? Those would be closer to the "spirit of being similar".

Education isn't a REIT, it's a right! It's time for district leaders to consider the students first, the teachers who support the students second, and give rewards to an administration only once it has shown that it can close the achievement gap and improve scores across the district while serving all students equitably. Students aren't getting what's due to them, the board isn't holding Rudolph accountable, and he isn't holding his senior admin team accountable.

Parents are tired of seeing principals come and go. We'd rather see different faces in the district office or sitting at the board's table. If you're consistently not hiring the right people or placing them in the correct positions, consider there could be a problem with the HR leadership. If you can't get student outcomes up across the district, consider there could be a problem in the academics leadership. Maybe those are the cuts the team needs to be making.

2 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 2, 2020 at 12:55 pm

Chiang and I were In the Room Where it Happened when Rudolph was considered with others for a Superintendent replacement 5 years ago. We both tried to grapple with how we could hire - perhaps out of State or even from within California when compensation would not cover an executive (CAO) housing situation.

Jeff Harding, former Superintendent (for 5 years) of MVLA high school district, thought that his compensation, with no housing adjustment, was keeping with his own - treat Me like you treat my Fellow administrators - philosophy. He, like Rudolph, had other property that he owned. But one owned in CA and the other not.

If you only want to limit your CAO search to In State and already Residential Property wealthy, you vastly limit your prospects. That is up to debate - but frankly - it is decided by the 5 publicly elected trustees in the room where it happens. So too this employment housing perk/benefit.

BY THE VOTE OF Blakely and Wilson, you will see extremely clearly where they stand! Even a 3:2 vote (with Blakely + Wilson in minority) will grant this housing perk/benefit.

12 people like this
Posted by Long time former Monta Loma Teacher
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2020 at 3:26 pm

[Post removed at poster's request]

3 people like this
Posted by "John"
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 2, 2020 at 11:17 pm

Superintendent Rudolph has his $1.2 million dollar loan.
Don't blame him blame the people writing the checks...get out there and vote else STFU.

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