Town Square

The superintendent and the principal

Original post made on Nov 6, 2009

There are reasons why trustees and residents of the Mountain View Whisman School District should be concerned about the recently divulged romantic relationship between Superintendent Maurice Ghysels and Landels School Principal Carmen Mizell.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, November 6, 2009, 12:00 AM


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Posted by Claire
a resident of Jackson Park
on Nov 6, 2009 at 6:33 pm

They should both leave, and Lairon and Totter should be fired for going along with it and/or covering it up!

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Posted by reader
a resident of Whisman Station
on Nov 6, 2009 at 7:53 pm

There may be some closure as there is a special board meeting scheduled for Monday, Nov. 9th after a closed session. Come and listen 7:00. Who will go, stay, be reassigned?

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Posted by Landels Lion Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 6, 2009 at 8:18 pm

This is disgraceful.

Even more disgraceful is Mizell playing the sympathy card on us all.

She knows exactly what she's been doing.

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Posted by Chewbacca
a resident of another community
on Nov 6, 2009 at 8:42 pm

The guy gets lucky and everyone wants him fired? Twisted.

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Posted by groethe
a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 6, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Since January of this year, fifteen people have lost their lives on Caltrain tracks between S. F. and Gilroy, four of them young students. The space given the relationship between Maurice Ghysels and Carmen Mizell in the press is disgraceful. Two people in love, to be so lucky.

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Posted by Minnie Dam
a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2009 at 12:01 am

What people do in their private lives behind closed doors is their business. No one has proven any unethical conduct. Are you against it because of your moral code? Are you totally moral in all of your life. Are you totally honest on your taxes? Do you tell your children the total truth? Its called glass houses.

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Posted by parent
a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2009 at 8:44 am

This relationship is not any different than the married "PRESCHOOL TEACHER" from Castro and the married "MAINTENANCE WORKER". It is happening ALL OVER the district, taking place during the "children's school hours" AND while they are "on the clock".

These employees should ALL BE FIRED. They are not there to work. [Portion removed]

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Posted by MVWSD Employee
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 7, 2009 at 10:42 am

In response to the post is NOT the same thing. The conflict of interest exists because Mr. Ghysels is at the top of the organizational chart. He is in charge of everyone and responsible for everything that goes on in the district. SO he can't ensure unbiased treatment of his most-favored principal, Carmen Mizell.

I encourage the School Board to start asking MVW district employees how they really feel about this issue before the closed session meeting on Monday night. Go to your schools. Touch base with a variety of employees. Ask them a direct question, "Do you think there is a conflict of interest with Maurice and Carmen?" Assure us confidentiality, and you will get a good read on the situation. Because in the does affect all of us who are employees. As it stands, we don't get treated equally or equitably by the "Gang of Four," this current situation just compounds this fact.

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Posted by Had Enough
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 7, 2009 at 10:43 am

I understand that Maurice and Carmen have a right to a personal and private life. I know that Maurice and Carmen were attempting to keep district employees from saying that there is a conflict of interest (and know matter how you look at it this is a conflict of interest) by going to the board to make their confessions. But unless you work in the district and see the cold looks being sent their way, feel the coolness as they enter the room (even separately) and feel the sting daily of Maurice being bold enough to have accepted a raise (whether it was written into his contract or not) when he knew that the teachers and classified staff have not had a raise for 3 years, then you really don’t know how this is affecting those employees. Teachers have had so much added to their plates to “use in the classroom” that there is no time for a personal or private life for them. Teachers spend their time after working all day with students preparing the next lessons, what comes next with CI, doing the goal planning and oh yes, even going to more meetings and workshops to learn the next thing that needs to implemented in the classroom. The current administration has continued to add more to the teachers’ workload and take more of their time outside of the contract hours, even though teachers have repeatedly asked the administrators not to add any more without removing some of the previous extra work. Contract hours are from 15 minutes before students arrive until 15 minutes after students are dismissed. Ask your child’s teacher just how much time they spend beyond that weekly doing what they feel is necessary to give your children the best education they can. Daily teachers work to meet the needs of each student and challenge them without pushing so hard that the students give up because it is too much. They strive not only to have their students achieve academically, but also socially and emotionally. Teachers love to teach and they can only do that if they have the time in their day to do just that. Get rid of CI and stop all the nonsense and let the teachers (remember they really are professionals) do what they know is best for their students.

Don’t let Maurice and Carmen go, MAKE THEM GO! They are obviously “not a match for our district”. Send the whole group packing, head of HR, Maurice, Carmen and by the way the board that feels that all of this can just be swept under the carpet. We could certainly use new blood on the Board of Trustees.

Show up at Monday evening special board meeting. They have a personnel issue that they will be dealing with in closed session and then the public will get to hear their report on that closed session meeting. Will it be enough? Will the right people be asked to step aside? Will it be soon enough for the district to make a quick recovery? If not, WE NEED TO ASK WHY! The public elects the board and if they are not serving us properly with the students needs foremost in their minds and decisions, then we have a right to ask them to step aside also.

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Posted by disgusted
a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 7, 2009 at 1:50 pm

If this is "Education for the World Ahead" the NO THANKS!

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Posted by parent
a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2009 at 3:35 pm

@ MVWSD employee


[Portion removed]


They all have to live with what they did the rest of their lives. They should feel ashamed and remorseful.

[Portion removed]

[Editor's Note: Reasoned discourse is slowly but surely being left behind here. The best course is to make this registered-only, which tends to keep the conversation a bit calmer.]

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Posted by Leo
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 7, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Leo is a registered user.

I urge everyone THIS WEEKEND to send emails to the MVWSD Trustees at
<>. I am in COMPLETE AGREEMENT that both employees should be fired. However, if your elected officials, the trustees, don't hear from you directly and IN WRITING or in person at the Monday night meeting, nothing will change. The action of firing one or both of them is not something they want to do. You must let the trustees know that it is their duty to fire him. The trustees reputations in this community will be forever damaged if they don't resolve this embarrassing issue in the proper way. He acted completly improperly, deceitfully, and with intention. The fact that he states that he will not disclose when their relationship began is a sign that it could have started before, or soon after he persuaded the board to hire her. And it is an insult that they state having the principal "report" to Mary Liaron, solves the problem. Personally, I'm happy that they have found one another. But one or both of them need to work elsewhere.

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Posted by landels parent
a resident of Jackson Park
on Nov 7, 2009 at 10:41 pm

landels parent is a registered user.


Maybe we aren't whining as much as these others, but we're here.

Thank you

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Posted by Question Authority
a resident of another community
on Nov 8, 2009 at 9:53 am

Question Authority is a registered user.

As an employee of MVWSD, the current Superintendent/Principal situation causes me concern on several levels.

While it is true that public figures have the right to private lives, it is equally true that as an informed public, we are required to scrutinize the decision making skills of those same people. The decisions made by the Superintendent and the Principal affect daily not only the employees of the district, but more importantly the hundreds of students whom they serve. If you believe that not to be the case, simply ask the teachers how classrooms have changed since our Superintendent was hired by the MVWSD school board. As you can see by the prior postings on this blog, decisions which were made several years ago by the Superintendent/Principal/School Board are now being scrutinized with the use of this new lens. Won’t that be the case for the decisions made in the future, especially if there are no consequences? Can we ever really establish the same level of trust we had with the Superintendent, Principal, and School Board? Should we?

I strive every day to teach my students that the “right” decisions are not always the easy ones to make, that their behavior may have consequences which far outweigh their individual desires and needs. I encourage my students to forgo the short-term pleasures so that they can reach their long term goals. We teach our students that they must be critical thinkers, to self-evaluate their progress, to strive for their greatest success. Those lessons are tough to teach when the administration doesn’t work under the same beliefs.

When I read in the local paper that our Superintendent states “Everything I do, I try to model my behavior for the employees, for the students, for the staff,” I am, quite frankly, sickened. Do not condescend to the teaching professionals who make this district work. We can do without your modeling. Our students should not emulate the decision making skills you have so publicly shared.

To the Superintendent and Principal: You have severely damaged the trust and integrity the teachers had in you prior to this situation. The word 'disappointed' doesn't even scratch the surface!

To the School Board: It is your responsibility to keep this district on the right track. You are required by the trust placed in you by the Mountain View voters to take action and resolve this situation. The rebuilding of the trust lost by these two administrators (who you support) falls squarely on your shoulders.

To the Public (especially those who write on this blog): You must come and make your voices heard at the school board meetings if you want to effect change. I doubt the parties to this situation are reading this blog – but at least one of them is required to attend board meetings.

To the MVWSD teachers: You are the hardest working professionals I have had the honor of working with - you continue to inspire and amaze me!

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Posted by reader
a resident of another community
on Nov 8, 2009 at 11:29 am

reader is a registered user.

I agree with you Leo, everyone must contact the trustees or this could lead to not dismissing ALL who were a part of this. We need to stand up and be both seen and heard, so I also encourage everyone to attend the "Special" board meeting this Monday (11/9) at 7:00 in the board room @ San Pierre Way. Yes, there will be a closed session to wait though, but we can be seen and heard. I know the Voice will be there - share your opinion with them. If the outcome isn't the one you feel is what would be best for the students and the district, let the board know right then and there.

Teachers, I know that this is difficult but your voice and appearance at the meeting should also be strong. The district doesn't need this kind of publicity, you work too hard supporting and educating our children to be silent and invisible (for I believe that is what Maurice is counting on, that fact that this will make you visible)!

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Posted by positive thinker
a resident of Whisman Station
on Nov 9, 2009 at 6:49 pm

positive thinker is a registered user.

Landels Parent: Thanks for posting the truth. It's sad that the only thing you ever hear anymore is negative, but then again so many people feed off of bad energy that I'm not surprised. The vast majority of Landels LOVES Carmen and would be lost without her.

Had Enough: A salaried position is not hourly. You go to work and stay until the job is done. I am sure that many of the people reading this work long hours and even weekends and holidays because some special report or project is due. That's life.

The rest of you: Listen to your body. Feel your blood pressure rising and your anger boiling and realize that being this way is just plain bad for your health. Why are you concentrating so much of yourself into being such a bully? I would be willing to bet that most of you leave this feeling dirty and wrong (and if you leave feeling angry and vengeful, well, it might be too late for you...). The child in you, the do-good, positive feeling that used to live inside of you, is still there. Let it out every now and again and spare yourself the misery of being such a downer.

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Posted by Ray
a resident of Castro City
on Nov 9, 2009 at 7:34 pm

Ray is a registered user.

Positive thinker:

Bad energy? Is that all this has been about? It's called a conflict of interest at best, not to mention terribly poor professional judgment. That's the part that bothers me the most. Do you really want individuals who show poor professional judgment in the conduct of their professional lives being in charge of several hundred children in the event of a real emergency or national disaster? I certainly don't, and nor should you. I read about all this and the only people I feel who are lacking the proper focus here are Ghysels and Mizell and the ones that support them on superficial and irrelevant terms such as the ones you lay out above.

Did you even read the editorial? You must also be perfectly happy with all the corruption on Wall Street and in Washington DC as well, or unwilling to confront it on a rational and responsible level, if you even know about it at all. I suppose any one that does confront such issues is also feeding into just plain old "bad energy"? Either that or you tune it out? This is not the time to be calling on the child within us. In terms of being "lost without Carmen", that certainly doesn't give much credit to the many responsible citizens, teachers, and staff that make up the school community and take the direction and good of the community seriously. This is about the ethics and responsibilities of public employees and their accountability to the public and the standards, policies, and laws of government employment.

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Posted by LK
a resident of another community
on Nov 29, 2009 at 3:41 pm

LK is a registered user.

As a former resident of Walnut Creek where Mr. Ghysels was a high school principal, I've born personal witness to this arrogant, irresponsible, self-serving behavior before. Trouble and hurt feelings follow Maurice wherever he goes. As for being a role model for teachers and students, that is a joke! I won't go into the rumors that followed him and his tenure here, but trust me, they were not all that different!