Sunday, October 28, 2012

And more sunshine (Buying a school, part II)

If you haven't done so yet, please read my prior post, Buying a School, which details how outside money from charter school supporters has flooded the SCCBOE election to run an attack campaign against Anna Song.

I finally got the FPPC 460 from the Santa Clara County Schools PAC.  As is my custom, I've attached the entire document.   Here's what you want to know:

There were a couple of really big checks written (including several from the Charter Schools Association, as reported in the well written article on the Patch).  I am not surprised, but am disappointed none the less, to see the names of local residents among the donors:
  • Janet Medlin (BCS Board Member)
  • Mark Andrade
  • Susan Goldman
  • Mark Jensen
  • Dorothy Price
  • RJ Daley Construction Company
    (401 First St, Los Altos)
  • Donna Young

I am particularly troubled to see BCS Board Member Janet Medlin as a contributor.  Admittedly it's not a huge donation, but it troubles me for a couple of reasons:

1)  I'd like to think that we try to conduct ourselves with integrity here in Los Altos.  Funding attack ads doesn't seem to be what we'd want from our public servants.  (overlooking the obvious fact that the BCS board isn't elected).

2)  I find it questionable, at best, for a member of a governing board to be financially involved in the election of the agency that governs them.  Yes, we all still have rights of free speech, and I'm certainly an advocate of that.  However, having BCS board members trying to influence the outcome of an election in another district, and to directly attack a member of SCCBOE-- it just doesn't sit well with me. 

Is it legal?  As far as I know, it is.  Is it ethical?  Not in my book.

I won't be making a personal donation to Anna's campaign because I don't think it is appropriate for me to do so while I am a sitting School Board member with business in front of the SCCBOE.  However, as parents and members of our community, you are free to support candidates as you see fit.  I believe that Anna has been a strong supporter of public schools, and she has committed herself to running a clean campaign.  The article below has an address and link if you would like to support her campaign.

Once again, this isn't a political ad for Anna Song.  It is my observations with respect to the electoral process.  However, to the extent that I've endorsed Anna, I don't want any confusion, so I am including her FPPC information in an abundance of caution.

Friends of Anna Song for County Board of Education, 2012
1000 Kiely Bl. #46,
Santa Clara, CA 95051
FPPC# 1241672

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Buying a school?

For context, it is important to read this well written article by Rachel Stern on The Patch.  In it, she details how an outside PAC has been formed to fund a smear campaign against SCCBOE Trustee Anna Song.

Quite a number of people have reached out to me over the past several weeks, and I've been pulling together the information I felt I needed to post an article about the situation.  The biggest missing link for me was the source of the funding for the PAC that has run this campaign.  One person I spoke with made no less than 5 trips to the SCC Registrar of Voters office, seeking the forms that detail the PAC's funding.  It isn't clear yet whether they've finally filed those documents or if the Patch uncovered the funding through other sources, but none the less, there are a couple of key issues:

1)  We can't let it become political suicide to stand up to bullies.
Anna Song had the courage to speak up when she felt that a charter school wasn't fulfilling the objectives that charter schools are supposed to share- meeting the needs of under-served students. 

2)  The influence of "outside money" is very troubling. 
The information I've gathered is that this PAC is spending 3-5x above what is normal for a county school board race.  One source has pointed out that not a single funder to the Anti-Anna PAC has any connection to the area she serves.  This is starting to feel like a pattern with the charter school movement- the same people who deride traditional schools for the money we spend on teachers are now throwing huge sums at PAC's in an attempt to buy elected seats.  The reality is that in most communities, you'd be hard pressed to find a lot of folks who even know who their Country Trustee actually is.  (Think I'm wrong?  Pop quiz:  Who's on the El Camino Hospital Board?  The Water District Board?  The Air Quality Board?)  This particular attack may be effective for just that reason- because people don't know who their representative is, they're more likely to be influenced by attack ads that distort the facts.  That's what I mean when I say it's possible to "buy an elected position"- if you can outspend your opponent because a special interest group is funding the campaign, is that really what democratic representation is supposed to be about?

I don't have the solutions to all of these problems.  I do think it's important that we let the charter school folks know that people who attend traditional schools are not doormats.  We care about education too, but have made a choice to address it in a different way. 

Fortunately the article in the Patch delivers the facts in a clear way that everyone should be able to appreciate.  The next step would be to help out Anna.  If you are interested in contributing to her campaign, you can do so by sending her a check at her campaign offices:

Friends of Anna Song for County Board of Education, 2012
1000 Kiely Bl. #46,
Santa Clara, CA 95051
FPPC# 1241672

If you prefer electronic donation, here's the link

The thoughts I have expressed here are my own.   However, in an abundance of caution, I'm also including Anna's FPPC information in case someone decides to interpret this posting as a political advertisement, which it is not. 

I wish Anna well in her race.  I believe she has served the community well, and hope that she continues to be able to do so.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Formal Endorsements: Taglio, Luther for LASD Board

It occurs to me that I haven't written much of a formal endorsement for either Steve Taglio or Pablo Luther.  I hope that you will join me in supporting them for the LASD Board for Trustees.

Steve Taglio
Steve has served the district well in a number of capacities.  Prior to joining the Board, he was a PTA president for two years, as well as volunteering in a number of other capacities in our schools.  He brings with him a broad perspective on our program, and understands what it takes to build community support for our schools.  In his year on the LASD Board, he has shown himself to a strongly independent thinker (occasionally to my chagrin, but that's politics!)  He is not as strident a voice as I tend to be, which is good for the Board and for the community.  Having a mix of voices improves the tenor of the discussion and generally produces a better outcome.

Steve gets a lot of feedback form the community, and he represents those voices well in our debates, both in open session as well as in our closed sessions.  I believe that Steve's wide base of support will be a huge asset as we move through some challenging discussions over the coming years.

Pablo Luther
Pablo has served the district well over the past 7 years, working on the Citizens Advisory Council for Finance (CACF).  Through this work, as well as having had his children attend several LASD schools, he has developed a strong understanding of the complex environment in which LASD operates.  With the economy finally showing signs of improvement, it is an opportunity for us to rebuild the finances of the school district.  Pablo is strongly positioned to guide that discussion so that we build a sustainable financial model for the future.  As a long-time LASD parent, he also understands the unique nature of our school community- how much we rely on parent volunteers, how we work with our staff, and how our program is structured.  This knowledge is critical to anyone's success on the Board. 

Like Steve, Pablo is alto thoughtful in his deliberations, and he seems to be open to exploring many alternatives to issues that we face.  This will also serve us well- fresh blood on the board means we re-examine positions, and ensure that we are constantly making good choices in support of our students.

I am pleased to cast my ballot for Steve Taglio and Pablo Luther for LASD Board of Trustees.

On a related final note, I received a well written letter form a BCS parent responding to some of the comments I'd made about Amanda Burke-Aaronson's fundraising.  My earlier posts focus more on the funding side of Amanda's campaign because she doesn't have much of a record to debate.  One of the things I have seen over the past 3 years on the Board is that community support and knowledge of our program are critical to the success of any Board member.  The years I'd spent on various District committees gave me a broad perspective to bring to my service as a Trustee.  I also spent almost 2 years attending LASD Board meetings before I ran for the Board.  In addition to the raw understanding of the programs and needs, I also developed a network of people I could reach out to ask their thoughts, gain additional perspective, and further explore issues.  No matter how good her intentions, Amanda lacks that network of community support within LASD.  As a BCS parent who hasn't attended LASD Board meetings until last week, Amanda lacks that network and the understanding that comes with it.  I would strongly encourage Amanda to remain engaged, and to attend BCS Board meetings and seek appointment to the BCS Board.  I would be pleased to work with her on solving some of our more challenging issues, in a setting where she can leverage what she knows best (BCS) and I can represent the Los Altos School District, where I've devoted my time and energies for many years.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Campaign Funding, part 2

Steve Taglio
Pablo Luther
In my earlier post, I promised to update folks with the campaign funding docs for the remaining two candidates, Steve Taglio and Pablo Luther.  Both of these gentlemen responded promptly when I asked them for copies of their docs, but frankly I've been focused on other aspects of my Board work, and didn't get around to posting these.  However, following the same theme of transparency, I do include them here for everyone's reading.

Taglio's FPPC Form 460
Luther's FPPC Form 460

Vladimir Ivanovich
Today in the LATC it was reported that Vladimir Ivanovich has withdrawn from the race and thrown his support behind Luther and Taglio.  He cited the risk that his candidacy would actually help Amanda Burke-Aaronson as his primary reason for abandoning the race.  I applaud this decision- it's a wise political move, and it shows that he's thinking about what is best for the students.  I wish Mr. Ivanovich well in his continued service to LASD on CACF and in other capacities.

Amanda Burke-Aaronson
I'd also like to comment on the value of the sunshine process. Within 12 hours of posting Amanda Burke-Aaronson's campaign forms, I'd heard from members of the community confirming all donors except one to be directly tied to BCS. This is exactly why State law requires publication of these documents. The public is entitled to know who is funding a political race.

Ms. Burke-Aaronson responded to questions on the Town Crier website about her contributions.  She said, in part "Is it a big surprise that parents at my children's school are my friends? Is it a big surprise that my friends support me?"  I would respond that no, it isn't surprising at all.  I count among my supporters many parents that I have met through my involvement in activities at my children's schools.  That's just part of the process.  What is troubling, though, is that Ms. Burke-Aaronson doesn't have support of LASD parents.  It would be akin to running for the US Senate seat from California, but not ever having set foot in the state, and raising your campaign war chest in Texas.  The people whom you represent have to have confidence that you are actually representing their interests- not just your own view of how it should be. 

For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery.  -Jonathan Swift
I still remain hopeful that Ms Burke-Aaronson will seek a seat on the BCS Board, and that when she gets that seat, we'll be able to work across the proverbial divide and solve this longstanding and difficult issue.  I just don't think that she would have enough support from our community to be effective in a leadership role at LASD.

Follow-up LASD filing

A quick update on the 2012-13 litigation:

We asked BCS to produce a number of documents related to their use of Blach as part of the process of drafting our motion.  We received about 200 BCS internal emails the night before our filing was due, and so they weren't directly incorporated in the filing we made last week.  However, as we read through them, there were a few that were worth pointing out to the court.  Once again the legal team has done a great job of distilling down the key facts.  Aside from the legal aruments raised, I'd like to point out a few things here:

1)  The back-and-forth between BCS staff with respect to the county board shows what I can only describe as chutzpah.  Their lack of regard for the county is evident in the banter over a simple inquiry.  Of course, the fact that they don't want to honestly answer the question just goes to prove the District's point about the facilities use.

2)  There are also emails between BCS staff and board about their furniture needs for Blach.  As we've told people publicly, BCS was stonewalling the District on their needs, and eventually used that as an opportunity for a photo op to try to make LASD look bad.  This kind of behavior is unproductive, and it's disappointing to see the lengths they went to (incl. taking action that effectively denied their own kids facilities by stalling against LASD requests.) 

None of it is earth-shattering, but it certainly does illustrate the points well enough.  Just 13 days to the hearing...

Stipulation to file
Supplemental Brief
Decl. of Shively

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Congratulations to Oak: A Blue Ribbon School

Most folks will have seen the press release that Oak School was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School.  This prestigious award recognizes schools for exemplary achievement in educating students.  One unique aspect of the NBRS program is that schools have to serve the needs of all students.  The program specifically looks to see that under-privileged students are doing well also.  It is not permissible to skim students, or to serve some students well, but shun others.  Here are the guidelines:
For Public Schools, "high performing" is defined by the CSSO of each state, but at a minimum means (a) that the achievement of the school's students in the most recent year tested places the school in the top 15 percent in the state on state assessments of reading (or English language arts) and mathematics, and (b) disaggregated results for student subgroups, including students from disadvantaged backgrounds, must be similar to the results for all students tested.
This isn't about "teaching to a test", or focusing on one group but ignoring others.  Blue Ribbon Schools are recognized for educating the whole child, and serving every child well.  For more information on the program and criteria, please see the US Department of Education Guidelines

Congratulations to Amy Romen, Principal at Oak, and to her entire staff.  They represent the District's values in how they deliver for our students and in everything they do.  Well done.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A little more sunshine...

Recently, BCS has taken umbrage to my publication of the deposition of one of their board members.  Now, keep in mind that a deposition is sworn testimony- it is the same as someone sitting on the witness stand in open court.  I made a conscious choice to publish the entire transcript, rather than cherry-pick inflamitory pieces.  Nevertheless, when I arrived at the BCS board meeting last week, BCS Board member Janet Medlin felt the need to criticize me for publishing the deposition. 

BCS often reminds LASD that they are a "public school".  Yet, when it comes to behaving like a public institution, some members of their organization seem to struggle with the concepts.  Their recent Board meeting was an excellent example.  Members of the public have complained that deliberations at BCS Board meeting are impossible to hear.  This concerns me quite a bit, since they are debating topics that are crucial to our community.  I decided I would take the drastic step of investing in professional sound equipment, so that I could record their meetings.  Last Monday, I arrived well before the meeting began and was setting up my equipment to record.  As BCS Board members arrived, a couple of them went out of their way to criticize my use of the recording equipment.  One board member refered to it as "intimidation". She complained about the "palace" where we hold the LASD Board meetings (a 1940 sq ft portable located next ot a garage on the Covington site.)   Another board member complained about the placement of small, unobtrusive microphones.  (Link to the description of the mics)  I'm pleased to say that despite having to stash these small microphones under chairs, the recording worked just fine.

I do want to acknowledge that some members of the BCS Board understood the public's interest, and spoke louder and more clearly to ensure we could hear the discussion. On a couple of ocasions, one board member actually paused his colleagues and asked them to repeat comments that were made. If we want to improve relations, it is important that everyone has the same information about plans and intentions.

Still, I fnd these complaints more than a bit ironic.  Section 54953.5 (a) of the Brown Act specifically calls out that members of the public are permitted to record any public meeting.  Further, the complains are more than a bit hypocritical, esp considering that BCS founders video-taped a whole series of LASD Board meetings when they were starting up the charter school.

So, what came out of this meeting?  I'll put that in another post, along with the recording.  In the meantime, the sunshine is a good thing.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A favorable ruling for LASD

One follow-up to my earlier post about the District's cross-complaint.

There was a ruling issued in Los Angeles yesterday that addresses some of the key questions of the LASD/BCS case.  In particular, the appellate ruling says that:

  • Local elected officials and the community have a right to manage their resources locally, and the courts should generally defer to their judgement
  • Prop 39 does not grant charter schools their "first pick" of the District facilities
  • In allocating facilities, the District is entitled to consider the impact on ALL students, and does not need to put charter school children ahead of traditional in-District students.
The timing for this ruling couldn't be better.  I've attached it for folks to read if they'd like.

(Link to LAUSD ruling)

District Response and Counter-Complaint

Today was Walk-about Saturday, a chance to visit our campuses, talk to parents, and see all of the excitement that is a part of LASD.  It is truly one of those days when I feel very fortunate to represent our community by serving on the Board of Trustees.

Of course a lot of folks asked about the lawsuit with BCS.  On Friday, October 12th, the District responded to the BCS complaint for the 2012-13 facilities offer.  That document isn't particularly exciting, unless you have the BCS complaint sitting alongside and like deciphering the legal reasons the BCS complaint is invalid.  The discussion in court will be a lot more interesting.

Here's the District response to the complaint

Much more interesting is the LASD cross-complaint.  In this action, LASD puts before the court the questions that have circled our community for a number of years.  Among those questions, we have asked the court:

  • Do BCS practices which exclude special needs students, English language learners, and socio-economic disadvantaged students impact their status as a public school?
  • Do their extensive private resources factor into the comparison?
  • If they are not a public school, do we still need to provide them the same level of facilities?
  • When determining "reasonably equivalent", can the District legally exclude the impact of private donations such as the LAEF fundraising?
  • Can we really believe their claims of overcrowding when they continue to admit students from outside the District?
  • How can BCS claim to the community that their school is "wonderful and warm" and then tell the court that it is a "youth prison"?
I am very anxious to see these issues tried in court.  For too many years, our community has wrestled with these questions yet not brought them into the court system.  It is time to seek guidance from the courts.  It is time for BCS to answer hard questions about serving our community.

Finally, I feel compelled to mention that Ray Cardozo of Reed Smith has done a fantastic job of distilling all of the community input into a clear, concise legal argument.  Like many in our community, I have been log frustrated by some of the BCS practices.  Ray and his team have put these issues into a legal framework, and raised themas important Constitutional questions.  I am pleased to be working with him, and he is representing our students very well.  As a Trustee, I am appreciative of the thanks and good wishes form the community, but really, the hard work is being done by Ray, Paul, John, Dino, and others on the legal team.  Thanks to all of them.

Read the District's cross-complaint here.

Friday, October 12, 2012

How "equal" delivers better results

A parent sent me this interesting article on the education reform movement in Finland.  It talks at length about how they approached building the world's leading educational program.  One of the most important tennants of their effort was to strive for equlity in all of their schools.

LASD has also followed this same principal. We strive to ensure that the program is equitable across all campuses. We may pilot a program someplace before rolling it out widely, but we aim to ensure that your child has a geat educational experience no matter which campus they attend.  Why do we do this?  We owe every child a first-class education. This is true regardless of their background, or what special needs they may have.  Besides the moral aspects of this approach, it also has the benefit of building wide community support for our schools.  No matter which campus, no matter what the child's interests, we support the child's learning.  In doing so, we achieve consistently high results for all of our students.  Isn't that whay public education is all about?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Campaign Funding - A Little Sunshine

This weekend I was watching the football game with my daughters when there was an ad on against Prop 37 (the food labelling measure).  One of my daughters asked me about the notice at the end of the ad, which caused us to launch into a discussion about campaign finance.  Using Tivo to pause the ad, we read through who had funded the ad, and talked about why they might want to fund a campaign against a ballot measure.  It is in that same spirit, then, that I looked into some campaign funding at the local level. 

Like most folks, I'm looking for a couple of key things when I read these forms:
  • Who funded the campagn?  Is it one person, or a number of donors?  A single donor isn't necessarily a bad thing- I decided not to do any active fundraising for my campaign, so I didn't have a large number of contributors.
  • What interest might those donors have in the candidate's positions.  For example, if candidates take money from a PAC, I would assume that the candidate agreed with the PAC's positions on key issues.
  • How much total funding have they raised?  Remember that this is the first filing, and the candidates can still raise and spend more money, but this is an interesting indicator.  By way of context, I spent about $3500 when I ran 3 years ago, and I believe that the other non-incumbent, Tammy Logan, spent a similar amount. 

Amanda Burke-Aaronson
Quite frankly, I'm not sure what to make of Amanda Burke-Aaronson.  Initially, I thought that she was well intentioned, but perhaps didn't understand the implications of a BCS parent on the LASD Board of Trustees.  However, I've become more concerned as the campaign progressed.  She declined to identify herself as a BCS parent at the first candidate forum.  She also dodged the question of who had funded her campaign.  Since California requires candidates to file statements about who is funding their campaigns, this is public information.  I am attaching a link to Ms. Burke-Aaronson's campaign funding statement here.

For those who may not know all of the players, I did a quick pass through the list.  It is important to note that I do not claim to be an expert in who attends BCS.  However, a quick glance is instructive.  There are current and former BCS Board members, as well as people connected to the BCS Education Foundation.  She received contributions from a large number of BCS parents, including the person who signed the ballot argument against the parcel tax measure for LASD last year.  Even my preliminary look through the list shows that at least half of her donors are affiliated with BCS. 

Along the same lines as that TV ad, I have to wonder why these BCS parents would suddenly pour $10,000 into someone's campaign funds.   I can't recall any LASD Board member who received such substantial outside funding, let alone such a concentrated amount from a group suing LASD.  I want to be clear- I still can't speak to Ms. Burke-Aaronson's motives-- but it does make me wonder what all those donors think she'll do, that they're bankrolling an election fund that is already 3x what I spent on my own campaign just 3 years ago.

Vladimir Ivanovic
Mr Ivanovic is also running, and has taken a decidedly more modest approach to his campaign.  I've seen him at a number of community events, but  he has only spent a very small amount of money as of the most recent filing deadline.  I've also attached a link to his filing.  His sole donor so far is the PTA Exec Board meber at the same LASD school where Mr. Ivanovic's children attend.  His total expenditures to date are less than $1000.

I haven't yet received the filings for the other candidates, but expect to post those shortly.  From the first candidate forum, both Steve Taglio and Pablo Luther indicated that they are primarily self-funded, which tends to make the filings less-than-riveting.

Updated: 10/11, 3pm  : Correction:  Vladimir Ivanovich's campaign donor is the PTA Communications lead for the school, not the PTA president.  My apologies for the error.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Deposition Transcript: Andrea Eyring

I meant to post this one when the final transcript arrived.  This is the deposition of Andrea Eyring, BCS Board Member and Prop 39 lead.  The deposition relates to the facilities complaint for the 2012-13 school year.

As is my practice, I won't provide any commentary, so as to leave the best parts for our lawyers.

One note:  Transcripts are technically the property of the court reporter who takes them down.  I'm told it's OK to post this, but please do not download it.  If you need a copy, you'll need to contact the court reporter.

Transcript of A Eyring

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Legal Filings from BCS (Prop 39 complaint)

I expect that the legal paperwork is going to ramp up quite a bit over the next month or so.  I will try to make it clear at the top of each post which legal action the post deals with:
Prop 39 Complaint (2012-13)
Legal Fees (2009-10)
LASD Cross Complaint (semi-private school)

Prop 39 Complaint

We received the BCS filings for the lawsuit against LASD.  I remain deeply disappointed that BCS would choose to continue to litigate this matter.  I've reviewed the declarations, and as expected, the LASD interpretation of events is materially different from what is stated by BCS.  I won't go into chapter and verse here- I'll leave that to the lawyers, and let them decide when to deconstruct the nonsense in these filings.  Rest assured that the District will vigorously contest these accusations, and we have a few things we'd like the judge to consider while she's reviewing all of this.  I'm grateful that we'll be getting a full and fair hearing on the facts.  Thanks, again, to our legal team.

To say that this process is merely "disappointing" takes a great deal of restraint.  BCS repeatedly harps on the refrain that they want to be part of the community, that they are only interested in what is best for their kids. I find it hard to reconcile that with the blatant manipulation of facts and the use of children as stage props.  BCS takes no responsibility for what they're doing, and then asks why people don't admire them.  Reading these declarations, and understanding that they are manipulating the situation and doing so in order to close a high performing school.. well, let's just say that I don't wonder why they aren't beloved.

Plase note that we do not have any of the Exhibits that should accompany these documents.  once we have them, I will post them here for everyone to see.

Bullis MPA
BCS Notice of Hearing

BCS Board & Principal
Eyring Decl
Hersey Decl
Medlin Decl
Moore Decl

BCS Teachers
Lanzot Decl
Mok Decl
Stone Decl
Torretto Decl

Gonzalez Decl

Notice of Entry Order
Proof of Service

Negotiations Update

Tomorrow the District negotiating team will meet with representatives from the Los Altos Teachers Union to continue negotiations on the contract renewal.  This year, we are using Interest Based Bargaining, which is proving to be very effective in working through areas of mutual concern.  (For a brief overview of Interest Based Bargaining, see my blog post about our training or this Google search)

One of the improvements we've made to the process is that the bargaining teams agree to a joint statement after each session.  I think this gives the community some visibility to what's going on, while still allowing the teams to explore options in a creative way.  Updates from each session are available on the District website here.

We look forward to working with the teachers to come to a workable solution that works for all of the stakeholders- the students, the teachers, the administration, and the community at large.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

NASA comes to Gardner Bullis

Actually, the headline is a bit unfair, since our new principal is much more than just a former astronaut.  Courtney Cadwell is an exceptional educator who has made a huge impact in each role she has taken on.  What is amazing to me is that she has been with LASD for a number of years.  It speaks not only to Ms. Cadwell's credentials, but also to the type of district that we are, that we could attract and retain and promote people of this caliber.

Ms. Cadwell brings tremendous experience to Gardner.  She joined the District several years ago as a teacher, and had been one of the leaders of the Khan Academy pilot program.  From there, she became a math coach in the District and most recently was our STEM coach.  I'm somewhat nervous that we will "lose" her skills as a STEM coach, but she assures us that she'll continue to work on district-wide initiatives, and will remain engaged with teachers across all of our campuses.

I mentioned NASA, and that's not a joke.  In 2003-04 she was one of 99 finalists selected by NASA for a program to put teachers in space.  She maintains a relationship with NASA even now, and her passion for science and math has been a great asset for the District.  In speaking with her, I believe folks will also find that she has a fantastic sense of balance- that she's interested in the whole child, and that she is just as passionate about writing and the arts as she is about space and algebra.  She currently serves as an adviser to the Gates Foundation, and to the Intrepid foundation (part of the Rockefeller Family foundations).

I've attached the letter Jeff Baier sent to the Gardner parent community, as well as Ms. Cadwell's resume.  She is a tremendously talented individual, and we are thrilled to have her as our newest principal in the finest school district in the State of California.

Welcome aboard, Courtney!

Letter from Jeff Baier
Resume, Courtney Cadwell