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After prompting by Lincoln High School stakeholders who have experienced the pain of the SDUSD removing a Principal who they felt was a vital part of providing quality education and HOPE to their children and students, this blogger decided to investigate the parallels between the two Principal removals and came up with some startling parallels and results based on actual quotes and facts…not emotional or accusatory rhetoric.

Cindy Marten Interview VOSD June 2, 2013

“I’m tired of the polarized rhetoric that pits teachers against administration…” (referring to Lincoln High School)

317 Students, Teachers, Parents, Community Members sign a petition with positive comments to SUPPORT Keeping Principal Lizzaraga at SCPA
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/keep-mitzi-lizarraga-as-scpa-principal, and present it to Superintendent Marten and the San Diego Unified School Board BEFORE the Closed session meeting at 2:00 on 6/24/14 and the decision is made secretly in the closed session to re-assign and remove Principal Lizarraga from SCPA.

So since Ms. Marten is “tired of Teachers against administration” (at Lincoln) AND apparently also tired of Teachers FOR Administration (at SCPA) based on her removal of both highly qualified principals, what IS SDUSD Superintendent Marten and the Board of Education ACTUALLY tired of?

Both Principals:
– Are/were strong Site/Campus leaders
– Are women of color
– Have/had a clear vision of what would be successful in each of their schools
– Were producing measurable positive results
– Have teaching, educational and professional credentials that far exceed that of Superintendent Marten and ALL Board Members.
– Are/were in the same sub-district
– Reportedly had frequent conflicts with a specific Board Member who operationally interfered via direct action and intimidation into operational issues forbidden by the SDUSD Board Bylaws (http://www.sandi.net/domain/442) Governance Culture GC7, 1c, 2a, 2b

I leave it up to the reader to decide the motivations by the Superintendent and Board to remove them.

Cindy Marten Interview VOSD June 2, 2013
“We looked at Fortune 500 companies, the ones that are considered best places to work and everyone wants to work at Google, why can’t public school be the best place to work and what does it mean to create it?”

Quote around 1 year later on June 29, 2014 from a highly placed San Diego Unified School District Administrator:

“Everyone is scared to death!!! I’m keeping my head down and my mouth shut.”

This blogger searched far and wide and could not find that type of “fearful” quote from a former or current Google employee. By a large degree of blog, email and verbal responses from SDUSD employees who are afraid to come from the shadows, it is obvious that the “culture” at SDUSD is light years from that of Google. Ironically, I can vouch from first hand experience and numerous comments from site stakeholders that the “culture” at SCPA was remarkably open and collaborative with Principal Lizarraga at the helm.

Again, Ms. Marten in 6/2/13 interview: “I don’t use the word turnaround.”

7 days later: “Forty-two schools in San Diego have already or soon will get a new principal.” (6/9/13)

By this bloggers count, on 6/29/14, there are already around 15 schools that are losing their Principals in 2014/2015…that is close to 1/3 of the SDUSD schools that have a new Principal within 1 school year of the Marten hire. Again, Ms. Marten’s rhetoric reigns supreme…if it walks like turnaround (whatever that secretly means to the Superintendent and Board), and it looks like a turnaround, and bloviates like a turnaround…this blogger believes it is a turnaround.

The question is: A turnaround to what?

Stonger Principals vs. Weaker Principals?
Transparency in decisionmaking vs. Secrecy?
Engaged, inspired administration and teachers vs Intimidated administration and teachers?
True stakeholder engagement vs. Collaboration with stakeholders AFTER irrevocable decisions are made?

Another interesting parallel is the SDUSD public relations strategy of saying one thing to “distract” the public and actually doing something completely opposite merely days later (Robocall to SCPA Parents assuring Principal Lizarraga’s retention – Removal 4 days later; Marten “No Turnaround” statement – 42 Principals removed 7 days later)

The unfortunate thing is, although we are all waiting and hoping for a straightforward SDUSD Superintendent and School Board answer…based on their track record…will we be able to believe it?