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December 21, 2010 > Hayward Unified School District Board meeting report

Hayward Unified School District Board meeting report

Outgoing board members celebrated; election of officers a surprising upset

By Robin Michel

Although the December 8 Hayward Unified School District (HUSD) Board meeting was brief, it still contained plenty of drama. Everyone stood when the meeting began with a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, performed by the elegantly dressed Mount Eden Chamber Choir, whose voices filled the hall with power and grace. After well deserved thunderous applause, the Choir left the chambers and the meeting began. Superintendent Janis Duran reported out in closed session that the board made the following appointments: George Mitsopoalos, Interim Assistant Principal, Mount Eden High School; and Irene Preciado, Principal, Cherryland Elementary School.

This meeting signaled the end of service by outgoing officers Clerk Sheila Sims and President Paul Frumkin III. Clerk Sims made her comments first, saying, "It has been a pleasure to serve on the board, although I must admit that I was a little disappointed." She made the audience laugh when she said she now understands what it feels like to be on "Dancing with the Stars," "but it is the best thing for me." She thanked her fellow board members and wished the new members well.

President Frumkin, who served on the board for ten years, spoke with deep affection for all his fellow board members and the many staff members he has worked with through the years, reading a long list of names he wanted to thank. "I am a proud product of Hayward schools," he said, "a graduate of Tennyson High School." He spoke of how once Hayward Unified was considered one of the best districts in the state and expressed his faith that "we can achieve this again." He welcomed new board members Lisa Brunner and Will McGee, and ended with a call to action for everyone in the district and community to "Keep On Keepin' On."

Trustee Jesus Armas said that Mr. Frumkin was a veteran "motivated for all the right reasons," and spoke of their long association in working on behalf of the community in various ways. Of Ms. Sims he said that she was an individual "with the least amount of ego, or need for personal attention." He described her efforts on behalf of students behind the scenes and how she never sought credit for her work, adding "I am impressed by her quiet strength." These sentiments for both Mr. Frumkin and Ms. Sims were echoed by Vice President Heredia, who spoke with respect and gratitude for their service to the students.

On behalf of Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, Judge Dennis Hayashi administered the oath to re-elected Trustee Armas and newly-elected Trustee Lisa Brunner. Hayward City Council member Marvin Peixoto administered the oath for William McGee. At the invitation of Vice President Heredia, the new board members were invited to the dais and the election of new officers began. In a surprising turn of events, Trustee Heredia, who was nominated for president by Trustee Armas, lost to newcomer Lisa Brunner. This was repeated in the election for vice-president, with Trustee Heredia nominating Armas, who lost to Will McGee. Trustee Luis Reynoso served as tie-breaker in both elections, and was rewarded for his actions by being elected clerk.

Clearly, new alliances were being formed, and there was speculation in the audience that this action was decided before the board meeting began. Brunner's first action as President was to request that Superintendent Janis Duran move to the far right of the room (seating for student board members had changed to the left of the room before the meeting began), a suggestion that Trustee Reynoso has repeatedly brought up time and again in past meetings. A statement made by Reynoso during board member comments seems to give some credence to this speculation, when he said we must reject "the poison of myth" referring to electing officers with experience.

Trustee Armas in his own comments thanked the voters and said that when one believes in democracy, one must honor the process. He described knocking on doors during the campaign, saying, "What was clear is that everyone wants the district to get better."

Two items were pulled from the agenda: the Interim Budget, at the request of Superintendent Duran who wanted to move it to a special meeting, and the K-3 Class Size Reduction Application, at the request of newly elected Vice President McGee. Each of these items will be presented at the special board meeting on December 15 at the District Office, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. A summary of the board meeting is available on the District website at www.husd.12.ca.us.

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