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Glenview Elementary Day of Action

Glenview Elementary has learned that its principal, Ms. Dietra Atkins, is retiring. The Oakland Unified School District, as it searches for a replacement, has also indicated it will lay off the school’s beloved secretary, Ms. Yolanda Brown.

Ms. Brown is not just any secretary. She is loved by the staff, students and families of Glenview Elementary. As one concerned Glenview Elementary parent said, “Ms Yolanda Brown has been with our school for 12 years and is an incredible resource to the children, faculty and staff. She is the heart of our school. To lose Ms. Brown in the wake of losing our principle presents a unique hardship to our school and could impact our continuing success.”

This concerned parent has written a form letter and petition to send the OUSD Superintendent. She asks that you sign it online today so she can send a message that Ms. Brown’s position should be retained.

Here is the form letter that appears on the online petition:

TO: Tony Smith, Superintendent, Oakland Unified School District
CC: Mynette Theard, SEIU Local 1021

I am writing to ask that Yolanda Brown’s removal from Glenview Elementary School be reconsidered in light of her extensive years of service to our school and the need to retain as much school-wide continuity as possible while we are in transition to a new principal. The loss of Yolanda Brown – during the same year as the loss of Glenview’s longtime principal, Deitra Atkins, who together represent two-thirds of Glenview’s administrative staff – would be devastating and deeply disruptive to our school’s continued, but still vulnerable, success.

During her 12-year tenure at Glenview, Yolanda has worked diligently to support the principal, teachers, parents, and most importantly, the students. Yolanda is honest, kind and cool under pressure. Current and prospective parents often comment on Yolanda’s warm yet professional demeanor, and she is often the first person that speaks to prospective parents interested in sending their child to Glenview. For that reason, Yolanda has been a tremendous asset in helping the school recruit involved families. These families can see, from their initial conversations with Yolanda, that we have a very special community here at our school.

Along with dedicated teachers and parents, Ms. Brown has worked diligently to facilitate Glenview’s evolution into a vibrant, successful school community. In fact, over the course of her tenure, Glenview’s API has increased from 618 in 1999 to 835 in 2010. The District cannot afford to lose her at this time and risk letting Glenview slide backwards.

Yolanda is also key to a successful transition with our new principal. A secretary like Ms. Brown, who has been with Glenview for 12 years, can bring a type of support to a new principal that no operations coach can. From her deep understanding of each family’s circumstances (she knows every parent and child’s name!) to her unparalleled institutional memory, Yolanda’s administrative presence is essential to our upcoming transition.

We know that the district has spent significant time and resources during its principal “matching” process. Retaining Ms. Brown will leverage this financial investment and greatly increase the odds of a new principal’s success. Indeed, experiences at other OUSD schools have demonstrated that a solid administrative foundation is key to the success of a new principal.

To conclude, we ask that you retain Yolanda Brown at Glenview. We understand that the decision to lay-off Ms. Brown is not final and that OUSD can still change this outcome. We implore that despite OUSD’s short-term economic turmoil, it prevent long-term turmoil by doing everything in its power to retain Yolanda Brown at Glenview Elementary.

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