A concerned parent made public comments regarding the West Valley Reconstitution at the CUSD Board meeting on March 22, 2016. He subsequently filed a formal complaint with the Board regarding the conduct of Superintendent Wendy Gudalewicz. The text of his public comments and complaint are below.
Dear Members of the Board of Education, Cupertino Union School District,
Please find below the text of my public comments to the Board at the 3/22/2016 meeting.
On this date, March 24, 2016, please accept this letter as a formal complaint in regards to the conduct of Superintendent Wendy Gudalewicz. As provided for in Board Policy 1312.1, I respectfully request that the Board appoint a neutral party to investigate this complaint and report directly to the Board. The investigator should be allowed access to un-redacted District communications.
I allege that District communications demonstrate Superintendent Wendy Gudalewicz has intentionally misled parents, the community, District employees, and possibly Board Members, concerning the nature and extent of “tensions” that were used to justify the reconstitution of the West Valley Elementary school. As stated in my comments, there is evidence that Superintendent Gudalewicz took improper actions to conceal true issues caused by her mismanagement and to protect her personal interests.
Superintendent Gudalewicz’s improper concealment of the West Valley discussion had induced the Board to violate the Brown Act during the June 6, 2015 closed session. Differing accounts of the action to reconstitute West Valley Elementary indicate that the closed session Board discussions were intended to deceive the various stakeholders.
District communications show that Superintendent Gudalewicz’s association with the consultants of Human Systems Dynamics (HSD) borders on, or possibly merits, conflict of interest. A pattern of mutual self-promotion at District expense can be shown between Superintendent Gudalewicz and HSD. A March 20, 2015 email from an HSD representative thanks Superintendent Gudalewicz for her “insights that will be most valuable in helping the HSD Institute leverage their unique market position,” and followed by an offer to feature the District as a “Case Study for inclusion in “success stories”.”
District documents show a mishandling and lax oversight in regards to the Superintendent’s contracts with consultants. For example, documents show that Superintendent Gudalewicz approved payment to consultant Royce Holladay (Human Systems Dynamics) that exceeded the terms of a June 1, 2015 contract in several aspects. The contract calls only to “perform a cohort”, which was the single day June 2, 2015 meeting with West Valley teachers, but Wendy Gudalewicz approved payment for an invoice of “consulting, 5 days”. Ms. Holladay was also reimbursed for airfare, hotel, and car rental that was not provided in the contract, and some dates were outside the contract dates.
I believe that these actions by Superintendent Wendy Gudalewicz constitute misconduct, and are in conflict with the Board Policy 2111 requirements for the position of Superintendent, as well as duties defined in her employment contract. I urge the Board to appoint an investigator as soon as possible. As there are a great deal of supporting documents, I welcome the opportunity to provide any clarification, additional details, or documents that substantiate these allegations as needed to investigate.
I will be copying my complaint to leaders of the CEA teacher union because some communications, such as the attached teacher complaint, show District employees were also excluded from truthful information, and presents the possibility that a partial motivation for the reconstitution may have been retaliation against teachers for contacting their union.
The following is the text of my full comments and request to the CUSD Board at the 3/22/2016 meeting concerning the unknown “tensions” that were used as justification for the reconstitution of the West Valley Elementary school.
I am here to discuss the action to reconstitute West Valley Elementary, and why this inspires no confidence in the District leadership.
I know that the West Valley reconstitution has been approved before, without any factual justification, but the community has discovered new information that further shows that the action was unjustified and the explanation was fraudulent.
Complaints and accusations are not exempt from the California Public Records Act. As such, community members had requested District documents concerning complaints, concerns, or tensions over the year prior to the reconstitution.
We knew that the West Valley teachers had expressed their concerns about administration actions in a memo to the principal in January 2015. The Principal did not respond except to dismiss all three first year teachers, which compounded the true tension surrounding the principal.
After that, there were only two complaints documented, one from a parent and one from a teacher, and we now see that these were produced as justification only after the bogus resolution was underway.
On May 18, the day before a surprise survey of West Valley teachers, the principal forwarded a parent’s concerns about the teaching at West Valley to the District leadership. Even assuming the parent criticism of teachers was valid, the parent notes that the shortcomings only occurred that year, which is the same year that the new Principal arrived. The parent also tells that she removed her older children from Cupertino Middle School for the exact same reasons. If Cupertino Middle School is even worse, why wasn’t that school reconstituted?
Further, when she forwards the parent concerns to the District leadership, the principal jokes, “I appreciate her advice although she has no clue to what is happening behinds (sic) the scenes in confidence.”
On May 19, 2015, the teacher complaint was sent to the District leadership and the West Valley principal, after she claims to have received awkward stares, and saw teachers talking afterschool. As proof of being excluded, she attached another teacher’s private email, concerning that teacher’s scheduled meeting with the teachers union about the strange survey interviews that day. She notes that this “bullying” only happened in the past few months. (By the way, the excluding teachers email says “please forward to anyone that I missed. Thanks!” … which shows that the accusing teacher was not being excluded.)
In her complaint, the accusing teacher asks the District leaders what information has been shared with the teachers union. Quote: “Does the CEA know the real purpose of your interview today with the West Valley teachers?”, noting that she has not filed a grievance. Clearly, the accusing teacher and the Administration were the ones keeping secrets and bullying.
It is not difficult to understand that if a teacher is forwarding private emails, or relaying private conversations, to the Principal and District leadership, that other teachers would be wary around her. That is not bullying, that is common sense. I do not blame the accusing teacher, because the unpleasant situation was provoked and intentionally mishandled by the District leadership for their own purpose.
These two lonely complaints didn’t matter anyway. As early as April 6, 2015 Royce Holladay tells the Principal that she and Superintendent Gudalewicz are “exploring possibilities” for issues at West Valley. Royce Holladay, the Human Systems Dynamics consultant, is the same person who participated in the sham mediation of the teachers, was then awarded a $100,000 contract this year, and has conducted mutual self-adulation events with the Superintendent. I allege that the Superintendent created fraudulent justifications to protect her personal interests, and her close association with the consultant Royce Holladay, both of whose poor guidance to the principal had failed West Valley Elementary.
The action to reconstitute West Valley was unjustified and fraudulent. The Superintendent showed extremely poor management, and has not been truthful to the District employees, to the community, and, I suspect, to some Board members. Was the Board shown the complete ridiculous complaints?
I am calling on the Superintendent to resign her position, or for the Board to remove her for cause.