The CUSD Board announced on March 15th that a decision had been made to release Superintendent Wendy Gudalewicz from her contract. Local news stories about the Superintendent’s release can be found here and here.
Since the announcement, many questions have been asked ….. Parents and community members who’ve been aware of turmoil in the District for a long time ask – What was the final straw? Others who are surprised by the Superintendent’s release are wondering – Why? What happened?
To begin, Superintendent Gudalewicz has a storied history of “reforming” schools and then leaving them in a lurch, according to news stories about her previous positions at Gilroy High School and Independence High School, which can be found here and here.
As for her tenure at CUSD, Superintendent Gudalewicz reigned supreme for 5 years, effecting many unpopular policies with undesirable outcomes. Yet, it was the Board of Trustees who repeatedly failed our community by not providing the appropriate checks and balances. They were complicit in the Superintendent’s ongoing abuse of power and fiscal mismanagement.
When the Superintendent’s legacy is written, it will undoubtedly include many of these horrific lapses in judgment:
West Valley Reconstitution – abruptly reassigning an entire cadre of teachers and staff with no evidence of wrongdoing and devastating a multi-generational community in the process;
Luther School Site – working covertly with developers and Board members in a failed attempt to convert Luther school site to housing;
Fingerprinting Parents – requiring parent volunteers to be fingerprinted before helping out in their childrens’ classrooms, sharply reducing participation in our schools;
Vallco Endorsement – selling our children’s interests and schools to the highest bidder by appearing in developers’ propaganda for the The Hills at Vallco;
Poor Treatment of Teachers – creating a culture of fear and demoralizing staff with top-down decisions and endless amounts of paperwork, resulting in a 63% disapproval rating;
Fiscal Mismanagement – wasteful spending on free staff lunches, deceptive consulting agreements, and administrative overhead;
Cronyism – hiring long-time friends at the public’s expense with very little oversight and accountability;
“Doctored” Oath – inserting additional language to the standard oath of office administered to new Board members;
Yosemite Program Cancellation – abruptly cancelling the annual Yosemite trip for 1,500 eighth graders; and then instead of facing 700 upset parents, tweeting a selfie from a basketball game in Las Vegas.