New era dawning at Clayton Valley Charter

By Jay Bedecarré on July 2, 2018

CV Interim ED for websiteClayton Valley Charter High School honored its sixth graduating class last month. Just as those grads look ahead to a new chapter of their lives in college, the military or in the work force, their alma mater is setting a new course after the departure of executive director Dave Linzey in May.

Interim executive director Bob Hampton, a charter school veteran administrator, was at the school’s June governing board meeting, giving the board and small audience of members from the public and school his timetable for finding a permanent successor to Linzey in time for the start of the 2018-19 school year next month on Aug. 14.

Hampton acknowledged that the timeline for identifying, interviewing and hiring a new director in two months is aggressive but doable. “I’d prefer it was April 1 but I’m confident we’ll find the right person.” The board approved a $10,000 contract with headhunter Randy Henry to lead the search.

Henry and Hampton explained the process has begun with the posting of the position on numerous educational employment websites, in professional journals and with charter school associations.

Working with the board they will have three panels of stakeholders including faculty, staff, parents, students and the community who will each rank their top three candidates after interviews. The top candidates will proceed to a written exam and then interviews with the board, who make the final decision.

Hampton says the written exam is a key part of the process to make sure the final choice not only has verbal and people skills that come through in interviews but also can communicate clearly and concisely in written format. Eventually the top one or two candidates may be brought on campus for an informal tour and meeting to see about the compatibility of the candidate, board and school.

Linzey’s base salary was in the range of $240,000 and Hampton says he expects compensation for the new director will be in “a more frugal salary range.” He does term the position “a plum assignment” to take CVCHS through the transition. He says all his research shows Clayton Valley Charter has a “good reputation” in the larger charter school community.

Linzey was hired in the spring of 2012 and had been in charge of the charter during its first six years, also serving as school principal until July 2015.

Linzey’s wife Eileen also resigned in early May. Her two terms as a school administrator at CVCHS sparked part of the dissatisfaction among faculty and community members in Dave Linzey and his leadership style.

At the June board meeting a first reading was done of a proposed anti-nepotism policy, which will be vetted this month and brought to the board for approval next Wednesday, July 11.

The two-page policy will forbid the hiring of relatives from immediate family, spouses and domestic partners as well as first cousins, aunts and uncles. A further statement on consensual relationships outlines policy concerning employees in “consensual romantic or sexual relationships between supervisors and employees and between faculty/staff.”

Hampton was approved for 15 more days in his interim position (at $1000 a day) in addition to the 13 days he served in that capacity through the end of May.

Besides the executive director search, Hampton is focused on developing the school’s strategic plan. In that effort he received over 500 responses from a community survey on the school website as well as input from a Town Hall meeting and meetings with staff, faculty and administers.

The 24 stakeholders he wants on the committee to develop the strategic plan in mid-July will include county school officials, students, parents, community members and all elements of employees from the campus. He expects the strategic plan to include a more “lean and mean” management structure, eliminating some perceived redundancies.

He also had a “productive conversation” with the bargaining unit to “get their perspective” on the school. Among the most controversial aspects of the Linzey years was the departure of the majority of teachers who were with Clayton Valley at the beginning of its charter conversion.

Board chairperson Kristy Downs and Hampton met with the County Office of Education, who have expressed a number of concerns with CVCHS since the Linzey departure. “We had a very positive dialogue with CCCOE about the Charter’s compliance, mission and vision,” Hampton added.

A proposed budget of $23 million for the upcoming school year, with nearly $2 million in revenue surplus over expenses, was approved pending education allocations in the $201 billion state budget  signed by Gov. Brown.

Consultant Miles Denniston did issue a warning that potential substantial increases in health care and retirement costs must be monitored. He also said that the apparent next governor, Gavin Newsom, will be the first anti-charter governor in a quarter century. The school anticipates a total surplus of about $16.5 million when the books are closed on this school year in the fall.
It was announced that governing board member Merle Hall had resigned.

The governing board had a special session last week on June 27. The meeting included a closed session where the agenda said the board was to discuss seven lawsuits with legal counsel. Suits specifically mentioned in the agenda are CVCHS vs. MDUSD and MDUSD vs. CVCHS that date back several years concerning the amount of annual rent the charter is to pay its former district and owner of the school facility.

Former administrator Greg Hile also filed a suit against Dave Linzey and the school in 2016 for discrimination and wrongful termination and that was also listed for discussion in closed session.
No action was reported out of the closed session.

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