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November 1, 2011 > New Haven District School Board updates

New Haven District School Board updates

Submitted By Rick La Plante

Kevin Harper, a member of the New Haven Unified School District Board of Education for the past seven years, is moving out of the District and will resign his position, effective at the end of the calendar year, he announced at the Board meeting on October 18.

Mr. Harper and his wife, Jean, who have two sons who attended New Haven schools, are in the process of building a home in Castro Valley. While construction is being completed, they plan to live in San Francisco.

Elected to the Board in 2004, Mr. Harper served as President in 2007-08. He was re-elected to the Board in 2008 and currently serves as Clerk.

To fill the coming vacancy, the Board will have the option of calling a special election or make a provisional appointment. Board President Michelle Matthews stated that the Board would begin taking applications from New Haven residents interested in being appointed.

When applications are available, the District will announce details about the appointment process, including the application deadline and the date(s) for candidates to interview with the Board. The appointment will be effective only until after the November 2012 election, when Mr. Harper's term would have expired and the seat will be one of three on the ballot.

In other New Haven Board of Education meeting news:

The Board received a presentation from representatives of a group of parents, teachers, classified employees, administrators and business/community leaders advocating for the District to make another attempt to pass a parcel tax, to relieve some of the budget pressures caused by the state's ongoing financial crisis.

The group, including supporters of the Measure B parcel tax that missed passing by a handful of votes last spring, asked the Board to commission a poll of the community to help determine: 1) what priorities voters would support; 2) how much voters would be willing to pay; and 3) whether a May mail-in ballot (similar to Measure B) or the November general election would give the effort a better chance to succeed.

The Board agendized a decision for the upcoming November 1 meeting.

Also, the Board appointed Dr. Olivia Lynch as the new Director of K-12 Programs, replacing Joe Feldman. Mr. Feldman -- who has helped lead District initiatives in secondary instruction, Gifted and Talented Education, grading and equity -- is leaving at the end of the month to become vice president of a non-profit peer health organization.

Dr. Lynch has more than 30 years of professional experience in education, providing services and supports on a number of initiatives and programs in schools, districts, educational organizations and with the federal Department of Education. A coach with ConnectEd with the University of San Diego's program for large high schools with academies, she already has worked with James Logan High School on redesign efforts. She also has worked on school reform in Hayward, Oakland and Petaluma, as well as in New York, New Jersey, Mississippi and other states.

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