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Alvord Unified needs productive leadership from its board

By in Press Enterprise on July 25, 2017

By Damien O’Farrell

The Alvord Unified School District Board of Education meetings of late, and particularly that of June 8, have drawn serious concern within the community and amongst members of the Raincross Group — a community group dedicated to advancing the values and practices of effective leadership, vision, transparency and political courage within our community and amongst those who are elected, hired and appointed to lead.

In the past few years Alvord Unified has made notable improvements under Superintendent Sid Salazar — expanding programs, building partnerships and enhancing the district’s stature in the community. The Raincross Group is impressed with the development of the district’s strategic plan, including the emphasis on collaborating with strategic community partners, developing the character of students, addressing the unique circumstances of each student and preparing all students for college and careers. However, in recent months, board members have become distracted to the point that public meetings are divisive and mean-spirited. Consequently, the primary mission of educating our children and supporting work in the classrooms by students, teachers, staff and parents is all but lost in the acrimony.

In particular, Board member Joseph Barragan’s alleged social media activity, where he evidently attacked the district’s superintendent and its teachers, and in public criticized the food service operations, has created an atmosphere wherein hard-working educators and the community alike have been insulted and incensed.

The Board placed a censure of Mr. Barragan on the agenda twice, which it then withdrew twice, offering an open invitation at the June 8 meeting for an angry audience to spend the bulk of the meeting stoking the controversy rather than addressing other district business and efforts to benefit the children the board has been elected to serve.

Unfortunately, this type of behavior reflects a re-emerging pattern for the Alvord Unified School District board observed by many in the […]    

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