CONCORD -- The Mt. Diablo school board appeared lighthearted and jubilant Wednesday, joining newly appointed Superintendent Nellie Meyer in a ceremonial contract-signing.
The board unanimously appointed Meyer, who will leave her job as a deputy superintendent in the San Diego district to take the position. She said she appreciated the warm welcome she has received thus far, along with the privilege of being appointed on the first day of school for all students in the district, including kindergartners in the class of 2027.
"It is an honor," she said. "And as we start this new year, I look forward to growth, I look forward to collaboration and I look forward to a new focus. So, those are the three things I want us to think about."
After one member of the audience cranked up the Kool and the Gang tune "Celebration," on a cellphone, others started clapping and dancing in their seats while Meyer and the board signed her $245,000 a year contract, effective Sept. 23 through June 30, 2016.
"This is the most fun we've ever had, I think," board President Cheryl Hansen quipped, after the Diablo Manager's Association presented Meyer with a shirt embroidered with the title "Superintendent."
The board began searching for a new superintendent after deciding in a split vote in April to end the contracts of former Superintendent Steven Lawrence and former General Counsel Greg Rolen a year early, due to distrust in the district and low employee morale.
Some members of the staff and public who spoke Wednesday brought the meeting back to Earth as they gave Meyer a glimpse of controversies that still exist in the district regarding union negotiations, planned lights at Ygnacio Valley High and a complaint by a teacher who reported that a custodian threw away instructional materials she had purchased with $500 in grant money.
"I look forward to a chance to take on new and challenging topics," Meyer told the board and audience. "And I've heard some tonight."
After approving Meyer's contract, the board appointed Michael Burstein as vice principal of College Park High in Pleasant Hill, Nicole Reyherme as vice principal of Northgate High in Walnut Creek and Efa Huckaby as vice principal of Ygnacio Valley High in Concord. In addition, the board entered into a legal services contract with Meyers Nave for "specialized litigation services" related to allegations that a former Woodside Elementary teacher molested 13 students between 2006 and April, and that district staff failed to properly report suspected abuse to authorities.
Additional details about the meeting are available by calling 925-682-8000 ext. 4000 or by visiting https://ebspublic.mdusd.k12.CA.us. Click on Aug. 28.
To see video from the meeting, visit www.contracostatimes.com.