Controversy Growing Over DHS Principal’s Dismissal

davis-high-schoolThe Davis Enterprise reports this morning that Davis High Principal Jacqui Moore told the paper she will not be returning as principal in the fall, citing “philosophical differences” between herself and the school board, but she declined to elaborate further than that.
School Board President Sheila Allen told the paper, “There is no current plan to release any classified or certificated employee before the end of the school year, and the administration is bringing forward an annual review of administrators at this Thursday’s board meeting. If there is a decision, there will be a public announcement at that time.”

On Saturday night, the Vanguard received an email to multiple recipients from past DTA President Ingrid Salim, co-signed by Trisha Butler, Leigh Choate, Linda Husmann and Ann Moriarty.

She writes, “Dr. Jacqui Moore has been informed that she will face a Board vote in closed session Thursday night to remove her from her post as DHS principal and place her, as of Friday, as a teacher in a classroom.”

Ms. Salim continues, “The absence of a transparent evaluation of her performance based on her job description, and including all stakeholders is a tremendous concern for the staff at DHS and Community members. “

“What could ever justify the disruption this will cause to our site?” she writes.  “The board members appear not to have considered the effects on the teachers, classified staff and ultimately the students to endure such a change.  We wonder what, outside of a criminal charge, would ever warrant such a chaotic move.  We also wonder on what real leadership or pedagogical basis she would be deemed incompetent to provide leadership at DHS.”

“Many of us admire and respect Dr. Moore for her vision and leadership. But even those who may not be as enthusiastic still see that something is very wrong when our elected Board members take on the task of firing administrators, half way through a school year without consulting widely with those the Board members are here to serve,” Ms. Salim writes.

The letter urges members of the community to write letters to the paper and the Board of Education, to make a public comment at next week’s board meeting and the letter even goes so far as to suggest the recall of one or more board members.

“We urge you therefore, to participate in a one-week action, with the goal of letting the Board know that we will not tolerate such unilateral decisions which affect so many,” they write.  “We wish to see a fair and just evaluation process for administrators, as well as time for those folks, previously chosen by the Board to serve in their positions, to change specifically identified weak areas.  We believe it’s time to make a stand.”

The Davis Enterprise notes that Ms. Moore came to Davis as the Davis High School Principal in August, 2010.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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30 Comments

  1. JimmysDaughter

    DaVinci High is a better school than DHS. Hindsight is 20/20 but I really wish my son had attended DaVinci. My daughter attended and for the most part, it was quite impressive. A totally different philosophy, less competitive, more humane. Thank you so much, DaVinci staff. You focused on the important lessons in life.

  2. sallystory

    It would be nice to know more details on this case. What was the gripe against the principal? Could the Vanguard invite her to write her side of the story?

  3. GreenandGolden

    Now, as Measure I is passing into the rear view mirror, the DHS Principal’s dismissal will give Bob Dunning new life. Those who read the Davis Emptyprise will feast on his filibuster, day after day, of the lack of transparency in the firing of Dr. Jacqui Moore. The women’s’ basketball coach’s firing is reborn; she is risen! Go git it Bob!

  4. Davis Teacher

    Salim’s letter states that the board is taking this action “without consulting widely with those the Board members are here to serve.” Not true. Board members and district administrators HAVE consulted widely, which is why they’ve come to the conclusion that Dr. Moore must go. Many, many teachers and parents have shared serious concerns with the district and the board. (Although I think the letter has it wrong about a mid-year change; Sheila Allen made it clear in the Davis Enterprise article that this would happen at the end of the year.)

  5. wdf1

    G&G: [i]Now, as Measure I is passing into the rear view mirror, the DHS Principal’s dismissal will give Bob Dunning new life.[/i]

    There is also GATE-gate — Signatures, testimonials forged on online pro-GATE petition ([url]http://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/signatures-testimonials-forged-on-online-pro-gate-petition/[/url]).

    JimmysD.: [i]DaVinci High is a better school than DHS. Hindsight is 20/20 but I really wish my son had attended DaVinci.[/i]

    DV is great program, but it isn’t for everybody. DHS offers a structure that DV tries to break down. But some students actually prefer that kind of structure. I say we are lucky to have choices.

  6. JimmysDaughter

    DHS philosophy seems to be to catch the students doing wrong. DaVinci focuses on catching the students doing something right. It made all the difference, IMO.

  7. hpierce

    Wow.

    There is no indication in the principal’s comments that would indicate this is other than her personal career choice. In an email sent out to the Vanguard and others, we have assertions that it is a personnel matter, regarding a public employee. Somehow, the writers of the e-mail have information that would be inappropriate coming from either the principal or the board. The e-mail writers want a public consideration of whether there is a problem with, [quote]The absence of a transparent evaluation of her performance based on her job description, and including all stakeholders is a tremendous concern for the staff at DHS and Community members.[/quote]

    Scary, for the following reasons:

    If it is a personal career choice, it should be “let go”.
    If it is a personnel issue, Salim et. al. should not have been privy to it… if the leak was from the principal [which would be inappropriate], it should have been held confidential by the teachers,.. in my opinion, discipline, up to and including dismissal, would be appropriate for those bringing a personnel matter into the public forum before anything has happened.
    If the leak came from the Board, the board member should be identified and subject to a potential recall… if it came from other staff, they should be disciplined, and/or dismissed.
    If Ms Salim and the others believe that the alleged personnel matter should be “transparent” and open to “stakeholders”, do they support the same treatment for any administrator, any teacher, to have each and every ‘performance evaluation’ brought into the public forum? [I’m thinking that their idea of ‘transparency’ is specific to the principal, and the LAST thing they would want is to have the same ‘transparency’ for themselves… I may be wrong]
    I appeal to the Vanguard board (and will probably copy the Emptyprize) to delete this thread, and either let someone’s personal choice to stand, or let a personnel matter, regarding a public employee, take its course, rather than turning a personnel matter into a vox populi matter.

  8. wdf1

    JimmysD: [i]DHS philosophy seems to be to catch the students doing wrong. DaVinci focuses on catching the students doing something right.[/i]

    That maybe. I see at least two different social structures in play. DV operates on a more collaborative, less authoritarian environment, which I appreciate. But there are some valued activities, such as band, orchestra, and team sports that operate on a more authoritarian social structure, and which DHS offers as quite good programs, IMO. I don’t see DV attempting to offer those latter kinds of activities, nor have I seen any attempt to do so. They do allow their students enroll in those activities at DHS, which is an added flexibility in which everyone wins.

  9. JustSaying

    [b]”…DHS Principal’s Dismissal” ?[/b]

    Sez who?

    The [i]Vanguard[/i] is way ahead of any facts in reporting that Dr. Moore has been dismissed. Even if all the Salim allegations are true (questionable at the least), no action to dismiss her–let alone move her to another position–has happened.[quote]“We wonder what, outside of a criminal charge, would ever warrant such a chaotic move. We also wonder on what real leadership or pedagogical basis she would be deemed incompetent to provide leadership at DHS.”[/quote]David deserves credit for assuring that this kind of public wondering is attributed to the responsible writers and not to some secret source.

    My, my, talk of a “criminal charge” and incompetence? I wonder what Ingrid Salim, Trisha Butler, Leigh Choate, Linda Husmann and Ann Moriarty are thinking by lobbing this preemptive strike against our school board.

    Do they think they’re doing Dr. Moore (“and ultimately the students”) any favors with their nasty public demand for a recall-threatening “one-week action”?[quote]“Jacqui Moore…will be moving on at the end of the school year. Moore confirmed Saturday that she will not (be) returning as principal…cited “philosophical differences”…but politely declined to elaborate (to the [u]Enterprise[/u]).”[/quote]What a shame that Ms. Salim and the other four cannot respect Dr. Moore’s approach and offer up some politeness by declining to speculate.

  10. David M. Greenwald

    It seems we have some conflicting information now.

    ” I was informed that the board was going to let me go ; now I have been told that that may not happen. Everything depends on what happens in the closed session at the Board meeting on Thursday.”

    I also got a call from one of the board members, the district obviously can’t comment on a personnel matter, but they will explain the process. The board member did not seem to dispute the accuracy of the dismissal however, so stay tuned.

  11. David M. Greenwald

    “What a shame that Ms. Salim and the other four cannot respect Dr. Moore’s approach and offer up some politeness by declining to speculate. “

    The problem I have with you comment is that it appears that Ms. Salim was getting the information directly from Ms. Moore, so it’s really not speculation. Also the Enterprise seems to suggest that it was mutual and Ms. Salim and Ms. Moore suggest that is not the case.

  12. David M. Greenwald

    “Yet, from a broader perspective your concern is inconsistent.”

    How is my concern inconsistent? It seems very consistent from my perspective both on this issue and across an array of issues.

  13. eagle eye

    It appears the school board members have been having some quiet, off-the-record, discussions about the principal, and at least one school board member or administrator gave the principal a head’s up.

    Several school board members are nothing so much as politicians –
    their interest in people’s welfare is minimal – it’s all about elections.

  14. medwoman

    Eagle eye

    [quote]Several school board members are nothing so much as politicians –
    their interest in people’s welfare is minimal – it’s all about elections.[/quote]

    Specific names and evidence for this assertion would be appreciated. Otherwise this is nothing but an unsubstantiated attack such as those that MH has become infamous for on other threads.

  15. JustSaying

    “I was informed that the board was going to let me go ; now I have been told that that may not happen. Everything depends on what happens in the closed session at the Board meeting on Thursday.”

    Did you get this “conflicting information” directly from Dr. Moore? Where is it coming from?

    “The problem I have with you comment is that it appears that Ms. Salim was getting the information directly from Ms. Moore, so it’s really not speculation. Also the Enterprise seems to suggest that it was mutual and Ms. Salim and Ms. Moore suggest that is not the case.”

    How things “appear” need to be confirmed if you’re really now claiming that Ms. Salim is doing this public pot-stirring at Dr. Moore’s behest. Are you saying that Dr. Moore is incorrectly quoted in the Enterprise? Did Dr. Moore allege this to you?

    The fact that Ms. Salim’s letter already is being discounted by your own reporting of “conflicting information” suggests it was speculation–and the board has yet to meet, of course.

    The email you received is packed with allegations of what might happen but obviously hasn’t yet happened–fairly called speculation in my book. My point, however, is that these five folks can’t be helping Dr. Moore’s situation by these actions if she’s accurate about “philosophical differences” between her and her employer.

    Did Ms. Salim actually tell you that the information in her email came from the principal? Did she say the Dr. Moore asked for or approved of the letter-writing “one-week action” on her behalf. No good is going to come from this.

    “I also got a call from one of the board members, the district obviously can’t comment on a personnel matter….The board member did not seem to dispute the accuracy of the dismissal however….”

    What does this imply? Which board member called you to “not seem to dispute the accuracy of the dismissal”? Since the person couldn’t comment in the first place, why would not disputing have any significance? Did he or she also not dispute that the high school burned down last week?

  16. eagle eye

    Medwoman – I think no one would make a comment like mine without good reason, would they? What would be the point?
    And we know that city councils and school boards are too often stepping stones for people seeking higher office, esp. true in Davis.

    That said,
    I contacted all the County supervisors, and followed up several times with Jim Provenza, re the history of abuse at Safe Harbor Crisis House.
    (E.g., Staff rape of a resident, a death, mistreatment requiring months of hospital care, plus many other verified complaints.) This brought me into contact with Gina and Sheila, Jim’s assistants. But they have all been non-responsive to these tragic problems, even to a simple, virtually cost-free suggestion I made that could improve the situation.
    Gina at one point emailed that Provenza was “out of town next week”, but would get back to me upon his return. Funny thing though, “out of town” included a lengthy public meeting he chaired at the Davis Library.
    Safe Harbor constantly pleads poverty, but charges $300 per day per person, even though there is no doctor, nurse, psych tech, psychologist, or other licensed or certified person at the facility. Where is all the excess money going?
    The former director of ADMH pressed YCCC/Safe Harbor to comply with audit
    requirements, they refused, and he was promptly fired by the County
    supervisors.
    One can only wonder what’s going on. Sheila and Gina have dropped the
    ball entirely, no response from Provenza, or any other supervisor.

    —-If they don’t care about a woman being raped at the “crisis” house,
    why would they care about young women at the high school, or, any student
    at the high school?

  17. David M. Greenwald

    Just saying:

    Premature is a better word than speculative. The problem is that the message sent to Ms. Moore was poorly worded. She thought she was terminated and contacted the enterprise. Apparently that decision won’t be made until Thursday. Hopefully we will get at least procedural clarification from the district. I believe this information to be accurate, however, I decline to comment on the source of this information.

  18. medwoman

    eagle eye

    First I want to thank you for taking the time to document specifics of a circumstance of concern. I agree that this type of issue deserves prompt evaluation and response.

    [quote] I think no one would make a comment like mine without good reason, would they? What would be the point?And we know that city councils and school boards are too often stepping stones for people seeking higher office, esp. true in Davis.
    [/quote]

    Although I cannot attest to their motives, we have seen many posters on the Vanguard make comments for which they never provide justification or examples. Pick virtually any controversial comment and you will find unsupported accusations.

    As for your second point about city councils and school boards “too often” being used as stepping stones for people seeking higher office, I see this from a different perspective. I feel that it is often important to gain experience in less complicated positions before taking on more influential or important positions. One could certainly say that I used medical school and residency as “stepping stones” to becoming a
    boarded obstetrician gynecologist. Or that in our system one almost always uses the position of assistant chief before advancing to chief of a department, and almost always serves as a chief before going on to become a medical director. This does not mean that one is neglecting the starter or learning position, in fact one may be working extremely hard in that position which is needed to learn the ropes sufficiently to be successful in a more complex position.

  19. wdf1

    Link to the article referenced in the blog: Davis High principal won’t return this fall ([url]http://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/schools-news/davis-high-principal-wont-return-this-fall/[/url])

  20. JustSaying

    Thank you, wdf1, for the link.

    Kind of interesting: here David is quoting Ms. Salim to inform Vanguard readers that Dr. Moore has been dismissed…and there she is quoting the Vanguard story in her Enterprise blog entries to indicate the principal thought she was to be terminated:

    “What isn’t in this (Enterprise) article is the notice she received from our HR department that the Board intended to fire her. This was not her choice. My question: where is the all-encompassing evaluation that included all stakeholders (staff, parents, students)? Are we as a community comfortable with allowing five individuals to decide the fate of an administrator without our input, and without a robust evaluation?”
    and
    “There’s a vanguard article as well….citing a different aspect, which was that she believed she was to be terminated this week and returned to the classroom. We acted on. And wish we hadn’t as it was premature for the information.”

    What a circular mess of misused misinformation. If it turns out that the school board will be considering the principal’s performance evaluation and future on Thursday, how can what she’s done with the Enterprise and what Ms. Salim, et al, have done (at her request?) with the Vanguard help her cause?

    “Premature?” At the very least.

  21. Pamelaalice

    Principals are trained in employee privacy and know perfectly well how the Board process of non-renewal of contracts works. (And so should former DTA presidents.) The Board votes in closed session – always – before any formal action is taken. I find it quite odd that Ms. Moore, who surely knows this process, would call the media about her “philosophical differences with the board” when the board had not yet taken action. Perhaps she wanted to create a tempest and bring out would-be supporters to pressure the Board? Sounds a bit off to me. Unprofessional to say the least.

    There have been many reports from people throughout the community – parents, teachers, students, classified staff and counselors – of the hostile work and learning environment that pervades the high school due to its top leadership. It has got to stop. Our kids deserve better. So does the high school staff. Let’s get a great new positive leader at that school.

    Good luck to Ms. Moore in her new endeavors elsewhere. Next chapter please.

  22. JustSaying

    “The problem is that the message sent to Ms. Moore was poorly worded.”

    How do you know that the message sent to Dr. Moore is poorly worded? Have you seen seen it in order to make such a judgment? Since she hasn’t been terminated, what kind of wording could have made her think such a thing (and without checking to see whether the “poorly worded” message was saying what she thought)?

    Seems as though a call to the superintendent would have been first priority, rather than to the Enterprise.

    What kind of distribution did this message about a personnel matter have, anyway? Shouldn’t it have been more private, as Pamelaalice suggests?

  23. concerneddavis

    Personally, I have watched the high school go downhill under the leadership of Ms. Moore. In many ways. If nothing else, it is unprofessional to tell your staff, friends or not, that you may be getting fired from the district in order to have them write letters to stir up people over a termination that has not even happened yet.

    A note to Ms. Salim, it absolutely appropriate for the school board to make a decision without contacting the community at large. Personnel issues are supposed to be private. For all staff, not just the principal. That is what we elect them for. To represent us. But they do not make these decisions lightly and they are usually guided by actions that have occurred. It is not appropriate for you to take something she apparently told you and comment
    on it as you have in the enterprise. Unless she instigated it, in which case she should be terminated.

    I quote, and the typos are from Ms. Salim’s comments in the Enterprise, “no. there’s a vanguard article as well….citing a different aspect, which was that she believed she was to be terminated this week and returned to the classroom. We acted on. And wish we hadn’t as it was premature for the information. But the rest of these issues have been documented nowhere. “

    I find her use of the word “we” very telling and strange. We acted on. And wish we hadn’t. Is Ms. Salim in charge of telling Ms. Moore what to do? She should not be so involved publicly. If Ms. Moore chose to tell her colleague that she was being fired that is her decision, but it is amazing to me that Ms. Salim went public with her involvement. How indiscrete.

    Whether you think she was a good principal or not she has shown herself to be incapable of being discreet at best and at worst a person who stirs up trouble in her staff. Either way it is time for her to move on. I wish her the best.

  24. Davis Progressive

    “I have watched the high school go downhill”

    please explain and be specific. i know nothing about how the hs is doing, my kids are long past it. if you are going to disparage ms. moore and be anonymous, at least explain to those of us not in the know.

  25. concerneddavis

    She is disliked by a large percentage of her staff. Since she became principal the dress code changed so instead of shorts having to be fingertip length or longer they now must cover only the buttock. She has instigated a rule that no former students may vist the campus for any reason. No one holds to it but she made the rule.

    She is obviously an intelligent woman and has some good ideas about education but where I believe she falls down is in her relationship to a lot of the people who work for her or volunteer at the school.

  26. eagle eye

    JRBERG – Re referencess to incidents at Safe Harbor:

    The CA Dept of Social Services licenses and inspects Safe Harbor,
    the program manager is George Mabanglo, george.mabanglo@dss.ca.gov,
    916 263-4832. You can request public documents on complaints and
    inspection problems and their resolution, or make an appointment and
    review the file with a staff member in Natomas. (I believe a different
    CA Dept oversees the “daily program” part of Safe Harbor.)

    Ricardo Abrahams’ death was reported by the Woodland newspaper, and
    the Yolo courthouse has the quite interesting files of the lawsuit filed by Abrahams’ parents, including depositions of Safe Harbor employees.

    By happenstance I recently bumped into a former employee of Safe Harbor who told me that she and a majority of staff quit after the current
    manager was hired. They could not abide this manager’s rude and
    uncaring interactions with residents.

    Thanks for asking!

  27. isalim

    concernedavis:

    I believe you have identified yourself on the enterpise site. But not here. Interesting.

    Dr. Moore did institute a different dress code. The same district dress code exists as ever, and can be read in the student handbook. Check it out. Anything you may have heard was just that: hearsay.

    She did create a rule that no formers students may visit ‘for the purpose of socializing.’ We may bring them in as interns, volunteers etc during the regular school day. There were reasons for that rule, which she would be happy to share with those inquiring.

    You claim she is dislike by a large percentage of her staff. Really? I worked there as a teacher, every single day, talk to many colleagues and do have a sense of what they think. Even I wouldn’t make a claim either way, without evidence. I do think she has quite a number of supporters, but I wouldn’t even guess as to what percentage that might be. And this is exactly my argument. You don’t really know that either. You’ve heard it from someone, perhaps even a staff member, who doesn’t like Jacqui. You’ve decided it was true. It may be, and I would be the first to acknowledge the need for a change if it were known that all of the constituents (parents, coaches, staff, students) disapproved of her in wide margins. But that kind of information can only be gained through a systemic process, one that is not currently part of our system. Anything less that does not, in my mind, constitute responsible evaluation.

    Finally, on the other site you accused me of being inappropriate and indiscreet for disclosing information about Dr. Moore’s potential termination. I disagree strongly. There is no law against such disclosure. It may not help Dr. Moore (I didn’t expect it to), but it may blow the whistle on practices that have been happening in Davis for a long time, and that some of us want to see changed. If it is inappropriate or indiscreet to point out what one believes to be immoral action, then I’m happy to belong to that camp.

  28. concerneddavis

    I appreciate your passion and zeal to correct what you think was a wrong by the school board, but the way to change the status quo is to vote them out at election time. I just think that threatening a recall is an awfully strong stance to take for a firing that did not occur yet. Let me repeat that, it had not even occurred.

    A lot pf people are wondering why she didn’t call the superintendent? Why contact the paper?

    In reference to the dress code. I have read all the handbooks, they are available on line and I know that it is less strict since she started. Also, former students are only allowed to intern in class if they are studying at a college or university and it is part of their program. I personally, and this is my opinion, think it is absolutely ridiculous that former students cannot stop by and visit with a former teacher. I know the reason why she made this rule, and she made it unilaterally without the input of the community, teachers or parents, and I also think the decision was ridiculous. A school is a public building and anyone who has a reason to be there, after checking in at the office, should be allowed on campus. You can’t say everyone come to sporting events, you are fine after 3:30 pm but before that you are a threat or a distraction. It just makes no sense. It seems to be a control issue rather than a safety issue.

    I do agree with you that there should be a systemic process that is gone through in order to remove an employee but who does that? It should be the superintendent, HR and then the school board. If there are formal complaints against an employee, and I understand that hostile work environment is one such complaint that has occurred since she became principal, then that is a serious allegation that needs to be looked into. But writing an angry letter prematurely and riling up the school board can only serve to hurt her in my opinion.

  29. David M. Greenwald

    concerned:

    “t the way to change the status quo is to vote them out at election time. “

    I agree that’s one way to change the status quo, but there is more than one way to skin a cat and putting pressure on the board members is certainly a means to seek change.

    I’m not going to weigh in on whether someone ought to be recalled on this, in fact, I’m rather opposed to the notion of recall in general, but waiting until election time to press for change I think is waiting too long and not very effective.

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