Board Approves VSA As Nancy Peterson Speaks Out

Nancy Peterson speaks against new hire at board meeting on Friday March 21, 2014
Nancy Peterson speaks against new hire at board meeting on Friday March 21, 2014

Nancy Peterson spoke out passionately against rehiring Julie Crawford this morning at an unusual Friday morning board meeting in front of just three board members, with Sheila Allen absent.  Her strong words were not enough to cause any of the three to pull the item off consent and it was passed without comment.

Superintendent Winfred Roberson announced that the board has until May 10 to fill the vacancy created two weeks ago by Nancy Peterson’s resignation.  He read from the board guidelines on the filling of vacancies and promised to bring back an item for full discussion on April 7.

An appointment process would require the board to interview the candidates at a public meeting where they accept public input and would require them to elect a provisional appointee by a majority of the board.

Nancy Peterson spoke out against the re-hiring of Julie Crawford during public comment.

Here is the entirety of her comments:

“On Consent Calendar is approval of board policy 5145.3 dealing with non-discrimination harassment.  Let me read one of its sentences to you, ‘Any employee who permits or engages in prohibitive discrimination, harassment, intimidation, bullying or retaliation shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.’

“There are two very important elements embedded here.  Permits retaliation and engages in retaliation.  I wonder why members of this governance body including the superintendent have been issuing statements lately that speak to harming a student in order to retaliate against the parent as a simple mistake.  Let’s just forget it happened and move on.

“To summarize just last week the board of education voted to uphold findings of the administration regarding a parent complaint about an employee and within four days the same administration is putting the same employee forward to coach the very team in which the findings occurred.  Four days!

“Is this an example of restorative justice?  If so, some might be wondering about the student and what Mr. Roberson has done to heal the harm done to the student involved.

“Nothing, is my answer.  Here we all are seven months after the complaint was filed and he has never even spoken to the student.  Neither has any other administrator, principal, or athletic director or trustee.

“In fact, the coach never even bothered to speak to her player of three years.

“So President Daleiden since your biggest issue seems to be why this wasn’t handled before sending a code-3 in motion, here is my answer: that would have required someone from the district or even DHS to speak to the student and that I can assure you, never happened.

“Mr. Roberson, while you are busy appeasing your employee, the student that was harmed has been left to wonder why those in charge and entrusted with the well-being of the students – the DHS Principal and the full-time Athletic Director – never tried to help or protect her.  What did she do wrong?  So much for the student-centered decisions that you are always touting.

“But I digress, let’s go back to board policy 5145.3 and let’s look at an earlier phrase in it.  ‘The board prohibits any form of retaliation.’  The same phrase appears in board policy 1312.1, similar phrases in board policy 4144, 4119.1.  There are total of 14 DJUSD board policies prohibiting retaliation.  Also California Education Code and California Legal Code.

“Just by the number of polices in various judicial and even quasi-judicial processes that address the prohibition of retaliation, it would appear to be ‘a’ if not ‘the’ cornerstone to many issues.  Prohibiting retaliation would appear to be important, in fact critical. Board policy, education code, and CIF Guidelines are in place to protect the school community.

“Let’s go back to Coach Jeff Christian, then a multi-year girls’ basketball coach at Davis High.  He removed two players from his team and was fired for that.  The technicality cited was failure to notify the players before announcing it.   I wonder if he knew that technicality or was it a simple oversight through no fault of his own?

“Perhaps the real difference is that Coach Christian wasn’t a teacher and therefore the DTA wasn’t backing him with all their political power and the board didn’t have to worry about the impact of alienating them.

“Students and the school community should be the priorities and not the political prowess of a union out to preserve members regardless of their activities.

“I am left to wonder if families feel safe now.  How many will dare bring their concerns to this administration or to this board.”

Once again, the board approved the consent item unanimously without pulling it from the consent agenda and, as of today, Ms. Crawford can resume her career as the girls’ volleyball coach.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

UPDATE: The Vanguard has confirmed that Athletic Director Dennis Foster has resigned as AD.

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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      1. SouthofDavis

        David wrote:

        > Clearly she’s planning to sue

        We can only hope that some of the Peterson’s friends can take them aside and let them know that a lawsuit will not give their daughter the chance to play volleyball her senior year it will only take money away from the poor kids (that the Peterson’s say they care about) and make them have even less people in town that ever want to talk to them…

      2. TrueBlueDevil

        I’m not sure about that.

        Sue for what? Nancy Peterson is a public figure, so I don’t see a defamation suit. I see no monetary damages.

        Has a parent ever filed a lawsuit for a child not making a sports team? I guess there is always a first, and if Dr. Peterson is ready to fork over a $10,000 retainer, I’m sure they’ll find a sympathetic lawyer.

        1. Tia Will


          I do not know if your distortion is deliberate or inadvertent, but I am pretty sure you have cause to be aware that the charge is retaliation, not being cut for legitimate cause.

          1. TrueBlueDevil

            And the alleged “retaliation” is her daughter being cut from a high school volleyball team. And if we’re correct, the reserve player was replaced by two outstanding players.

            Unless there is some smoking gun incident, it looks like a completely logical, rational decision by the coach, a decision coaches make all across the country hundreds of times a day.

        2. Tia Will


          Nancy Peterson, subsequent to her resignation, is no longer a “public figure”.
          She now has the same rights and responsibilities as any other private citizen and can no longer be held by the supposedly higher set of standards we expect from our elected officials. Having said this, I hope that she will adhere to the same code of ethics and yes, civility that we expect from ordinary citizens.

      3. PhilColeman

        You can sue anybody for anything, but this series of events from the Peterson perspective is not actionable. If she did sue, the Investigation Report would be discovered and used as a club by both sides. It would be really ugly. Both Petersons would be deposed under oath and probed in great detail about their less than honorable actions. They would lose their white hats before any jury listening.

        Nancy Peterson would be required under oath to detail all her personal interactions with the Superintendent, (which would be fascinating onto itself) and all the other players she slammed in her attack this morning. That “list of shame” reeks with conjecture, and surely it shall follow.

        The worst possible thing the Petersons could do is file a lawsuit. Looking at the past judgment patterns, that’s probably what they will do.

        “But I digress . . .” I nominate that line as the all-time best quote of this entire escapade.

  1. Don Shor

    For all my disagreements with what Nancy Peterson has done prior to this, I consider this statement a serious indictment of the administration and, by extension, the Board:

    Here we all are seven months after the complaint was filed and he has never even spoken to the student. Neither has any other administrator, principal, or athletic director or trustee.

    That is inexcusable.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Can we validate that?

      Secondly, if Dr. Peterson immediately filed his complaint after she was cut, maybe the decision was made to leave it to the outside lawyers, given NP unrelenting venom.

    2. Tia Will

      If this is true, I am in complete agreement. How can you even pretend to have done an investigation without so much as a conversation with the possible victim of retaliation ?

  2. Ryan Kelly

    She just doesn’t get that she alone created a hostile work environment. How can she file complaint after complaint, criticize her in parent meetings, repeatedly try to remove her and make horrible public statements about the coach, and then expect that coach to ever speak to her or her family again? Again, she is taking her complaints public, instead of handling them internally. Again, she is dragging her child’s personal issues out into the public and violating her child’s right to confidentiality.

    She just doesn’t get it. She doesn’t see what she is doing and how it looks to the community.

    My guess is that her child will graduate and leave Davis…as far away as possible. I fully emphasize with her and am embarrassed for her. Someone should reach out to the student and make sure she’s OK. Someone other than the coach.

    1. Tia Will

      Ryan Kelly

      “She just doesn’t get that she alone created a hostile work environment”
      “How can she file complaint after complaint, criticize her in parent meetings, repeatedly try to remove her and make horrible public statements about the coach, and then expect that coach to ever speak to her or her family again?”

      How can you see that these two statements may not in fact be contradictory. How can you be sure that beset by a hostile parent, Ms. Crawford did not do what you in your second sentence would be a logical and anticipated response, namely withdraw from the daughter as well as the hostile parent. While this would be a natural reaction, can you honestly claim that avoiding or not talking to the daughter while still on the team due to the animosity of her mother might not have negatively impacted the daughter’s performance thus leading to the rationale for cutting her from the team ? I am in no way saying this did happen in this case. Only that I, having had two children involved in competitive sports, have seen how coach hostility, dislike or neglect of a player for whatever reason can affect that players performance.

  3. Please Stop

    Are you kidding me Nancy. Very gutsy to get up there and spout about retaliation when you’ve been one of the biggest bullies this town has ever seen. Three school board members screwed up last week by giving Julie a slap on the wrist. They should have had her back like Gina and shown her the support she deserved in light of all your bullying. Enough, please go away. Don’t come talk again, don’t sue, just stop. You caused this mess, not the coach. You put your daughter through this, not the coach.

  4. Jeremy Brooks

    When Nancy takes 0 responsibility for any of this mess. Refused to participate in mediation to try and mend this. Blames everyone else, except for her family. Why would anyone listen to her, let alone give any validity to her comments. She had so many chances to make this right, and has refused every step of the way.

      1. Robin W

        Tough case to make. The School Board never said they found retaliation, just that they were upholding the administration’s decision that Crawford not coach boys volleyball this semester. And the lawyer who did the investigation found no “mal-intent.” (I think that was the word he coined.)

  5. TrueBlueDevil

    So now she throws Mr. Roberson and the union under the bus.

    Could it be true that no one ever spoke to her daughter? I find that hard to believe, and maybe Mr. Greenwald can follow up on it. Given what we know, I have only guesses, if this is true. Everyone was on high alert as to Nancy Peterson’s obsession, and maybe they’re worried about entering into her cross hairs and a possible lawsuit. (Though I have no idea what grounds she would sue on.) If several posters who claim that NP daughter was disruptive and disrespectful are correct, maybe they saw any potential meeting with the student as loaded with unneeded risks.

    You’ll notice that district employees aren’t looking at her.

    1. David Greenwald

      So I never posted this information but now that Nancy Peterson has talked about the mistreatment of her daughter by the district, it seems necessary to do so.

      I learned that following her daughter being cut she was given the opportunity to be a student-coach at Harper JRH. She was not paid for this position. The district utilizes a lot of graduate coaches, but at the time she was one of two who were given that opportunity this year while still in school.

      I was told that this was done – the decision – at the site level not the district level.

      I bring it up not because it justifies if she was mistreated, but to point out she did get to have a positive opportunity that came out of this.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        So they made an extra effort to soften the blow to her daughter. Not required, but a good move, and a classy move. Too bad the Peterson’s didn’t appreciate it.

        1. David Greenwald

          Again, I don’t know who offered her the opportunity, but clearly it was a nice consolation and I think it does show Peterson’s comments to be one-sided and obviously self-serving.

  6. Ryan Kelly

    Be careful, everyone. Nancy is yet again “filing a complaint” and expecting everyone to jump and investigate. With her history of filing questionable complaints, why should we believe her allegations now?
    She has already cost the district lots of money and significant time. We have people have resigned or dismissed from their jobs over this. How much more chaos are we going to allow this one community member to create at the high school? Absolutely nothing is going to satisfy Nancy at this point and no one is going to risk their job by engaging Nancy or her family.

    I believe that the strategy to not have Julie coach this year and re-instate her for Fall after the Peterson’s daughter has graduated was a kind strategy, for the daughter’s sake. I do think that a counselor should reach out to the student to make sure she’s OK…today.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      We need to add an option to make a harassing parent a “vexatious litigant” after 2 or 3 frivolous complaints are filed. So then when they walk in the door with another frivolous complaint, we know to treat them differently.

      Second, her rant today confirms to me that she was posting on The Enterprise a day or two ago. There were strong, direct defense of the VSA being pulled, along with a comment that ‘I guess they don’t have Nancy Peterson to kick around anymore.’

      And now Ryan Kelly shares that Mrs. Peterson “criticize her [Coach Crawford] in parent meetings”.

      1. Ryan Kelly

        I based that on Leigh Choate’s description of Nancy questioning and criticizing the coach’s growing fundraising balance, implying mishandling the funds, during a meeting of Volleyball parents and players. (Leigh explained that the money was allowed to accrue year to year with the goal of eventually purchasing a net system for the High School, which was accomplished.)

    2. hpierce

      “How much more chaos are we going to allow this one community member to create …” what are you suggesting: revocation of free speech rights? Banishment from the community? ‘Tar and feathers? “Shunning”? Loss of liberty/life?

      I’m starting to pity Ms Peterson for an uncanny ability to create self-inflicted wounds. Perhaps one learns to do that as part of having earned a PhD. Perhaps it is a result of being vindictive. Don’t know, and paraphrasing Rhett Butler, “frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”.

      At the risk of speaking “code”, we should (in my uniformed opinion), need to ‘give it a rest’. Ms Peterson is no longer a public official, and giving her a ‘platform’ can only have the purposes of publicize her rants, or letting her make a fool of herself. Don’t think either of those are in the community’s interest.

      1. Ryan Kelly

        No loss of rights – she’s free to speak, and to even file complaints, but we all don’t need to collectively jump to investigate and publicly hash out her concerns. No tar and feathering either. What I hear from people that I’ve talked to is a desire for her to just stop – no anger, no condemnation – a desire for an opportunity to “move on.”

        1. Tia Will

          Well now that is interesting. It would seem that some want Nancy Peterson to
          “just move on” but are highly desirous of “tar and feathering” the public officials whom they interpret as wanting to “just move on ” even though they have made public statements of planned investigation.

          It seems that which side of the debate one is on is determining whether or not it is time to “just move on”.

          1. fremontia

            Actually I’m finally feeling ready to move on now that Julie Crawford has her coaching gig back for fall. I would rather see her be reinstated immediately but at least she will start to see some of the money in her check soon.

            As for the school board this shows that nothing they could do was ever going to satisfy Nancy Peterson. Any action they may have taken to try to placate Peterson was wasted effort.

            To Superintendent Roberson I think everyone now understands the difficult position you were in with Peterson on the board. I wish you had been more courageous and stood up to her but I can now see why people would be afraid of her. Especially if one’s job depended on it.

            Although Nancy Peterson needs to calm down I encourage her to keep talking to anyone still listening as that group is sure to keep shrinking with every word shrieked from her mouth.

          2. Hmmm

            I do believe Superintendent Roberson is an at-will employee as well as the Principal and all coaches. I could be wrong. Maybe he was afraid of his job too? Much like Dr. Moore who resigned/was let go by the Board.

          3. Hmmm

            Sure. In my opinion leaders lead, when he or she can not be ousted by a single person. Then it becomes, how do I save my livelihood. My opinion. I was just commenting on why he wasn’t more courageous and stood up to her. Just my opinion .

          4. hpierce

            The verb “shrieked” was somewhat gratuitous… and this is from someone who has NO respect for the former board member. Keep picking that scab, and consider using an EAP for anger management. You have every right to write what you did. But is really how YOU want to be measured?

  7. hpierce

    Let’s look at “facts”:

    Ms Peterson is quoted as referring to the State “Legal Code”. Someone is not telling the truth. She was either mis-quoted, or she shows her ignorance of State Law. There is no such thing as the ‘California Legal Code’. To verify this ‘fact’, see

    Ms Peterson is quoting BP 5145.3, adopted by the Board this morning, as justifying her position. Someone is not telling the truth. She was either mis-quoted, or she does not understand the concept that ‘government’ cannot pass ‘ex post facto’ laws or policies. the only policies that apply are those in effect at the time the ‘act’ was performed, that led to the complaint.

    The rest of her comments were either opinions, hyperbole, ‘straw-man’ arguments, whining, and/or not pertinent/relevant. IF she was quoted correctly.

    Sorry I couldn’t be more civil, but I am offended by either mis-quotes, or the statements actually made, whichever is applicable.

      1. hpierce

        Accepted. By eliminating one ‘theory’, the other remains. Suspected that was the case, but wanted to go with the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ mantra. There is another definition of PHD than a doctor of philosophy. Reckon the other definition applies in this case.

    1. Tia Will

      I did not see anything uncivil in your comments. There was no name calling, no demeaning of any individual and no pretense of knowledge that you do not have. What more could I ask for ?

      Well, maybe the acknowledgement of a third possibility. It is possible to be mistaken in a comment and not be “lying”. But I wouldn’t consider that uncivil, just an incomplete assessment of possibilities.

      1. Tia Will

        Ooops. And in fairness to hpierce, upon re reading your comment you did mention “lack of understanding as a possibility” so it does seem you did cover your bases civilly.

        At least until you felt the need to post about the two definitions of PhD.
        Although, I do not know what the second one is, using context, I can guess that it is not complimentary.

    2. PhilColeman

      We are needlessly splitting hairs here, but Nancy was correct in saying that there are a host of state and federal laws that speak to discrimination, retaliation, etc.

      I suspect Nancy said Legal Code, while meaning Education Code.

  8. DHS involved

    The AD has resigned to re-enter the coaching arena, as the AD position is not allowed to coach in Davis as per district policy. This is what he stated in his resignation letter. He also thanks all of the coaches for his experiences during his tenure as well as the entire athletic department effort which supported his honor of winning section AD of the Year in 2013. He also talked about the growth the department has made as a whole in regards to softball field renovations, addition of 2 sports and 300 more athletes, gaining a lead on league and section titles, coaches of the year awards, decrease in grade wavers given (meaning more students have better grades) and much more.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Didn’t he coach girl’s basketball when he fired Coach Christian? Will he coach at DHS?

      I guess he left out the torn up soccer field, tumultuous turnover of successful coaches, and continued turnover of football coaches.

      Do we have any sense how big (or small) a role Nancy Peterson played in our last Principal leaving?

      1. In the know

        The soccer field happened due to multiple water main breaks. You can check with maintenance I believe it was 3 that summer, the field hockey and baseball were also affected. You should see it now it is beautiful.

        As for the other coaches, I think if you research, their leaving there is a more district people involved in that decision. I know that the firing of Mr. Christian was not a site choice, I believe Mr. Roberson became involved due to the nature of the complaints lodged by the mother of 2 players.

        I do not know if he will stay and coach.

        As for the last principal I think you need to ask her.

      2. wdf1

        TBD: Will he coach at DHS?

        Foster said that he hopes to stay in the area and coach.

        “I am probably going to stay local,” Foster said. “My wife is a special education teacher in the Sacramento area and it’s a really good job. I’m not interested in having her move. But obviously, if something that I can’t turn down comes up, I would return to San Diego, which is where I grew up and I would certainly take the job at my alma mater (Mira Mesa Senior High School), which may be available.” source

  9. Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald

    Prior to becoming mom of 3 I worked as a Labor Relations professional representing employees in the Public Sector. When a complaint was filed against a person an investigation process began and all parties were instructed to:

    1) Not talk about the issue being investigated; and

    2) Not talk to the parties being investigated.

    So, when Ms. Peterson alleges that nobody spoke to her daughter one needs to consider that administrators and coaches may have not spoken to her daughter due to the open and ongoing investigation.

    Or, maybe they didn’t realize it was such a big deal at first, because like any other student who may not be selected for a sport, their parents teach them to perhaps consider another sport or practice and try out again next time. Being that she is a senior another sport or a non DJUSD volleyball team may have been appropriate.

    This may have provided a good opportunity for mediation. If DJUSD implements a mediation program it would go a long way to help students, parents, staff and administrators confidentially address issues in a manner that everyone feels heard and approves of the remedy being sought and stated in the Mediation Agreement.

    1. chris

      I think it’s pretty standard in most settings particularly like this one where outside attorneys/investigators are brought in. I’m not his biggest fan, but if Roberson is not doing the investigation, there’s no reason for him to talk to the student either. The question is if the attorneys/investigators talked to her (which I don’t think Peterson said). And if I were the district, I would counsel Crawford not to talk to the student about this too — anything she said or did to her after the complaint of retaliation could easily be seen as further retaliation. Peterson really needs to calm down.

      1. Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald

        I agree Chris. I would have advised Crawford to not talk to the student or anyone about the complaint other than her attorney or her Representative. This holds true for any type of investigation taking place.

        A review and possible rewrite of some Policies and Procedures would help DJUSD and the community at large (especially those with children in the district) in hopes of avoiding this type of situation in the future.

        As a trained mediator, I sincerely hope that the district considers implementing a mediation program. I believe a mediation program in the district would serve students, staff, administration and parents well and save the district some $$$$$. Many issues can be resolved at the lowest level possible if mediation is agreed upon by all parties.

        I know there is still a lot of pain experienced by all parties involved and mediation can play an important role in helping to avoid that in the future.

        1. hpierce

          I appreciate yiour thoughts, but often mediation results either in splitting the baby, or legal mediation, between a client and an attorney, often just leads to an affirmation of the lawyer’s charges.

          Mediation works best if both parties are somewhat at fault, and can admit that. Not so much, if one party feels “righteous”.

          Have no issues in trying it, but as an unbiased “expert” in a couple of ‘mediations’ in the past, I never found success in the outcome, despite the fact that the mediator was trained and impartial. People can (and often will) be ‘jerks’, and/or suffer from RCI problems.

          Never hurts to try, though.

          1. PhilColeman

            Having been a trained mediator dating back 30+ years I’ve never seen the pre-conditions described as essential to the success of a mediation. Nor has there typically been the unsatisfactory or mixed results as mentioned. Mediation certainly has a better track record than a “you win-you lose” confrontational approach.

            If you can get two disputants in the same room, can get them to listen to and respond to the mediator, and get them to not interrupt when somebody else is speaking, you have a solid base for a successful mediation. There are other critical elements that mediators employ, naturally, but this is hardly the means or moment to do this.

            A stand-along column, followed by comments and questions, on the dynamics of mediation would probably be a good idea. It also might also reduce the number of infomercials for mediation, which is becoming a little tiresome. I have a growing suspicion that many folks in this forum–even the proponents–don’t really know the mechanics of a mediation session. I’ll do the column if nobody more recently exposed to the process won’t or can’t.

  10. Grassroots

    Perhaps Ms. Peterson’s daughter does not agree with her mother’s accusation that she was removed from the team as a retaliatory act and therefore does not want to be a 3 party to this win-lose competition for dominance and control. Ms. Peterson refers to restorative justice but she has yet to ask for this process. She has lost. I wish for her recovery. I am sad.

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