Teacher Association opposes district’s superintendent candidate

Posted on April 25, 2018 by Sonoma Valley Sun

An open letter to the Sonoma Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees by Renea Magnani, president of Valley of the Moon Teachers Association

Recently, the Valley of the Moon Teachers Association conducted a survey to gather the opinions of the educator members with regard to the proposed hiring of Socorro Shiels as the next Superintendent of Schools.

The survey asked the following:

The Trustees of the School Board for SVUSD has identified Socorro Shiels as the candidate to be hired for the position of Superintendent. Please indicate below if you agree or disagree with this decision or if you have no opinion at this time.

As of April 24 the response numbers were: 113 of the 123 (92 percent) oppose her hiring; 8 of 83 (6.5 percent) have no opinion; and only 2 of 83 agree to her hiring, (1.5 percent).

The reasons for the opposition of the hiring of Socorro Shields can be summarized as follows:

  1. The negative experiences and comments from employees of the previous district where she worked, especially her lack of support for teachers and staff and her top down leadership style. Expressions such as “she was a disaster”; “a bad choice for Sonoma”, “she was the worst Superintendent I ever worked for”, “her history of management skills and relationships with teachers is appalling“ “People who have worked under her are warning us that it was not good. She is not one who respects teachers or their opinions… Your people do not want her,” are samples of these comments.
  1. The terms and salary benefits package offered in the contract are considered by many to be exorbitant, insulting to the dedicated teachers and staff, and inconsiderate of the financial situation facing the District. Taxpayers also want someone who can lead the teachers and work positively with community to best meet needs of students.
  1. The process seemed rushed, lacked transparency, proper consultation and collaboration with administrators, teachers and staff, and a proper review of her previous experience as superintendent. As a few respondents stated, “The board seems to be ignoring the concerns and warnings that seem so clearly apparent to us.” “I find myself discouraged that our school board thinks this is the person to move us forward.”
  1. The respondents noted the need in the District, especially at this time, for an exceptional superintendent who has the confidence, people skills, financial acumen, and support of the community, especially the needs of our students, administrators, teachers and staff.

In light of the many comments and overwhelming opposition by the educators in our district, educators who meet the needs of our students daily, and who rely on the support and guidance of an exceptional superintendent, please show us you value us. Do not hire Socorro Shiels as the next Superintendent for SVUSD. A new search is critically warranted.




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