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Wednesday, March 31, 2010
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Dear Montera Families & Supporters,

On Monday, March 15, Montera's entire administrative leadership team – Principal Russom Mesfun, Vice-Principal Thom Kwiatkowski and Vice-Principal Rachel Uthman – received "Possible Reassignment" notices. (Commonly known as "pink slips" or "March 15th notices".)

We – the PTO Board – are fiercely opposed to the removal of our administrators.

At Montera's Open House tomorrow night, you'll have the opportunity to make your opposition known as well by signing a petition supporting this dedicated team.

We believe that great progress has been made at Montera over the past three years –
progress in terms of safety, achievement, community engagement and accountability.

And we want these positive strides to continue.

The most important voice in this fight is our collective and united voice. We are a 900-student, 600-family strong community of engaged and committed individuals who care – a lot – about what's happening.

Now more than ever, we need to come together and stand together to be heard. 

For the past week, PTO President Ruth Siegmund has repeatedly – without success – been trying to get Jamie Marantz, the Network Executive Officer, to clarify and elaborate on these "Possible Reassignment" notices.

Ms. Marantz responded briefly that "removal is the purview of the Superintendent and the School Board." And that, "As soon as the decision is made, the community will be notified."

Frankly, we are not interested in waiting to be notified.

We are interested in advocating for what we believe in now.

Please read the letter from the PTO Board (below) that was hand-delivered to Superintendent Tony Smith yesterday morning, as well as the PTO's petition opposing the "possible reassignment" (further below).

Think about what you want for your student and our school.

If you believe that Principal Mesfun, Vice-Principal Kwiatkowski and Vice-Principal Uthman should continue on their course of improving Montera, please let OUSD know by writing to the people listed in the side-bar. And sign the petition that will be circulated at tomorrow night's Open House.

Letter to OUSD Superintendent Tony Smith, Delivered on Tuesday, March 30

Dear Dr. Smith:

It is the Montera PTO Boards understanding that the entire administrative staff, consisting of Principal Russom Mesfun, VP Thom Kwiatkowski and VP Rachel Uthman, has been issued "Possible Reassignment" notices.

The Montera PTO Board is united in its support for the existing administration. 

This support is based on the existing administration's proven, tangible and effective leadership. Specifically, they:

  • Have a common vision of academic achievement for each and every student and work as a team to actively implement their goals. They truly believe that each child can achieve and learn, and needs to be supported by the school administration, teachers, and parents. They have been consistent and unwavering in this belief.

  • Are respectful, supportive, caring, and empathetic leaders who demand excellence in the classroom by routinely monitoring, documenting and providing feedback on teacher performance.

  • Have coached and mentored teachers, and have consistently communicated, actively supported, and provided training opportunities for district initiatives like Kagan Cooperative Learning Strategies, Swun Math, and algebra for all 8th graders.

  • Are on the school grounds before school with the site security officers and in the hallways during each transition period to monitor and maintain safety.

  • Attend and support other areas of student involvement and achievement by participating and attending extra-curricular events, such as basketball games, Mathletes competitions and fundraising activities.

By these actions, Principal Mesfun, VP Kwiatkowski and VP Uthman have proven to support the goals and initiatives of the district as reflected in increasing API scores for the last two years.

Their efforts and achievements are noticed and appreciated by the parents of students who are currently attending this school, as well as those who will be attending Montera next year.

As parent leaders of this school who also support the district's goals and initiatives, and who witness the implementation of these from the existing administration, we actively oppose replacing Principal Mesfun, VP Kwiatkowski and VP Uthman at Montera Middle School.

(Signed by every member of the PTO Board)

Click here to download a copy of the actual letter.

Petition to Oppose the "Possible Reassignment" of Montera's Administration

A petition opposing the "Possible Reassignment" will be circulated at Montera's Open House, Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. Please add your signature and encourage others to do the same.

Signed petitions will be hand-delivered to the Oakland Board of Education and to Superintendent Smith.

You may also download a petition here, sign it, ask others who care about what's happening to sign it and either return it to the front office in an envelope marked "PTO Petition" or scan it and send it to



Let Your Voice
Be Heard:
Email OUSD Today

Tony Smith

Brad Stam
Chief Academic Officer

Jamie Marantz
Network Executive Officer

Gary Yee
Board of Education


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Montera Middle School PTO
5555 Ascot Drive
Oakland, California 94611

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