The fledgling Ravenswood Middle School, which suddenly lost its opening principal and vice principal last summer, will be led effective Aug.1 by Amanda Kemp, the former principal of both Belle Haven Elementary School and Los Robles-Ronald McNair Academy. Kemp was moved to Belle Haven in 2018 to replace former principal Todd Gaviglio, whose mid-year transfer to the district office drew protest from parents and teachers and led to an external discrimination investigation. Kemp will be the third principal for Ravenswood Middle School, which will be starting its third year this fall.
The board narrowly approved Kemp's appointment in a 3-2 vote, with board President Tamara Sobomehin, Vice President Stephanie Fitch and trustee Marielena Gaona-Mendoza voting in favor and trustees Sharifa Wilson and Ana Maria Pulido against it. The district has not yet announced a new principal for Belle Haven.
The trustees unanimously approved Ravenswood Middle School teacher David Hicks as the school's new vice principal, effective April 29.
They also unanimously approved Alejandro Quezada, Ravenswood's STEM coordinator, as the new principal of Los Robles-Ronald McNair Academy, effective Aug. 1. (This was a 4-0 vote, as Pulido was absent during this item.)
Two other schools, Willow Oaks and Brentwood Academy, remain under interim leadership while their principals fill temporary positions at the district office until June 30. Brentwood Principal Jennifer Gravem is serving as the interim director of special education and Willow Oaks Principal Cindy Chin as interim director of student services. Director of Student Services Gina Sudaria is still Ravenswood's interim superintendent; the board has yet to announce details on its plan for hiring a permanent replacement for Gloria Hernandez-Goff, who resigned in March.
The board voted in March to appoint Willow Oaks Vice Principal Michelle Masuda as interim principal there and Brentwood Vice Principal Darice Thomas as Brentwood's, both through June 30.
Meanwhile, there could be more district-level leadership shuffles ahead. To address a tight budget, the board approved last month notices of possible reassignment for 19 certificated administrators. The board can rescind these notices if necessary.
Ravenswood, KIPP reach rental agreement
In an eleventh-hour agreement, lawyers for the Ravenswood City School District and KIPP Valiant Community Prep Charter School reached a contract on Thursday night to expand the growing charter school at its current two school sites. The district's Board of Education voted unanimously to accept the terms hours later.
KIPP will lease 25 classrooms and additional indoor and outdoor joint-use spaces for one year starting this summer. In return, the district will receive nearly $400,000 in 112 installments, more than three times what KIPP paid for use of 18 classrooms this year.
The agreement comes at a time when the district is seeing declining enrollment and flat revenues that are expected to continue dropping in the next two years. The district anticipates it could face a deficit of $1 million to $2.5 million through the 2021-2022 school year, interim Superintendent Gina Sudaria said during a presentation Thursday about the district's finances.
KIPP is currently located at the contiguous Brentwood and Los Robles/Ronald McNair school sites and wanted to have a long-term, single campus starting this fall, when it plans to enroll 550 elementary and middle school students —150 more than this year. Eventually, it plans to enroll up to 610 students when it includes an eighth grade by 2021.
Elizabeth Mori, an Oakland attorney representing the district, said the agreement didn't get finalized until after 5 p.m. Thursday, April 18.
The decision to keep KIPP at the current schools is a departure from the board's preliminary proposal in February to offer KIPP space at both Brentwood and the new Ravenswood Middle School, where its students would share space with that school's students. That idea was opposed by both the charter school and teachers and students at the district school.
This story contains 655 words.
Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.
If you are already a subscriber, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Subscriptions start at $5 per month and may be cancelled at any time.