Town Square

Post a New Topic

Addison principal will move to Duveneck

Original post made on May 10, 2010

A search is on for a new principal at Addison School after an announcement Monday that the school's longtime principal, John Lents, will move a few blocks over to head Duveneck School this fall.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, May 10, 2010, 4:09 PM

Comments (36)

Posted by Student
a resident of Duveneck School
on May 10, 2010 at 5:45 pm

I'm pretty sure that Ms. Malen was principal before 2005. I remember her as principal when I went there and I am currently a senior in high school. Does anyone know which is correct?


Posted by Addison student class of '06
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 10, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Mr. Lents was an amazing man. I hope he will keep up his awesomeness in the new school :)


Posted by Just the facts
a resident of University South
on May 10, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Ruth Malen was principal at Duveneck for 7 years, from 1999-2000 school year through the 2005-2006 school year.


Posted by Mom
a resident of Duveneck School
on May 10, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Ruth was at Duveneck for many, many years, not just one year as reported. Actually, it was Skelly who wrote "fourth principal in six years." Go figure.

Larry Thomas was at Duveneck for one disorganized/crazy year.

As a Duveneck parent, I have not received any note from Lents as reported above.


Posted by Olenka Villarreal
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 10, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Mr. Lents will be missed by many in this Addison family. He is all things that an exceptional Principal should be, and much more. Lucky for you, Duveneck families!!


Posted by Mom
a resident of Duveneck School
on May 10, 2010 at 8:55 pm

To those not familiar with Kathleen Meagher's name, it's pronounced as "mar". She was not an Everyday Math fan, so hopefully she can improve our elementary education.


Posted by 4 principals six years
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 10, 2010 at 9:47 pm

With Lents as principal next year, the school will have had Lents one, Meagher three, Thomas one, and Malen one. If you were a k parent, you will have seen four principals in six years.

Clear?


Posted by Hopefully 3 principals in six years
a resident of Duveneck School
on May 10, 2010 at 10:38 pm

We heard very positive view of Ms Malen, but didn't have the pleasure of meeting her. Our past experience has not taught us how much difference a principal would make. We just hope Mr. Lents is here to stay.


Posted by DragonParent
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 10, 2010 at 10:45 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Parent
a resident of Duveneck School
on May 10, 2010 at 11:46 pm

Dragon Parent,

Don't make us all look bad with such irrational comments. Ruth had been with us for years, Larry Thomas' daily clothes were sweatsuits, he was not a warm person and very disorganized (missed meetings, etc.), along with placing our school in the media spotlight with his creation of the "No touching rule" for our students which was rescinded shortly after. Meagher has been offered a promotion and you blame her for accepting? Your comments are indicative of the disrespect many parents display to our administration.


Posted by why
a resident of Downtown North
on May 11, 2010 at 2:26 am

What is the reason for departure? It does not seem like a career step up so why is he leaving one elementary school for another one in the same district?


Posted by Addison Parent
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 11, 2010 at 9:37 am

"Why",
It would appear that the district wanted some stability at Duveneck. And, after 10 years at Addison, Mr. Lents was open to a change.
He's been an excellent principal for Addison and will be missed. The next principal has some big shoes to fill.


Posted by Another Addison Alumni
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 11, 2010 at 10:27 am

Mr. Lents was an excellent principal at Addison. He has the kids best interests at heart and tries to dodge the parent politics. Best of luck!


Posted by Barbara Bailey Slone
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 11, 2010 at 11:01 am

I was in the first kindergarten at Green Gables in 1950 (I was only 4....turned 5 in mid-Dec). Green Gables was the original name of the school. I believe the first principal was Gordon Parsons. Somewhere towards the upper grades for me Mr. Klamm (think his first name was Will) became prinipal. I remember nostalgically that he would barbeque chicken and ribs for us at the big family field days. Those were the good old days!! Mr. Klamm was highly respected and loved. I truly believe the the principal sets the tone at the school. That reminds me that Bill Overton is one of my favorite pricipals in the district. He taught both of my boys (Josiah and Lee) during the 90's and moved up to chief administrator at Ohlone. It's a loss for the children who would have been in his classes (thanks Bill from my boys!) but I truly believe that Ohlone School is in the best possible hands as Bill personifies the Ohlone philosophy. Oh, that reminds me, of Jim Mathiott (another winner!) who was principal of Ohlone when my boys were there. My elder son was in the first 7th grade at JLS (Jim went there with him) and when asked what was the hardest part of going off to middle school he replied, "Mom, it's really hard to call Jim Mr. Mathiott!) At Ohlone of old the students were on first name basis with the teachers. It was truly a special place to be. Thanks to all of the Principals and teachers who have so much influence on our children. I was happy to entrust my kids to the principals I have known and thanks for bringing back my memories of Mr. Klamm. Good luck to Principal Lents in his new school. If you know the history of Josephine and Frank Duveneck and their philosophy you can use that to make Duveneck the best place it can be. It's your chance to set a positive tone for the whole school community! (do you know how to BBQ?)


Posted by duveneckDad
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 11, 2010 at 11:04 am

the reports on Mr. Lents are far from unanimous. Many parents at Addison found him difficult, irrational, and impulsive in his dealings with children and their families. He was a very divisive principal there.

Frankly it's quite disappointing that the district is shuffling someone so contentious from one school to anther, especially with Duveneck suffering such turnover in the last few years.


Posted by parent
a resident of Downtown North
on May 11, 2010 at 11:17 am

I have to agree with Duveneck dad. I wish Duveneck luck.


Posted by Mom of three
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 11, 2010 at 11:42 am

I agree with Duveneck Dad...We found Lents to be difficult, irrational, and impulsive. We found a lot of our child's issues at Addison stemmed from the way the staff handled the situations. The "issues" we were having at Addison magically disappeared once our child moved on to Jordan.


Posted by duveneckDad
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 11, 2010 at 1:41 pm

I realize many parents like him -- but if that's because he plays favorites, deciding some kids are 'keepers' and others are 'losers', is that the best way to run a school?

I have to assume that, knowing how difficult/impossible it is to remove union-protected positions in the district, they are merely moving him to another school to average the problem out as it were, and give the Addison parents a break -- at the cost of Duveneck parents. There really is no accountability when you have this level of job protection.

The complaints about Lents from families who he did not favor are really quite frightening. I've heard much of this first hand -- not through some rumor mill.


Posted by Style Points
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 11, 2010 at 2:00 pm

DuveneckDad:

You get the style points for anonymous assassination. Unnamed sources and generalized comments. Nice.

In a decade of leadership Mr. Lents had to make some tough calls and inevitably angered some people. Way to get things off to a great start in your new community.


Posted by Addison Parent
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 11, 2010 at 2:21 pm

DuveneckDad, if you're a typical Duveneck parent, it's not surprising they've gone through so many principals in the last few years.


Posted by Parent
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 11, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Lents is all about self-promotion and taking credit for what others have done. Rarely is he around to put out fires, he just takes credit for solutions others suggested. Skelly's solution is to pass the buck. Lents shows little vision or leadership. Just what our schools need as PAUSD faces the biggest challenge in educating our children in the last 30 years.


Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 11, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Is any one of these "educators" going to save us from this silly EDM math program?


Posted by Barbara Bailey Slone
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 11, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Way to go with the character assassination parents. Condemnation prior to demonstration doesn't seem to be a way to support an incoming administrator. I observed many "witch hunts" when my boys were students in the district. Some were deserved and related to teachers committing malpractice (in my opinion). Many issues are personal between one family and the principal or a teacher. I actually took my boy out of Dunveneck (our neighborhood school at the time) because I couldn't tolerate the competitiveness of the students I observed (ie cheating in first grade math lab) and the intolerance towards students who did not conform to the Duveneck model at that time. Human values were not in strong evidence at the time. I went to a PTA meeting there where 3 fifth and sixth grade girls flat out said that there were only 3 acceptable brands of clothing that girls could wear and not be subject to ridicule. What is worse is that the girls delivered this news in a way that implied that they thought it was OK. That is why I sent my boys to Ohlone from 2nd grade on. I have no idea what the social culture is at Duveneck these days but I suspect that many of the same things exist there. Enough about my Duveneck experience.........

I certainly don't think that tenure should protect school personnel that are not up to snuff. Give the guy a chance......maybe he will be trying to turn over a new leaf. Snuff said....

But, does he BBQ???????????


Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 11, 2010 at 4:58 pm

As a former Addison parent - I can say these things about John Lents:

He knows every kid's name.
He will sit down on the ground on the playground to talk to and comfort a crying child.
He reads every kids report card and often adds his own note.
He is supportive of his teachers.
He is a strong community builder.
He welcomes parents to the campus.
He is not perfect, but I suspect he is going to Duveneck to be a stable influence in a school which has had a lot of turnover lately. He will be missed at Addison.


Posted by PA mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 11, 2010 at 5:34 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by good luck, john
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 11, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Seems to come up this time every year. Web Link


Posted by Parent
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 11, 2010 at 7:18 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 11, 2010 at 8:58 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Funny to hear how divisive he is--he never struck me as all that exciting a person, but obviously I'm not at Addison.

I'll second the praise for Bill Overton, by the way. He's got a hard job and he's really putting his heart into it.


Posted by Bob
a resident of Barron Park
on May 11, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Word is that Duveneck was branded as "unruly" after the parents there were the most outspoken against EDM. I guess Skelly needed to bring in a warden to get things clamped down over there.
It's too bad: those "unruly" parents were responsible for kids with the second-highest API in the district (second only to lottery school Hoover) . . .


Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 11, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Bob,

I know parents who pulled their kids from Duveneck because it's such a stressful environment. I know very bright kids who think they're dumb because they're not being tutored outside and are, thus, trying to learn in the classroom what other kids are getting through tutoring.

Sorry, there's a lot more to education than minute differences in API scores.

Might add that Duveneck actually beat out Hoover one year, at which point it started attracting API-obsessed types, which actually caused the school to deteriorate somewhat in terms of the environment (Duveneck also has a reputation for bullying).

Addison is supposed to be more relaxed relative to Duveneck and Walter Hays--so, yes, that may have something to do with the switch.




Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on May 11, 2010 at 9:46 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by JL
a resident of College Terrace
on May 11, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Mr. Lents is a good person, a great principal, and a wonderful human being.


Posted by Addison Parent
a resident of Professorville
on May 11, 2010 at 10:15 pm

I have had kids at Addison for the entire time John Lents has been principal. Like all leaders he has strengths and faults. The former vastly outnumber the latter. John has a gift for hiring. The new teachers he has brought in to Addison have been terrific and loved. He has also been a terrific advocate for Addison on an institutional level, something that Duveneck parents should think about when choosing between a newcomer and a seasoned veteran of the Palo Alto school system. You’re lucky to get him and you should all start thinking about why the district had to move a successful principal from one school to another. It may not be about him.


Posted by PA mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 11, 2010 at 10:36 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Metzler McVey
a resident of Community Center
on May 13, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Metzler McVey is a registered user.

Many kids can thrive in multiple environments. Bright kids with good social skills can usually bloom where they are planted. Some kids are more sensitive, vulnerable, have learning disabilities or special needs. Fostering an environment where the most gifted kids can thrive AND kids with challenges takes a very special person. It is not a gift that every administrator can possess. This thread has cast more doubt than shed light on the changes that lie ahead.

I have seen Duveneck improve the bullying problem. Ms. Meagher and many talented teachers have made a huge difference. I hope the fine progress will continue under new leadership.


Posted by PA mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 22, 2011 at 12:43 am

PA mom is a registered user.

I'm sure the stories of all the people who had good experiences with John Lents are true. I'm sure the stories of the people who had mixed or bad experiences with him are also true. I know because I had mixed experiences with him, including some that were very bad. I can't say what they were because then my post will be removed. I will say that when I accurately described the problems to staff at other schools, asking if I had done anything wrong, I was told that I all my actions were appropriate and that I used good judgment. They said John's actions were not appropriate and showed poor judgment, and that he received consequences that are confidential. Yes, I really am talking about the same person here, which was just as shocking to me to experience as it is for others to read about.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

'Working from home’ — a new work world creates societal problems.
By Diana Diamond | 50 comments | 3,658 views

Silicon Valley’s next meat substitute is being grown at a Morgan Hill mushroom lab
By The Peninsula Foodist | 2 comments | 2,855 views

Our First Anniversary in my Husband’s Retirement
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,372 views

 

Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

For the last 29 years, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has given away more than $9 million to local nonprofits serving children and families. 100% of the funds go directly to local programs. It’s a great way to ensure your charitable donations are working at home.

DONATE HERE