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Complaint against Ravenswood superintendent alleges discrimination

Original post made on Mar 30, 2018

The sudden mid-year removal of a principal credited with turning around a long-struggling elementary school in the Ravenswood City School District has triggered a discrimination complaint against the superintendent.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 30, 2018, 6:57 AM

Comments (39)

Posted by Marielena Gaona, School Board Member
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2018 at 8:55 am

Please if you have any issues going on as a an employee of Ravenswood School District, (union, not union, classified, certified, teachers etc) parent, student or community member to please come to the Regular School Board Meeting or special ones and let the board know about your issues or concerns about our school district or the superintendent. This is the only way the board members will make a better informed decision when it comes to voting yes or no on renewing Ms. Hernandez Contract. The school district belongs to the parents and community members, not to us board members or Ms. Hernandez.
Let your voice be heard.

Posted by Marielena Gaona, School Board Member
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2018 at 9:15 am

Oh No, I just realized that having Maria Sevilla working at Belle Heaven working full time will cost the district more money and that is not a good thing when we are in such bad financial situation and we are supposed to be tightening our belt not wasting more money. This money could be used to pay another custodian position so our teachers would not have to be sweeping their classrooms as they are doing now that custodians positions were cut. Thanks teachers for making it works during this financial crisis we have gotten into.

If you need to talk to someone about Ravenswood School District do not hesitate to contact me. My contact information is on the Ravenswood's website.

Posted by Mark Dinan
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2018 at 11:08 am

Mark Dinan is a registered user.

Happy to see that the Palo Alto Weekly is shining light on the Ravenswood District. I am very concerned that the district appears close to renewing the contract of Gloria Hernandez-Goff. Her contract is up for renewal in June, and she has spent 5 years as School Superintendent. In five years we have seen:
• Test Scores continue to be on the bottom, with 98% of California Schools scoring better than Ravenswood Schools
• Teachers and parents very unhappy with a leader who is rarely present, and does not show up to events like First Day of School, Back to School Nights, Parent Education Nights, Open Houses, Special Award Nights
• Has cut janitorial positions due to lack of funding, making teachers dedicate inordinate amounts of time to cleaning their classrooms
• Horrendous fiscal management, taking a district with a $8million surplus when she arrived to one that is in fiscal crisis
• Wasteful spending on consultants, including $200k on a PR firm
• Ravenswood teachers voted overwhelming in favor of a no-confidence vote of her leadership
• Lack of transparency, communication, and accessibility with students, parents and teachers alike
• The failure of the Child Development Center
• Nepotism, hiring of family members for jobs, a major ethical no-no
How is it that teachers must beg for money on GoFundMe for sports equipment and musical instruments for their kids when the Superintendent is spending $200k on a PR firm? For a tiny school district with less than 3000 students?
To be clear, Gloria Hernandez-Goff will be removed as Superintendent after the next school board elections in November. If her contract is extended, it will cost the district hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove her, either via buying out her contract or firing her for cause. If her contract is not extended, it will be a clean break free of charge and a new superintendent can be brought in to “clean house.”
I’d encourage all my neighbors in East Palo Alto to engage on this issue if they are not already. Every homeowner in the district is invested in the Ravenswood School District whether you want to be or not. It is important that we have the right leadership at Ravenswood School District and it is abundantly clear we do not have this leadership currently. The end of Hernandez-Goff’s contract is an excellent opportunity to move on from a failed leader.

Posted by Teacher
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2018 at 12:47 pm

I am sad to experience the corruption, lack of respect, and injustices that go on in our district.I find myself caught, along with many others pondering weather or not to return to my position next year. We deserve respect and so do the children and families that we serve.

For those of us who decide to stay, it would definitely be for the children? They deserve the best education and the best educators they can get.

My great concern is what will happen if many seasoned teachers leave the district? Where would that leave our students?

We need to band together and not renew the superintendent's contract.

Posted by Thankful
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2018 at 12:53 pm

Amen to Mr. Gaviglio for having the guts to stand up. There have been a lot of folks willing to speak to this issue without being identified, but perhaps now that Mr. Gaviglio has spoken up, more of the folks can come forward [portion removed.]

Posted by Heather Hopkins
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 30, 2018 at 1:16 pm

I am not a Ravenswood parent or community member, but I do support (fiscally and through volunteerism) several organizations that partner with the district. Over the last couple of years, I've heard nothing but frustration and concern from community members about district leadership. I hope the community is able to come together to make the best decision possible for the students of Ravenswood. They deserve it!

Posted by Teacher
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 30, 2018 at 1:30 pm

I am appalled when I hear about this level of discrimination and corruption in any business. But one that serves children? The superintendent is not setting a very good example for the young minds she purports to be educating.

We teach the students to oppose discrimination. Now we, as adults, need to show them HOW to oppose it. Do not renew the contract of Gloria Hernandez-Goff.

If you are a resident of East Palo Alto or Belle Haven: consider running for school board. Help make change!

Posted by Carey Richardson
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 30, 2018 at 1:52 pm

I am a Menlo Park resident and support Ravenswood School District through volunteering and financial donations. I have been saddened and disturbed by the lack of transparency and leadership by the superintendent. I have witnessed the dedication and hard work Todd and the teachers at Belle Haven commit to their school. With bare minimum resources, they have made huge progress and truly care about the children in the Ravenswood community. I hope the community can organize and make the positive changes in leadership they deserve!

Posted by Teacher
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 30, 2018 at 5:40 pm

Having Maria Sevilla working full time at Belle Haven will not only cost us more money. She is another example of Gloria Hernandez-Goff's habit of nepotism. Hernandez-Goff brought Sevilla with her from Sacramento, gave her a job as principal-on-special-assignment (a job created just for her?), and then tossed Gaviglio out so she could promote Sevilla, saving her from the budget axe in September.

Posted by neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 30, 2018 at 5:50 pm

Superintendent Hernandez-Goff stood up at the last board meeting and tried to take credit for establishing laundry services on campus for our homeless families. But, oops! She didn't get the right permits to do this, and the laundry facilities sit unused, but paid for out of the district's meager budget! The audience at the meeting erupted in laughter. But seeing her waste money like that, then lie about it is not so funny.

Posted by teacher
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2018 at 6:26 pm

My top concern is that the superintendent does not have the students of Ravenswood as her top, or even close to top, priority.A school district should be child centered and all decisions should be being made to provide a better educational experience for our students. The teachers should feel supported and valued. That is not what is happening. Ravenswood is an extremely challenging place to work and ultimately they are not going to be able to keep any qualified teachers because who really wants to put up with all this?

Posted by Teacher
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2018 at 7:15 pm

District employees risk retaliation if they come forward and speak up. Gloria Hernandez-Goff will reassign or involuntarily transfer anyone who complains.

Posted by neighbor
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 30, 2018 at 7:53 pm

I was appalled at the behavior of some of the board members at the meeting on March 22. While citizens are desperately trying to convey their anguish about the state of the school district in their 2 allotted minutes, board members were distractedly shuffling papers, reading, and highlighting documents. Isn't it an important part of their job to listen? These people who didn't listen to us are deciding on the district's fate?

Posted by A Concerned Parent
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 30, 2018 at 9:14 pm

As a resident of Menlo Park, I am appalled with the Ravenswood City School District and its exceptionally low standards for a Superintendent. Because of her neglect, self-promoting agenda, and bad leadership, it is shameful and the students suffer. I am saddened to hear how employees are mistreated and nundervalued there. Hopefully the School Board will come to their senses and force the Superintendent, Gloria Hernandez-Goff, to resign.

Posted by Concerned citizen
a resident of Southgate
on Mar 31, 2018 at 8:41 am

I am one of the concerned citizens in the neighborhood. I noticed that most comments are from the supporters of Todd Gaviglio against the superintendent. I bet there are also teachers and parents who had experienced unequal treatment, harassed, discriminated by the principal. I know of some teachers, but they are afraid to stand up and be identified.
I believe the success in any organization is attained by looking into every angle. I am sure the complains of those teachers against Todd Gaviglio were submitted to the Director of Human Resources. I suggest to consider those.

Posted by EPA Homeowner
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 31, 2018 at 12:49 pm

I am a resident and home owner in East Palo Alto. I was a teacher in the Ravenswood City School District. There are so many more resources available to the district now then when I was there. It is unfortunate that they are not being managed correctly by the current Superintendent, Gloria Hernandez-Goff. Test scores provide proof of the progress of students at Belle Haven Elementary School under Mr. Gaviglio’s tenure; this unfounded decision by the superintendent unfairly harms hundreds of students.

If the School Board does not do something to resolve this crisis, I doubt that donors and benefactors are going to continue to provide financial support to the school district. Furthermore, I doubt that the upcoming bond measure will pass with all of this unresolved controversy. I want to appeal to the board to take action! You are part of the system of checks and balances. Protecting this Superintendent is hurting students plain and simple. Do the right thing!

Posted by Shame on Board Members
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 31, 2018 at 3:13 pm

How did most of the board members let Gloria go this far? How can they not see the corruption that is going on right under their noses? They are corrupted too. They are part of the whole problem. They do not want to admit that Gloria has failed to do the job she is getting paid to do. Time for them to go out along with Gloria. Shame on them too. Finally, there is somebody who risking everything by coming to the press and exposing the truth. Now everyone knows the truth, not just the terrorized employees who suffer in silence because they do not want to end with no job. know the truth. Again the CDC is getting closed because Board member Sharifa Wilson made a big no, no when she was the director of the CEDC, and had to be fired after licensing came and investigated the case. Sharifa, Glenda Savage, Gloria Hernandez, and Ana Pulido are upset because Glenda had to resign or retire unexpectedly. Karma does exist, when Glenda worked at CDC she forced one of the best teachers at CDC to retire when she had not even planned for it. By the way, Glenda was hired because Sharifa Willson asked Gloria to give her the job, and Gloria did give it to her, knowing that she did not have the credentials or knowledge to do the job, and this is why she made such a big mistake that cost her job. It is not fair that the board members voted yes to close the CDC just to retaliate those who operated with the investigation or file the complaint with licensing. After Glenda retired Gloria never intended to find her a replacement because she already had the plan to close down the CDC. What goes around comes around. One day Gloria will be treated the same way she is treating her employees. She only gives promotions to those kissed her a.. even if they do not have the proper credentials or experience to do the job.

Posted by Belle Haven Parent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 31, 2018 at 3:16 pm

Belle Haven Parent is a registered user.

Please do not renew Gloria Hernandez’s contract because she is not doing her job and she is spending even more money than necessary. Todd Gavilgio needs to be reinstated back as principal without delay? Any idea how we can achieve this.

Posted by Enough
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 31, 2018 at 5:34 pm

What about teachers who are part of the Cradle to Prison Pipeline in our community? Teachers who are not qualified to teach our children in Ravenswood and who continue to punish, suspend, and get rid of our children, not giving them a chance at life?

How about teachers who are only teaching in an urban school district to qualify for loan forgiveness? I'm a parent and an educator myself, born and raised in East Palo Alto. My older child with special needs was consistently punished by his teacher, despite his disability. This is not what education is about or what full inclusion means. You can't blame few for a failure on such a grand scale. Ravenswood culture has not changed for decades,including the test scores, regardless of who the leader was. Stop complaining and start teaching. Show that you actually care about our children!

Posted by A Believer
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2018 at 6:13 am

I believe in God and will be asking today at church that the board members will come to their senses and realize that what they have been doing a very bad job as board members and will finally take accountability for it by not renewing her the contract. If they do they will be showing us that they really do not care about our kids and teachers. They will look really bad int he eyes of God and people.

Posted by Bunyip
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 1, 2018 at 6:21 am

@abeliever yep, that'll fix it.

Posted by Gloria Hernandez= Donald Trumpl
a resident of Woodside
on Apr 1, 2018 at 8:43 am

Ms. Hernandez reminds me so much of Donald Trump, he too hired his family members. He can be mean and to people when they do not deserve it.

To Enough: You are right, There are some teachers who shall not be working with kids and Hernandez and principal know it because parents I have brought complaints about one teacher at Ravenswood Middle School to the principals. She bullies special education students and has been doing it for years, but Hernadez does nothing about it because many of these incompetent teachers are the ones Hernandez will ask to come to board meetings and speak on her behalf ( about how wonderful she is), that way she can convince the community that she is doing a great as superintendent. I hope her contract does not get renewed, and then we can do something about those teachers who shall not be teaching. There are some teachers who do not even have credentials to work, but because Gloria Hernandez claims that there is a shortage of teachers, she gets to hire any employees who promise they will get into the university and get into education. This is wrong too. Our students are being taught by incompetent employees, not teachers. No wonder test scores results are bad.

Posted by This is a joke
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2018 at 1:53 am

If you want change in public education, start with bringing DeVos down. Think outside the box.

Posted by Menlo Park Resident
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 2, 2018 at 7:32 am

You would think that by now Gloria would be packing and cleaning her desk, but knowing how the school board members acted last time, I would not be surprised if they tell her not to worry, as Sharifa did last time when the teachers read the "no trust" letter.

Posted by Resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2018 at 8:59 am

[Post removed.]

Posted by Shame on Board Members
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2018 at 1:10 pm

This is pretty bad. [Portion removed?] If there is any proof we shall bring them to the board on the next meeting and ask the board members for the immediate removal of the Sup. When employees get hired they get fingerprinted, how could this be overlooked? Maybe they knew but Gloria said is okay to hire her own unqualified felon son. This is too much. Thanks for sharing.
We shall not even wait till her contract expires. [Portion removed.]
No wonder CDC was doing so bad, and our kids are the ones who will pay for Gloria hiring and incompetent director to manage CDC.

Posted by Stunned
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2018 at 2:24 pm

So let me get this straight, you want to keep your children at home until this school principal (who still has a job) is reinstated?
Use your children to protest something they can't even comprehend?! And you're claiming you have the students' best interest at heart, by preventing them from attending and receiving academic instruction? [Portion removed.]

Posted by Shame on Board Members
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2018 at 4:27 pm

[Post removed due to unverified and potentially defamatory assertions.]

Posted by Stunned
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2018 at 4:47 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Resident
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 2, 2018 at 5:02 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Teacher
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 2, 2018 at 6:08 pm

Wow, you are removing all the posts regarding the superintendent’s history!

Posted by Teacher
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 2, 2018 at 6:09 pm

Wow, you are removing all the posts regarding the superintendent’s history! Did she get to you too?

Posted by SP
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 3, 2018 at 12:04 pm

Its not just this superintendent. Past superintendents have been even more incompetent. The board members pat each other on the back rather than recognize problems.

But its really an impossible, thankless job. The Ravenswood District is not viable. Whoever the superintendent is, they will have to decide between teachers, administrators and maintenance staff, none of whom are paid anything close to those in the Palo Alto or Menlo Park districts. The money isn't there. There just is no way to fix this district.

Posted by School employee
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 3, 2018 at 9:37 pm

Encouraging quality charters schools is the solution. They bring both new methods, non unionized staff, and outside funding. It is almost impossible for Ravenswood to pull itself up, better the help its students find better places with quality charter options (eg not Stanford).

Posted by Tax dollars at work
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 6, 2018 at 12:09 pm

Wow, look at all the redacted comments. It's clear that the PR firm Dr. Hernandez has hired to protect herself is doing their job.

If only there was someone speaking truth on another platform, where one could reliably read about the corruption. Thanks @EPAKidsMatter for doing that important work through Twitter!

Web Link

Posted by OG
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 7, 2018 at 12:15 pm

Let's not pretend. We all know who stands behind EPA Kids Matter Twitter account. This is a very small community. Have some objective info you want to share, or just your personal opinion? Gotta love the RTA "heroes".

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 11, 2018 at 9:44 pm

I was there! I had seen and heard everything!
I don’t like the scenario! Teachers were so rude to the Superintendent. I was expecting professionalism among each other. How could teachers show rudeness instead of talking and asking her in a nice way. The superintendent was all alone against almost the majority. Her tendency was to show she is in control. She was just informing the teachers about Gaviglio’s transfer to the district .

Posted by Update
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 5, 2018 at 2:03 pm


Posted by I agree!
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 5, 2018 at 7:06 pm

Yes, Gaviglio would make a great superintendent. No matter where this man goes he will be successful. Gloria does not realize it, but it will a big lost for Ravenswood. This is why we still have the lowest scores because when well-experienced principals speak up, you get fired or demoted. Already very good Ravenswood teachers have accepted another job as a result of the removal of Gaviglio and renewing Gloria's contract. How dumb are our board members that cannot see how corrupted is Gloria. I think they are in denial because if they accept the truth, it will mean that they too have done wrong by protecting the super.

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