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Alejandro Hogan Will Be New Superintendent

School board members said Hogan can bring the district together.

After six months of discussion, disagreement and introspection about the future of the South San Francisco Unified School District, the board has made a much-anticipated decision: Alejandro Hogan, currently the associate superintendent of human resources at the Salinas Union High School District, will be the next superintendent.

“Mr. Hogan, I believe, has the ability to bring our district together, which it desperately needs,” said district Trustee Philip Weise. “He’s held in a very high regard from everyone in the school community, and I think he will help move our schools toward greatness as they should be.”

Hogan has spent much of his career in Salinas and has worked as an elementary school teacher, an elementary school principal and as district staff and the associate superintendent in the high school district.

“He was universally acclaimed by the folks there,” Weise said. “He’s done a lot in the district, and he has a lot of experience.”

The board interviewed a total of seven candidates from the position, during an earlier round of the process, and brought in by search firm during a day of interviews on June 11.

The four school board members present unanimously chose Hogan as the finalist, said Board President Maurice Goodman. (Trustee Shirley Hoch was absent for medical reasons.)

On Friday, Goodman and Weise traveled to Hogan’s school district in Salinas to interview people who work with him first hand. Representatives from the PTA, the Classroom Teachers Association and the California School Employees Association, as well as a parent at large, also visited.

“The constant theme of each comment that was made about him by individuals that have known him over a 30 year period [was] his ability to find consensus and to bring individuals through a process,” Goodman said.

South San Francisco teachers have vigorously criticized district leadership for a heavy-handed management style, at recent board meetings. Goodman and Weise both emphasized Hogan’s communication style as one of his primary assets.

“One thing that he said was that it’s key for him to ensure that individuals that are affected by the decision are part of that decision making process,” Goodman said.

“It seems like almost every single one within that whole group that we talked with, no one had anything bad to say about him,” said Napoleon Garcia, who went on the site visit as the PTA representative. “I think that he’ll be able to bring this district together.”

The board offered Hogan the position on Friday after the successful site visit, Goodman said.

Hogan said that some of his main challenges in South City will be working within budget constraints to maintain quality programs and helping schools that are in Program Improvement. But he said his first order of business will be to restore trust in the administration.

“I’m gathering that the district is in need of some TLC,” Hogan said. “The first order of what I want to do there is reinstate the trust and confidence in the district.”

Goodman said Acting Superintendent Adolfo Melara will return to his previous role as associate superintendent.

“He’s a team player. He’s done a great job as acting superintendent,” Goodman said.

Though Melara often faced sharp criticism from teachers and administrators, members of the Latino community permanently as superintendent. As associate superintendent, Melara worked on English learner programs, and parents praised his outreach to the community and commitment to youth.

Goodman said Hogan is familiar with the issues faced by Latino families.

“He has done a great deal of work bringing the Hispanic community to the table and decision-making in Salinas,” Goodman said.

The district is still negotiating Hogan’s salary and contract, but Goodman said he hoped it could be signed Thursday night. Weise said he thinks a is likely.

Hogan's start date hasn't been determined, but he said he's anticipating starting on July 1.

Hogan, who plans to move to South San Francisco, said he would likely come to Thursday night’s board meeting.

Chauntel O. June 21, 2011 at 05:02 PM
It is very refreshing to see that our board listened to the public and I do feel that Mr. Melara was a great fit for his former position; however I feel that an intergral part of this restoritive process will be to complete the investigations that began as a result of the recent occurances in the district. I want to commend the board for this thoughtful assignment, and ask that they continue to work with the public and district employees when reviewing policies that directly affect the students of this community.
Tess June 21, 2011 at 05:28 PM
Well before asking Mr. Hogan anything - let me say I'm glad the offer has been made and accepted. Now our district can begin to heal and move forward. As for what I want to ask Mr. Hogan: 1. Have you read the Patch lately - so you KNOW what you're being asked to fix? 2. SSF has a large Hispanic community, but there are also other communities that you will be serving. What experience do you feel has best prepared you to deal with various communities? 3. Which of these management styles do you naturally embrace – top down or open door? I would also welcome him to SSF and let him know that the SSFUSD has been a great district in the past and can definitely be a great place again. We will be looking to him for respectful leadership.
tcal June 21, 2011 at 05:44 PM
The only concerning news is A.M. returning to his previous position. Perhaps the new sup will not let him behave as he has done in the past.
Ed Ucation June 21, 2011 at 06:05 PM
Yes, good suggestion to have the new supe read all comments on Patch so he can get an accurate read on how the community really feels. Mr Melara should assume the original position for which he was hired: Director for English Language Learners. He is not qualified for AS of Ed Services; anyone with experience in education can discern that right away. I wish us all good luck moving ahead!
Drew Himmelstein (Editor) June 21, 2011 at 07:05 PM
I can't speak for him in terms of whether he knows what he's getting into, but I will say that the first thing he talked about when we spoke was bringing the community together, repairing trust and improving communication. Also, the first thing school board members Goodman and Weise said about him was that he has excellent communication skills. So it's pretty clear that he has been told and has gleaned that relationships are in need of repair.
Stu June 22, 2011 at 12:38 AM
It appears that the Board listened to their constituents and their district employees in making the selection and they are to be commended for that. I would now urge the Board to refrain from signing a "multi-year contract" at this early stage. There needs to be some time to see how things go. The more sensible thing would be to take a test drive before any long contract commitment is made. While we all want to think positive, it's simply good business to proceed carefully nonetheless.
Drew Himmelstein (Editor) June 22, 2011 at 03:33 AM
I just want to clarify that this article didn't mean to imply that Mr. Hogan has a particular focus on the Latino community; in fact, he told me it's important to serve all communities. I did ask him and Mr. Goodman about the issue since it has been raised by supporters of Mr. Melara.
very sad June 22, 2011 at 04:10 AM
Drew I just want to compliment you. You have done a very good job of keeping the public informed and following up on matters when people have asked questions. You definitely make me feel like you care about South San Francisco. Thanks!
hope June 22, 2011 at 04:47 AM
Hope, Welcome aboard Mr. Hogan!!. You will soon see that the problems in the district are mostly generated from the top. I work with a group of dedicated, hard working, loving, professional teachers and an awesome administrator. If I could confine myself to the walls of my school I'd never know the discontent that exists in our district. Please take the time to get to know the teachers and administrators and feel their pain so we can heal the collective and begin anew to a more loving and supportive community. Lord knows the world needs it now more than ever. Our kids deserve it!!
very sad June 22, 2011 at 04:50 AM
Seems I am not very sad any more. I think SSFUSD is on an upswing and I couldn't be happier. I firmly believe the children, teachers, administrators, classified staff and parents are going to see a positive change.
Drew Himmelstein (Editor) June 22, 2011 at 07:10 AM
Thank you. I love this job, and it's great to hear that you like Patch. This site is definitely a work in progress, so while compliments are great, constructive criticism is always encouraged. Feel free to let me know what you'd like to see more of and what could be improved, either in the comments section or by emailing me at drew@patch.com.
Chris Kiely June 22, 2011 at 08:12 PM
It will almost certainly be a 3 or 4 year contract. No reason to leave one place if you are concerned you can be dumped immediately. 4 years is max by law. One other thing to remember: Maximum severance pay is 18 months, even if contract is longer. So why would a new Supe want 3 or 4 years? So they can make sure that full 18 months severance pay is there as a backup for a reasonable length of time. Think of the practical issues. Suppose you go to a new District on a two year deal. By January of your school year, you already have less than 18 months left on your contract. By the end of the first year, it's down to 12 months. So before you even have 1 year under your belt, before you have even had one formal yearly evaluation, that 18 month safety net is shrinking away. For me, the real concern arises in a few years. Supes seem to like having that 4 year contract extended every year, so that it never gets any shorter, and so the maximum severance is always in place. 18 months severance pay may be reasonable to get someone to make a job change. But I'm not so sure that after a Supe has been at a District 4 or 5 years the same thing applies. Even if a woman/man is doing a solid job, if the Board decides to make a change, I don't think that a Supe automatically deserves 18 months severance pay. Us folks in the real world don't get that.
Chris Kiely June 25, 2011 at 04:21 AM
My understanding is 3 year deal with only a 6 months buyout. I'm glad the board felt strong enough to negotiate a good contract, and it is great that the Superintendent ia confident enough to come in without a back-breaking deal. Win-win.
Alex Mejia February 25, 2013 at 08:56 AM
I was a teacher for SUHSD, where Mr. Hogan was Asst. Sup over HR. I am extremely glad he has moved on. He was an awful representative of what an educational administrator should be. He showed signs of racial bias, unethical treatment of district employees and was altogether, for lack of a better term, a real jerk. Glad to see you go.

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