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Year in Review: Superintendent Search

The school board spent the first half of 2011 searching for a new superintendent, and community members made their opinions clear.

As part of South San Francisco Patch's year-end coverage, we're looking back at some of the biggest stories that unfolded over the course of 2011.

After Superintendent Howard Cohen at the end of 2010 for undisclosed reasons (and with a six-month salary settlement), the school board was faced with the challenge of finding new leadership for the district.

With many teachers and staff unhappy with what they perceived as a top-down leadership style under Cohen, the superintendent hiring process was a highly visible—and for some time, highly criticized. At first, the board chose not to do a wide search and , a current and a former adminstrator.

But facing calls from the community to undertake a wider search, the district to find a larger pool of candidates. Though a vocal contingent of local families , in the end, , whose arrival was met with broad support.

Take a look at the headlines below to see how the superintendent search unfolded in South San Francisco in 2011.


Chris Corbett January 03, 2012 at 07:03 AM
Hogan isn't bad, but after six months of evaluation, testing, and many conversations with him, sadly, he was the wrong choice. I initially endorsed him, but now I must say Melara was a better choice. Neither is tough like Cohen, but at least both seem honest. Still, I must predict Hogan won't last the year, and we'll be a'searching again. This is not what the Board and you all want to hear, but I promise its veracity. Come Summer or Fall, we'll be back to the drawing board.
DP January 08, 2012 at 04:58 AM
I agree with Chris. How often do parents contact Superintendent's office? Perhaps, not very often, and only as a last resort. Unfortunately, Mr. Hogan, as well as Mr. Melara DO NOT RETURN PHONE CALLS or REPLY TO EMAILS. I honestly feel that they do not wish to be bothered. Furthermore, I've received letters signed by Mr. Hogan, stating to contact him if any questions. After much run-around, I am directed to Mr. Melara. Weeks pass, and still no return call from either one of them. Ultimately, I receive a return call from Mr. Sebers. In my last 4 years of dealing with Superintendent's office, the only persons who have returned calls are Mr. Sebers and Mr. Cohen (I do not know circumstances of his departure; however, he did return calls and was geniunely interested in my concerns). It seems like Mr. Sebers is running the entire District office!! He is well informed about all aspects of school matters and is very professional. When I mention not receiving return calls, he is embarassed and always apologizes on everyone's behalf and is quick to answer questions and resolves issues immediately. He is proactive and never speaks ill of anyone. He is the most professional individual I have spoken to from the District office. As I stated, it is very rare that I contact Superintendent's office; however, calls always seem to fall back to Mr. Sebers. Also, there is an Assistant Superintendent opening in SSF School District office.
Chris Corbett January 08, 2012 at 05:47 AM
Mr Sebers was one of the directors I was wrong about. Initially, I thought he was incapable of performing his duties; however, he has proven me wrong, and he even vouched for me when I asked to be a substitute teacher. He is the future of the District. As an aside, Hogan needs to resign immediately, so as to stop wasting our time, so either Melara, Goldman, Normandy, or Sebers can take over the reigns (sp?). I conducted a test on Hogan in Dec, and he failed miserably. Someday, I'll enlighten you all on the details, but for now, I just want his immediate resignation and return to Salinas.
EJ January 08, 2012 at 06:15 PM
First, Mr. Sebers is a "supervisor", not a director. Second, please allow Mr. Hogan to do his job. PLEASE! Let's encourage and support our leader. This district needs stability so badly, and stirring the pot by asking our superintendent to resign is inappropriate. You have no business "testing" the superintendent. How would you like it if someone came online to openly criticize your job performance, much less ask you to resign? Who are you to sit in judgement? For once, put yourself in someone else's shoes before jumping online and being openly so critical. I bet that whoever takes the reigns of the district, will be criticized by you and others, no matter how "perfect" they seem, so let's calm down and give the man a chance. Support him; don't cut him down! Folks, please have a heart! Last, expecting the superintendent to call back every one who calls him is extremely unrealistic. Your expectation is similar to calling the governor's office, then getting upset that he did not personally return your call. Are you kidding me? The workload of an administrator (district or school), is mind-boggling. The hours in a day aren't enough to do all that the job requires. Please be supportive! Let's put an end to the revolving door for administrators that the SSFUSD has had the notoriety of in recent times. Let's support all our district and site administrators! Our students are the ones who suffer with all the instability.
Chris Corbett January 08, 2012 at 07:41 PM
You don't know what I know, EJ, but I appreciate your viewpoint. We'll see how it turns out. By the way, I like more people than I dislike by an factor of ten. I don't criticize unless it is warranted, and I always give the benefit of the doubt until I am certain. Only time will tell if my prediction comes true, as one cannot hide character flaws too long. I hope I am wrong, EJ, as I've been wrong before, but I fear I am on target here. I saw Cohen's flaws light years before anyone else, and I see Hogan's as well. Please don't suggest I think I can do his job, as I don't have the ability either. Lastly, the pot only got stirred up if I am wrong; should I be right, it is considered informing the community. The latter will be our reality. Sorry...
EJ January 09, 2012 at 04:49 AM
I hope you're wrong, Chris. Remember, however, that when there's a high turnover of administrators in a district, or school for that matter, the constituents (of the school) and the community (of the district) start to look really bad. Folks begin to deduce that all the administrators can't possibly be all bad. It is analogous to a person marrying multiple times and blaming all the spouses for the breakups instead of looking in the mirror! One mistake, (may be two) is excusable. Beyond that, you must find fault internally. Lastly, you probably mean well, Chris, but for the good of all, certain suspicions don't have to be aired publicly. Isn't this what we teach our children at home? Tact? The SSF community is savvy, and will be well informed if and when necessary, not through gossip in blogosphere. Just saying...
Chris Corbett January 09, 2012 at 05:05 AM
I hear ya! I hope I'm wrong too--for our kids' sake. Although I want to be optimistic and trust our District higher-ups, it is challenging to do so when I witness sorry acts of administration bordering on incompetence or corruption. In all fairness, Hogan's main mishap is his inability to make the tough decisions. He needs to understand that his job is to do right, not what's popular. It is not possible to defer things to his directors when people/parents have asked for his involvement. Already, I have had to go to the Board twice to solve simple safety problem at my sons' schools. Problems that should have been solved at the principal level. When that failed, I went to a director, then to Hogan. Hogan finally took action after Normandy got wind of the situation. I have learned the hard way that Hogan sits idle unless you notify the Board. That is not the way one should run my kids' schools!
Chris Corbett January 17, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Also, is it wrong to expect our District workers to have satisfactory character morals? We have Hogan who has lied to me three times; McElroy who cannot return either emails nor phone messages; Ingersoll who barely gets up from her chair; and the list goes on an on. On the flip side, there's Spaulding with a blown knee still doing yard duty supervision as well as Sebers doing power walks at lunch and Goldman being deaf and with senses tantamount to an eagle! Don't tell me to expect less; I expect more! There's four Board members too lazy to return emails or phone calls as well. Listen, I always give credit when it's due; but when it's not due, Patch readers will know about it. Better do your jobs!
Millicent January 18, 2012 at 05:11 AM
He's a great faker. You're right, Chris, I am surprised you caught him so quickly. What he does is hide all day, compliments people so to gain their support, then hides some more. He lives in San Mateo in a condo and on the weekends, he's back home to Salinas. He is not even committed to this county, and his heart's still in Monterrey.
Teacher January 18, 2012 at 05:16 AM
Although the district morale will wane with his firing or resignation, it is better to be wrong and correct the mistake than to be blind and maintain the status quo when that status quo will cost you lawsuit after lawsuit. Bye hogan bye
District employee January 18, 2012 at 05:19 AM
We screwed up again. Bring back Olds. She was good. Why'd she leave?
Robert Dhhui January 18, 2012 at 05:28 AM
Jay's always been a workhorse; it would take much more than a busted knee to keep him out of the ring, so to speak. Janet is a private person and believes in stranger danger, so her door is never open. Hogan is a hot mess, and his head is not here he probably didn't lie to you, Chris, he just forgot about his promises. I guess we have to send this guy his packing orders before he sends us into litigation like no other. The problem is there really is no assistant super who can slip into his place. Maybe Melara, that's all.
Jackie January 18, 2012 at 05:32 AM
If you don't keep your promises, forgetfulness aside, that's no excuse.
Come on January 18, 2012 at 05:35 AM
There's been worse than hogan....remember Cohen anyone?
mabel January 18, 2012 at 04:57 PM
the guy before olds was good too. did he not interview as well???

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