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Response to Oxnard School Board Rift

* I am an instructor in the Oxnard school district. I am incensed with the inferences made by your article dated Nov. 14 (“School Board Struggles Amid Inner Conflict”). I feel great injustice has been done not only to the reputation of my school, Haydock Intermediate, but to our principal, Peter Nichols.

The article states that Mary Barreto “complained about Nichols’ job performance several times in closed board meetings.” I have been teaching here at Haydock Intermediate since 1986 and this school has had several administrators in that time period. Since Mr. Nichols was placed here, a number of positive things have happened of which Dr. Barreto must not be aware:

Our school morale is the highest since I’ve been here. This is due largely to the skillful manner in which Mr. Nichols deals with his staff.

Just as he encourages excellence, he is ready to deal with unprofessional conduct on the part of any staff member or student. You can’t imagine how strong that kind of backing makes a staff feel.

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Mr. Nichols’ leadership has encouraged our staff to improve our teaching methodologies and utilize technologies as never before. Many of us have written for grants and sought new avenues of learning as a result of his enthusiasm.

His leadership was so evident and appreciated at his last school in this district that the community and staff rose up in a furor when he was transferred to his present assignment here at Haydock.

I would extend an invitation to our Board of Trustees to visit Haydock School and observe first-hand the quality of the very capable leadership Mr. Nichols provides our students and staff.

Keith A. King

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Ventura

* In my position as a college educator in Oxnard, I took great interest in your story regarding the recent exchanges among the trustees of the Oxnard Elementary School District.

The recent attacks/vitriol issued by some members of the board against the current president of the board lead me to doubt their best intentions in this regard. Specifically, their intentions for the welfare of the community the board is elected to represent.

The subtle and not so subtle messages one hears as a result of the recent actions of the board toward Mary Barreto are that misunderstandings will be interpreted as mistakes and they will remain unforgiven; speaking up for oneself is inappropriate, and if one is of Mexican origin and living in this community their voice is not meant to be heard.

As an educator, I am deeply concerned that our children in this community and in the schools are both directly and indirectly exposed to the above messages. The impact of these messages undermines self-esteem, at the very least, not to mention undermining democracy.

Oxnard’s economy, work force and general well-being do not need such messages and attitudes of the current board.

Linda Chaparro, Ph.D.

Oxnard

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* I am writing in response to Nov. 14 article concerning issues plaguing the Oxnard School District board of trustees (“School Board Struggles Amid Inner Conflict”).

These board members hold a powerful position in the community and in the school district. Their decisions affect hundreds of teachers and administrators and thousands of children. Their words and actions to the public need to be carefully thought out so as not to appear insensitive, hurtful and unprofessional as in your article.

As divided as this board of five people has become, they desperately need to work together as a cohesive and cooperative group to ensure cohesiveness and harmony in this district. Not every one of us has to have the same skin color in order to be good at our jobs.

I teach the children in my classroom to work cooperatively so that when they grow up, they’ll be better able to work with others to get along peacefully and productively. I also teach them that all people are capable of achieving their hopes and dreams no matter what their skin color or background.

Jan Tripp

Camarillo


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