Principal Pisano’s apparent ousting triggers questions

At El Roble Elementary School there have been four principals in
five years. That is not a recipe for leadership success which has a
direct correlation to student achievement.
At El Roble Elementary School there have been four principals in five years. That is not a recipe for leadership success which has a direct correlation to student achievement.

The latest El Roble drama surrounds the apparent dismissal of Principal Iraida Pisano. The Gilroy Unified School District Board of Trustees has, after pressing questions from Dispatch education reporter Sara Suddes, acknowledged that a vote was taken in closed session to dismiss an elementary school principal.

Meanwhile, the teacher’s union has assembled a two-inch thick complaint against Principal Pisano and shipped it off to the California Public Employment Relations Board.

Parents have connected the dots and 100 or so turned out to support their principal at what was supposed to be a relatively benign joint School Board/City Council meeting.

There is obviously a huge disconnect between the perceptions of parents and school staff members. The parade of principals at the school adds more questions to the current perplexing circumstances.

Is this the case of an entrenched teaching staff unwilling to accept change or new demands from a principal who is unwilling to accept less? Is it a case of a principal showing one personality side to parents and another opposite of that to staff?

Principal Pisano’s secretary sat resolutely next to her at the recent meeting where the outpouring of support occurred, so the staff is certainly not united against her.

A full inquiry by the Board of Trustees is in order. There really are no secrets left. The parents, who have put up with leadership change after leadership change, deserve a full explanation.

Furthermore, the Board most certainly understands what a huge difference a principal can make. Marco Sanchez’s tenure at Gilroy High School and James Dent’s at Eliot Elementary are testament enough.

If GUSD is consistently missing the boat on critical hires, that’s a huge issue Trustees need to consider. Is there anything more important to a school’s success than hiring a principal?

Principal Pisano may be unsuited to lead El Roble, or she may be the victim of a controlling group of teachers who want to make sure everyone knows who’s boss.

Trustees must make that determination, but the public should be allowed to participate as fully as possible. Principal Pisano doesn’t seem to have a problem with that and neither should Trustees.

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