Updated: District reassigns El Roble principal to Christopher High School

Iraida Pisano

Iraida Pisano has been removed from her post as El Roble
Elementary School principal and transferred to Christopher High
School, where her primary responsibility will be dealing with
disciplinary issues.
Iraida Pisano has been removed from her post as El Roble Elementary School principal and transferred to Christopher High School, where her primary responsibility will be dealing with disciplinary issues.

Superintendent Deborah Flores informed Pisano of the reassignment this morning. Pisano will work at CHS for the rest of the school year and will not be returning to El Roble, Flores said.

“The events of the last few weeks have led me to believe we needed to make a change at El Roble,” Flores said.

Pisano will fill a new position created at CHS as Dean of Discipline, CHS Principal John Perales said. She will begin her new job Thursday.

“My hope is that this is a position we can keep next year,” Perales said. CHS will house about 1,000 ninth through 11th graders next year. “We welcome the help. I don’t want to comment on what happened at El Roble. I think this will be a fresh start for (Pisano). It will give her a chance to put her skills to work and I think she’s going to do a good job.”

Before the district hired Pisano as principal of El Roble, she served a brief stint as an assistant principal at Gilroy High School.

Perales planned to inform his staff of their new dean today and said he didn’t anticipate any concerns.

Two retired principals, Kathleen Masner and Karen Tavares, who served as interim principals of El Roble during the fall of 2007, will fill in for Pisano at the elementary school, Flores said.

Earlier this month, the Gilroy Teachers Association filed a two-inch thick unfair labor practice complaint against Pisano charging her with harassment, discrimination and making threats to teachers. This set off a two-week firestorm of parents advocating for Pisano’s stay while 23 of El Roble’s 27 teachers delivered a vote of no confidence in their principal to trustees.

The campus returned to “normal” this week in Pisano’s absence, teachers said. Also absent were the banners students and parents waved on campus earlier this month and at a joint Gilroy City Council-Gilroy Unified School District board of trustees meeting in support of their principal.

“Everything has been very quiet,” said one teacher. “It’s not like we’re jumping up and down for joy but it’s more relaxed. I think we’re breathing a sigh of relief. We feel more at ease and I think we can concentrate on teaching now.”

Flores informed El Roble teachers of her decision to transfer their principal at a short staff meeting Monday. A letter was also sent to El Roble parents Monday informing them of their new principals.

Pisano was not on campus Monday or Tuesday, teachers said. The district has not begun advertising for her position yet, according to a search of EdJoin.org, a job posting Web site for California schools that Gilroy commonly uses.

The majority of the district’s managers, including Pisano, hold one-year contracts and work at the will of the school board, Flores said. She would not confirm whether Pisano was the elementary school principal trustees voted to release at a previous board meeting.

When Flores shared the news with teachers Monday, teachers asked if the district would help facilitate a meeting to help mend their relationship with parents, Flores said.

“I’m very pleased that they asked about that,” she said. “I think it would bring the two groups together. I would like to do that soon.”

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