Home 2016 Election Antioch Principal Offers Commentary Regarding School Board Elections

Antioch Principal Offers Commentary Regarding School Board Elections

by ECT

Dear Editor:

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader” – John Quincy Adams.

The quote encapsulates Antioch Unified School District’s Superintendent Stephanie Anello.

AEA (teachers), CSEA (classified staff), and AMA (management staff) all came together to voice their support for her selection of the position. She is the School Board’s only employee and she is our only leader. The same entities also came together to endorse Board position openings in the coming election. You can view their endorsements on the #AMA– Antioch Managenent Association Facebook page. They came together because they value our Superintendent.

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others”. – Jack Welch


Stephanie Anello

Ms Anello has worked in the district, over many years, in a variety of capacities giving her a long rich history that lends itself to a high level of trust. Part of what makes her trustworthy in the position is the genuine concern she has for the students of Antioch Unified School District. And the relationships she has developed with employees at every level.

When all 3 employee groups support a leader, you know there is something special there. She gets out to sites, spends time with students, meets families, embraces the staff and applauds hard work at every level.

She has been instrumental in changing the narrative about AUSD by promoting positive conversations, videos, images, and stories that produce evidence of the great things happening every day in our schools.

Very shortly it will be time to vote. And there are 3 School Board positions available. Given that the Board will be her governance body it is important that you the voter understand how much we value her leadership. She is what this District needs and it’s important that her leadership not be impeded by those who are more interested in their own self-importance.

(L to R) Gary Hack, Mike Burkholder, Diane Gibson-Gray & Joy Motts.

(L to R) Gary Hack, Mike Burkholder, Diane Gibson-Gray & Joy Motts.

When you vote please consider strongly only choosing candidates that will support her promotion of high standards, increased achievement, stronger relationships, fiscal responsibility and success for all. And please choose those candidates who speak highly of the district they wish to govern And who do not vote NO to every proposed solution for the district.

Give Superintendent Anello the time to demonstrate her leadership by ensuring a strong board whose interest are the students of this District and it’s employees.

Diane Gibson-Gray, Gary Hack, Joy Motts, Mike Burkholder are ready to support the positive direction. Fernando Navarro is a detriment to this possibility.


Monte Gregg
Principal – AUSD

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Peter Heart Oct 22, 2016 - 6:30 am

Hopefully the voters are smart enough to realize the reality of what Principal Gregg just stated. If you like Stephanie Anello and want her to stay, vote for any of these four candidates. If you want a positive school district, vote for these four candidates. I personally am supporting Diane Gibson-Gray, Mike Burkholder and Joy Motts. I think the three of them are all different enough to bring a little bit of everything to the school board and make great changes. I would vote for Gary Hack, but his signs are outrageous and all over Antioch in illegal places. It reminds me of internet spam. Like Principal Gregg says, Navarro is a NO!

So glad my kids recently graduated from the AUSD. This current board has made a mess of things.

Jim Simmons Oct 22, 2016 - 6:49 am

The school district is getting what it deserves in Alonzo Terry and Fernando Navarro, the school board members Diane Gibson-Gray, Walter Ruehlig and Debra Vinson selected them. I do not feel sorry for how poorly this district is doing. If anyone is to blame, its the school board itself.

Diane Gibson-Gray is the best of the people who have served on the board. Mike Burkholder appears solid and Chrystal White is new so I will pick them. Every other choice is just terrible. Gary Hack and Joy Motts were both voted out for a reason in the last election. They need to stay off the school board for good.

Ken Kent Oct 22, 2016 - 3:01 pm

Hi. I would ask you to reconsider. For the first time EVER. All three school district unions, administrators (AMA), teachers (AEA), and certificated staff (CSEA), have endorsed the same candidates: Gary Hack, Joy Motts, and Diane Gibson-Gray. Every group who works with and for students is supporting these people. I know that I wont change your mind here, but please at least take the time to learn more about them.

Voter925 Oct 22, 2016 - 7:30 am

I hope this principal is reprimanded by the Superintendent for voicing her opinion like this. She is an employee of the District and should be inserting herself into the political debate.

Dylan Howell Oct 22, 2016 - 9:35 pm

If she were commenting during company time, I would understand your complaint, but as a private citizen, she has first amendment rights. And I’m glad she is exercising them.

Jeannie Kelley Oct 29, 2016 - 11:16 am

She is using her AUSD title and influence, She does not appear to be acting as a private citizen and does not say so.

Your letter, in my opinion, does the same thing. You may want to read this…


Julio Oct 22, 2016 - 8:59 am

Did you mean she should NOT be inserting herself into the political debate? If so I agree.

Ken Kent Oct 22, 2016 - 2:55 pm

I don’t really understand your objection. Being employed by the school district does not take away our right to free speech. In fact, those in a position to see and understand the needs of the district and of students have a duty to get involved. One of the things I try to teach my class is the balance between Rights & Responsibilities.

Jeannie Kelley Oct 29, 2016 - 11:18 am
Ken Kent Oct 22, 2016 - 3:18 pm

I don’t really understand your objection. Just because we work for the school district, does not mean that we give up our right to free speech. Even more, someone who has special knowledge of a situation has a duty to become involved. Educators work to improve the lives of students and in that role we are mandated to speak out to protect children. By extension this is yet another area where an educator may feel the need to speak out for the betterment of students. In my class, I try to teach that Rights are always paired with Responsibilities.

RJ b Oct 22, 2016 - 6:53 pm


No one ever said or took away anyone right to free speech. The fact is, the principle’s opinion carries a lot of weight because they are in a position of power. The ethical thing to do is to stay out of it and allow the voters to decide. Maybe you should look into teaching or hanging around professors of ethics??

Furthermore, don’t be a hypocrite. Julio has his right to free speech and opinion just like everyone else. Just because his opinion does not fall in line with yours, you attack him?

Do you teach for AUSD?!?

Ken Oct 29, 2016 - 1:34 pm

Hello Rb J,
I was writing in support of free speech. Not once have I attempted to discourage someone’s free speech. You accuse me of attcking Julio and being a hypocrite. Please reread my reply to Julio’s comments; share them with others to see if they get the same impression as you. I reread them thinking that I might have come across other than intended but can not see where you would draw such a conclusion.

RJB.- Oct 22, 2016 - 10:02 am

For the principle to take the time to get involved with politics/elections and take the time to make it public only affirms the fact that we need people like Navarro in AUSD. It shows the cowardice of people against Navarro.

I hope others will vote for Navarro. He is a person that is not afraid to call it like it is and has the courage to do so.

AUSD Parent Oct 22, 2016 - 10:33 am

@RJB you are nothing more than a troll on this page. Why does AUSD need Navarro? I doubt you even know his values other than maybe his Trump like behavior. He has brought next to nothing to the District since being appointed. And by the way, who says his perspective is even correct? If someone is not that well liked that principals start coming out against them, something is not right. Get a clue RJB.

Proud Deer Valley Parent

RJB Oct 22, 2016 - 2:14 pm

AUSD parent you really need to wake up and smell the failure of AUSD. Just because someone does not agree with your view you attack them? Who’s the troll here?

Proud AUSD parent? What a load of Crap. More like a proud member of a failed educational district.

Get a life and another thing, if you really believe AUSD is great you need to learn how to do a better job at parenting.

I can spar all day. Bring it on.

Julio Oct 22, 2016 - 11:28 am

@Proud Deer Valley Parent; I asked some of the board members WHY they picked Mr.Navarro for the board. He WAS their pick. I was told only one reason “He speaks Spanish”. Mr. Navarro HAS my vote already mailed in because he gets under their skin and that is a GOOD thing! I don’t want any of the same old stuff.

Ken Kent Oct 22, 2016 - 3:09 pm

What do you mean by “the same old stuff”? Its too bad that you already mailed in your ballot, but perhaps in the future do more than vote base on a vague idea that someone who “shakes things up” is a good thing. Often someone who shakes things up, is more like an earthquake and does both obvious and hidden damage. Navarro has no real insights and no real direction to guide the district. He is an epicenter of a quake that will do damage to Antioch schools and will take years from which to recover if we let him into office.

Julio Oct 22, 2016 - 6:41 pm

I have spent a lot of time with Mr. Navarro Mr. Kent as I have with many other candidates running for election in Antioch. I am an educated voter who has lived here for 50 years, sir. I have children and grand children living here. As RJB says the statistics coming out of AUSD are appalling and have been for years. Including when my children were in school. I want change.

Ken Oct 22, 2016 - 8:54 pm

I agree with needing change. I disagree that Mr. Navarro is the way to go. His change will not be positive. Finding a candidate whose change is progress; that is the challenge. These changes must also be more systemic, not just limited to schools. A communities success in education is tied strongly to its success economically, and these are bigger discussions than for which this venue is designed. Thank you for responding.

Jeannie Kelley Oct 29, 2016 - 11:08 am

I believe this principal may have violated CA Ed Code (link below) by using her title and authority as an AUSD principal to influence voters in an election .


Ken Oct 29, 2016 - 1:20 pm

I’ve carefully read the ed code section for which you provided a link & I disagree with your interpretation. The ed code section both limits & protects political speech/action by an agent of a public body in the course of their duties. It is not so easy to remove a citizen’s first amendment rights. Simply stating your name and position at a board meeting or identifying the same in an op ed letter does not mean you are unduly wielding the influence of your position.
I encourage you to seek to understand the content of the speech and Principal Gregg’s concerns, instead of focusing on finding a loophole to dismiss these concerns out of hand.
Thanks for listening.

Jeannie Kelley Oct 29, 2016 - 11:13 am

Sorry about the double post. It was not done intentionally. By the way, I am a concerned parent, teacher and long-time resident of Antioch. Thank you.

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