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Grand View Parents Fight To Keep Principal

Jun 09, 2016 08:12AM ● By Jeanne Fratello

An outpouring of support for Grand View Elementary Principal Rhonda Steinberg took shape Wednesday morning, as a crowd of about 200 Grand View Elementary parents gathered to discuss an effort to try to keep Steinberg at the school.

Steinberg is one of four Manhattan Beach Unified School District principals to have been reassigned following a four-way leadership transition announced on Monday.

In a discussion moderated by incoming PTA President Heather de Roos, recent past president Rachel Disser, and past president Jill Lamkin, parents expressed their strong feelings about wanting Steinberg to stay at Grand View.

De Roos said that Steinberg has been a dedicated, effective, and much-loved leader at the school, and has been a central component of the Gators' success as a school. "She's got a whole closet full of green. She bleeds green," said de Roos.

De Roos created a #Gators4Rhonda petition on Change.org that had garnered 378 signatures as of Thursday morning. Many parents at the morning meeting donned "SOS" ("Save Our Steinberg") stickers.

In a statement released to the Grand View community on Monday, Steinberg wrote: "Please know that I leave Grand View with tears in my eyes and a profound sense of sorrow and loss.”

“Nevertheless,” Steinberg said, “I approach my new and exciting challenge with optimism and enthusiasm. I leave all of you with an extraordinary teaching staff, a caring and conscientious office staff, and the tradition of excellence that will continue for years to come."

At the meeting, parents questioned the timing and the method of the district's announcement, speculating as to reasons behind the changes that were not being disclosed. Some said the various campus leadership transitions were being made at an awkward time, with a difficult year ahead, particularly due to the transition to the Common Core curriculum.

Several parents at the Grand View meeting raised the notion of protesting the District’s decision by withholding contributions to the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation (MBEF).  

Cautioning against that was Michelle Cormack, president of MBEF and a Grand View parent who attended the meeting. "The easiest thing to do is not to write that check,” Cormack said, “but you have to remember that it is our kids who will be affected. You have to think of the collateral damage."

In his email to all parents on Monday, MBUSD Superintendent Mike Matthews had said, "I am making these personnel moves because I believe that our principals will take what they have learned from their experiences at their current sites and use it to provide even more impact at their new schools.  They will grow professionally from these moves, our employees will benefit from new leadership perspectives, and our district, our schools, and our community will benefit from the broader perspectives these changes will provide to all of us."

Reached by DigMB on Wednesday, Matthews said, "I did not attend the meeting, so I have no comment. I had heard about the meeting and did offer to attend and answer questions, but the parents organizing the meeting respectfully requested that I not attend."

Steinberg has served as principal at Grand View for 11 years. Speaking Wednesday at the parent volunteer tea before the parent meeting, she said, “It has been my pleasure to get to know each of you. I hope you always remember me.”

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