Coast Unified teachers want a leadership change



Community members and teachers packed the Sept. 6 Coast Unified School District board meeting room to lodge their renewed complaints about the district's superintendent.

The closed session agenda at the special meeting included the evaluation of Superintendent Victoria Schumacher's performance and her employment with the district. Earlier this summer, the Cambria Teacher's Association wrote a letter to the district that detailed the association's vote of no confidence in the superintendent.

Samuel Shalhoub, the district's board president, told New Times that faculty and community members raised a variety of concerns about Schumacher during the public comment portion of the meeting.

"Many comments appropriately centered around the leadership and performance of Dr. Schumacher; our teachers stood in solidarity with one another as they reiterated their concerns as outlined by their letter and vote of no confidence in Dr. Schumacher's ability to lead the district," Shalhoub said.

Cambria Teachers Association President Joe Sassaman, who also teaches at Cambria Grammar School, read the letter of no confidence at the June 14 board meeting. Concerns outlined in the letter included: the superintendent and district's judgment over cutting teachers, and the superintendent's lack of leadership, vision, decisions, and communication.

Sassaman said the letter was a group effort. All of Cambria's teachers were given a chance to give input, and he said that 97 percent of the teachers agreed with the letter while only a single teacher disagreed.

"The teachers felt that we needed to take this unprecedented move of writing a letter of no confidence to show the board how serious our concerns were with this superintendent," Sassaman told New Times in an email.

He said at the end of the 2018 academic school year, a beloved English teacher quit because of the state of the district's leadership.

"We are hoping the school board listens to the people that work with the superintendent and start looking for a new leader that can help our district get back on track and support programs to help give kids the best education we can give them," he said.

Emily Mills, a teacher at Santa Lucia Middle School, said she and other teachers have had private meetings with Schumacher and the board president to express their concerns.

"The district has lost many great staff [including teachers], as well as students and families over their distrust and dissatisfaction with Dr. Schumacher's leadership," Mills said.

Board President Shalhoub said that he would provide an oral statement to the public of the results of the superintendent's evaluation period at the Oct. 4 board meeting.

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