Ever since I was a kid, I was fascinated with history. And proper pronunciation of words, but that’s a different story.
Maybe my historic leaning was because I’m the youngest of 5 and my generational references (and hand me down everything) skewed a bit older than all my friends. Maybe it’s because all the books I read had that old paper smell from being in our family for decades or at my school library for generations. Maybe it was because I watched a lot of Nick at Nite on my 5” black and white TV instead of going to sleep (it also had a tape deck built in so I’d record MTV back when it actually played music)… Mr. Ed, Green Acres (I still love the theme song), Bewitched, Batman (POW! ZOK!!) and Dragnet among others.
Dragnet was OK as a show, but later became a fun movie with Dan Aykroyd as the stern but fair Joe Friday that I watched whenever it came on TV (which, in those days, was oddly often).
So, on this Friday, in honor of my man Joe and owing to my historic leanings…
Just the facts, ma’am.
- Early to mid-90’s – Bayside Elementary and MLK Middle School roughly 50/50 black/white mix
- 96/97 – Fort Baker shuts down, military families leave the district, 80/20 black/white mix
- 98 – 2000 – White flight, district becomes 95% or more black
- 2001 – Willow Creek Academy opens as K3 on Bayside Sausalito campus, growing to a K5 and then K8 as those kids grew up, Bayside librarian at the time recalls complete separation (“They wouldn’t even use our library.”)
- Early to mid-2000’s – District has 5 or 6 year run with single superintendent, institutes two year classrooms for Bayside, focuses intensely on 3rd grade literacy
- 2004 bond measure that passed with 70%+ support and funded the construction of the MLK middle school campus in Marin City.
- 2008 – Bayside wins California Distinguished School award and Title 1 Achievement award
- November 2008 – Bill Zeigler, Willow Creek founder, elected to district board
- 2009-2011 – Staffing changes at Bayside and MLK result in teachers departing, scores at Bayside and MLK plateau and then begin to decline, reversal of progress made in early to mid-2000’s begins, some students from Marin City begin to shift to Willow Creek
- 2010 – Willow Creek wins California Distinguished School award
- 2012 – Josh Barrow appointed to district board
- 2013 – Josh and Bill vote to close Bayside, elementary students displaced to MLK middle school, district board approves purchase of portable buildings for those students, agreeing to multiple decades of repayment in order to quickly create a K8 campus on the recently built Middle School campus, Willow Creek takes full control of Sausalito campus, retaining Bayside’s “California Distinguished School” award on what is now the Willow Creek entry sign
- 2013-2015 – Steve Van Zant, “Charter School King,” hired as 2 to 3 day per week part time superintendent for ~$170k per year, flies from his home in San Diego to Sausalito on the district dime, changes credential requirements from single to multiple subjects resulting in significant teacher turnover, and supports removal of Art, Music, and PE programs from Bayside MLK, multiple principal turnovers, adds programs and staff to Willow Creek Academy, establishes a 5 year term on the MOU to govern student needs based discretionary budget allocation to Willow Creek despite the dynamic and changing nature of the student body, Bayside MLK scores continue to decline, more Marin City students shift from Bayside MLK to Willow Creek
- 2014 – Josh Barrow and Ida Green run uncontested for the school board
- 2015 – Superintendent Steve Van Zant convicted for illegal financial dealings in another school district, resigns, two superintendents have come and gone since
- November 2016 – Debra Turner elected to board with highest percentage of votes on promise of restoring programs to Bayside MLK; Bill Zeigler is not re-elected
- 2016/2017 – FCMAT report exposes questionable finances, immediately challenged by Willow Creek and then upheld by the state, Marin County Office of Education appoints Terena Mares in oversight capacity (now our interim superintendent), State Attorney General opens investigation of the district, 2 board members that have Willow Creek aligned voting record begin to recuse themselves from all financial matters as a result of the investigation
- 2017-2018 – With two members consistently recusing themselves only three members participating in all financial matters: Josh, Ida, and Debra; programs partially restored to Bayside MLK include Art, Music, PE; scores at both BMLK and Willow Creek on the rise
- November 2018 – Three seats up for election, 7 candidates
- “Team up for all Kids” Slate
- Josh Barrow, current district board President, technology executive
- Kurt Weinsheimer, current Willow Creek board president, technology executive
- Jen Conway, current Willow Creek Parents Org Co-President, technology executive
- “Two choice Candidates” Slate
- Ida Green, current district board Vice President, social worker in the Marin City community for decades
- Bonnie Hough, 20+ years family legal services, serving many members of Marin City community
- Peter Romanowsky, street entertainer
- Me, parent of future public schooler, work at Common Sense Media, nation’s largest children’s focused non-profit
- “Team up for all Kids” Slate
And here are the videos from our three candidate’s forums:
If you have facts to add to this timeline, please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org