Friday, June 28, 2013

How Hayward's New Superintendent Wanted The Job, Quit The Job, Got The Job

By Steven Tavares and Shane Bond
It’s not often a reporter is called out by name by an elected official in front of a crowded board meeting, but at this month's Hayward school board meeting the East Bay Citizen again found itself in the middle a hot topic of discussion. However, without much context it only proved to be a non-sequitur to many in the audience and those watching at home.  Before the board even discussed the approval of a contract for their new interim superintendent, Stan "Data" Dobbs, board members were already talking up the topic during opening comments.

Board member John Taylor oddly took it as prime time to call out to East Bay Citizen about documents the publication had been seeking for over a week, “Mr. Shane I have the papers for you,” said Taylor, waving a handful of documents towards the East Bay Citizen reporter. Then, as the meeting progressed, board conversation dropped hints at the controversy that has been causing havoc behind closed doors with terms like “Stanford” and “certificate” populating their discussion. There was also similar disjointed references made by a member of the Chamber of Commerce and former Hayward Councilman Olden Henson as well during public comments. What exactly were they talking about?

Those documents were the evidence that we had been actively seeking for 10 days that was to prove Dobbs had in fact attended Stanford University for a certificate in Advanced Project Management. The saga was to corroborate the credential but our phone calls and emails to Dobbs about the certificate had unforeseen effects. On Thursday, June 13, we had reached Dobbs by phone but before we had an opportunity to pop the question about Stanford the potential superintendent hung up rattling off an excuse about “being in line at a department store.” We continued with more phone calls and emails but Dobbs refused to respond. Then, the next day, Dobbs floored people at the district with a surprising announcement--he revoked his candidacy as superintendent finalist.

The days following up to this surprise announcement contained rumblings about Dobbs’s lack of an administrative credential but also that he possibility lied on his resume. According to information received by The Citizen a firm contracted by the school district to conduct a background check determined that Dobbs not only never received a certificate from Stanford, despite his resume claiming he did, but he also never even enrolled in the university. This could only amount to one conclusion: Dobbs lied on his resume. If true, it would of been a massive blow to his credibility to lead not only the lowest performing school district in the county but any district period.

The Citizen moved to fact check this information. We contacted Stanford but due to the school’s privacy policies they refused to confirm if Dobbs had or had not attended their school. They offered only one bit of information - that perhaps legal counsel contacted the wrong department. The Citizen had only one option left, contact Dobbs, but he refused to speak with us. However, he seemed more intent on learning how we got his number. Dobbs would later reference what he believed was some sort of an invasion of his privacy, but procuring someone’s phone number is hardly journalistic wizardry by any extent.

Shortly after Dobbs announced he was revoking his candidacy The Citizen received the email announcing his departure. The email sent by the school district’s legal counsel to the board stated that Dobbs claimed he was experiencing “harassment.” Dobbs’s legal counsel claimed he was receiving “harassing phone calls (and questioned how people got his number), leaks of confidential information and damaging erroneous information about his credentials.” Dobbs’s legal counsel then added “its not the kind of environment that any reasonable person would want to work in.”

The move was peculiar because no story had been written yet, instead, we had only asked questions that any reasonable journalist would ask. So we sent out more emails the following days. If a person had received a certificate bearing the name of such a prestigious school as Stanford then why wouldn’t Dobbs share his accomplishment with the world? If he, indeed, had the certificate then what is the problem with furnishing the proof? Still, there was no response. Dobbs’s resume also had other certificates from Ivy League schools like Harvard and M.I.T. that appeared to check out, but this one from Stanford continued to be vexing. One cabinet level administrator in another school district described the certificates as fluff that can be easily obtained as long as one is willing to pay the expenses to attend a handful of classes.

There was one board member who knew exactly what was brewing in the background. Taylor's public offering of Dobbs’s transcripts proving he had the Stanford certificate clearly showed he had been in contact with Dobbs. Never mind the whiff of impropriety exuded when a public official is conversing with the candidate whose contract is currently being negotiated behind closed doors, the evidence strongly suggests Taylor acted as Dobbs’ consigliere while the heat was being applied.

Some board members and Dobbs’ coalition of supporters in the hierarchy of the Hayward Education Association and the Chamber of Commerce freaked out after receiving notification that Dobbs dropped out on Friday, June 14. Shortly after, board member Lisa Brunner called for a special closed session meeting to discuss Dobbs’s contract. Since she was not the board president and acting alone, Brunner had no power to call such a meeting. According to board bylaws, it is the board president’s duty or the direction of a majority of the board approved at a previous board meeting. More importantly, board members are explicitly prohibited from discussing contract matters in special closed session. Board President William McGee would later admit the board violated the Brown Act.

In the rush by some board members to change Dobbs’ mind, Taylor was still in contact with Dobbs. In fact, in public comments and an interview with The Citizen, it was clear Taylor was well aware of the questions and evidence we were repeatedly asking Dobbs. After the special meeting on June 18, when asked if Dobbs had a certificate from Stanford and, if so, why wasn’t he providing it, Taylor opened the cover on his iPad to immediately and comically display an image that appeared to be what Taylor called Dobbs’ “transcripts.” “Transcripts are public record,” Dobbs said assuredly. “Anybody can get them.” Except, this is not true and attempts to gain confirmation of Dobbs’ attendance at Stanford were repeatedly denied by an official at the university. However, we never asked for a transcript, specifically, just some proof of his certificate. The next day, during the June 19 meeting to approve Dobbs’ contract, Taylor openly said he had spoken to Dobbs and that he had released the documents to him to be forwarded to us. In the meantime, none of the other board members, excluding Dr. Luis Reynoso seemed interested in the matter whatsoever.

Curiously, Dobbs’ decision to pull out of consideration appears to have given him leverage in subsequent contract negotiations. In the potentially illegal special closed session, both Taylor and Brunner advocated for a vastly more lucrative contract for Dobbs. Separately they pushed for a one-year contract in excess of between $230,000 and $240,000. Such a princely sum is equal to and beyond the contract given to Evans just 18 months ago. However, Evans’s resume far exceeded that of Dobbs, who has spent all of his career in education. Nevertheless, the board would approve a contract of $229,500 for Dobbs along with $7,500 in moving expenses from San Diego. Keep in mind, Dobbs only left the Hayward School District last November.

Although Dobbs’ stay at Stanford was finally confirmed nearly 10 days after repeated attempts to speak to him, a laundry list of questions still persist. Why the immense obfuscation culminating in Dobbs’ sudden, but brief, bailing from consideration? Why did the school board disregard a host of questions about Dobbs concerning his reasons for abruptly leaving the school district six months ago and why does he want to return? And for a school district long downtrodden by low performing students, why was there never any discussion about what this candidate would do to improve work in the classroom? Instead, he was generally praised for having a good working relationship with the business community and championed by the president of teachers’ union despite inflammatory anti-union comments made by Dobbs in February to a San Diego news site. On the same night his contract was approved, Dobbs' business acumen during his short time at the school district's business department was destroyed when it was revealed it is again broke.

In addition, a potentially illegal special meeting commenced featuring Taylor tiptoeing the bounds of public ethics by possibly maintaining contact with the candidate while pushing for an exorbitant public contract. "What was the rush?" said board member Reynoso. Was Dobbs’ appointment pre-ordained by the same cabal of business leaders that have longed sucked blood out of public finance in Hayward? In this case, despite Dobbs’ trepidation in taking the job, apparently, they just wouldn’t take no for an answer.


Thanks for the article. Too bad nobody really cares about the truth, ethics or professional conduct in this town. We have a board that is: beyond dumb, believes the law doesn't apply to them, treats dissenters rudely, doesn't appear to care about children, Kow-tows to the political machine in the city and county, is led by a president that doesn't hesitate to turn his back on and speak harshly to those who were his biggest supporters before he was elected.

There some out there who complain about Dr. Reynoso's political affiliation...well I would rather have him at the helm of the board than the tricksters that are there now.

Does anyone care about the children in Hayward schools? When will the children come first? Not in the last two, no three, decades... Lip service...parents and guardians get lip service from the school board and district administrators. Dr. Reynoso gets it but he is only one vote!

Fascinating. You're right, nobody ever mentioned the kids when talking up Dobbs. Telling, don't you think?

It's called what deal can I work with Dobbs and the BOE that will line my pockets and theirs? The developers, "hand picked" contractors, and favored consultants will flourish under this leadership. Kids? Who cares? Certainly not this group of sub-humans!

Jesus Armas where arrrrrre yoooou? Come out and show your face and your ears.

Yes, and after they line their own pockets and those of their friends, they will come back to the taxpayers and ask for more money. For the kids.

No one cares about the kids of Hayward. :(

I will never never vote to give Hayward schools any more of my hard earned cash. I work hard. The superintendent is over-paid. The school board does not care about the children. I am done giving HUSD any more of my money to support education because they do have the best interests of the students in first priority. I am done. Get it? I am done!

We all need to thank John Taylor for bringing Dobbs back and for keeping in contact with Dobbs while negotiating his contract. For shame on you John Taylor either you are very dumb or crooked or both. Let's not forget Lisa Brunner another crooked or dumb trustee for calling an illegal special meeting to talk about money.

You all people crazy here you need to be checked out by the FBI to find out who you all are and this crazy news site needs to be checked out too. Making all these lies and acusations against people that work for the kids. is a thank less job school board does to be acuses so many lies. Mr. John Taylor and Lisa Bruinner are all good smart people working for the kids.

This person @11:16 writes like John Taylor speaks! While he may be a fantastic teacher at the ROP site, his grammar is atrocious when he takes the mike at board meetings.

11:16 John Dumb Crooked Taylor and Lisa Dumb Crooked Brunner are supported by the BEAST. Yes, I hope the FBI comes knocking on their door for already breaking so many laws against the public trust. Mayor Sweeney was right when he said after the school board election you can continue to get terrible school boards. In Sweeney's words.."We have been burned before"

Who is the beast that you claim support John Taylor and Lisa Bruner

Why didn't the president William MCGee of the HUSD board tried to stop all of this illegal activities if he claims it was all illegal?

McGee is part of the problem. He is beholden to the people who gave him money during his campaign 4 yrs ago and the same people will be the ones he goes to for his re-election...the politicos of Hayward, HEA (the teacher's union), the developers looking for land opportunities, the Chamber of Commerce, contractors who get work from HUSD, groups with their own agendas; those are who make Mr. William McGee's decisions. He, like many others sold his sole to be elected and to be re-elected. He ignores his gut instincts, his morality, his ethics to keep the money flowing.

Now if you ask him, he will say for '$400.00 a month I must be in this for the kids cuz there sure isn't any money'. But when you are power hungry the money doesn't matter. When you want people to "court" you and your vote it makes you feel important. When you can control who is heard and who speaks to the community...it's powerful.

It also looks really good on a resume.

Channel 15 really showed a school board in bad form. Mr. McGee sure knows how to be obnoxious and rude. It is difficult to believe he is the president of the board, I saw the only one there in that circus school board with any balls and brains is Dr. Reynoso. He asked the right tough, tough questions. Why is he not the president of the board? Something is not right there. Dr. Reynoso is right "What is the rush?"

Just maybe it is all true beyond rumors and that this Hayward area is full of corruption with people and labor unions making and paying favors with school boards and city councils.

I home school my kids for the reason of schools being so horrible in Hayward. I can hardly wait for my husband to get his transfer out of here. I am out of this hole. This Hayward board needs to be shutdown and taken over by the state.

Glad you watched the meeting. If you ask Mr. McGee how he would rate his behavior he would tell you that it was professional and suitable for the President of the Board of Education. He is quite clearly a spoiled brat who, with the power of his office, enjoys being a bully! The other three in the majority also believe that bully behavior is acceptable if someone dissents and questions their actions. They make for excellent role models for the children of Hayward, don't they!

@11:39 John Dumb Crooked Taylor is bulls eye. I too watched that meeting after following the sup story on EBcitizen. Lisa Brunner is just as dumb or dumber and more crooked. Yes, William McGee should have cleaned everything up so he must be a crook too. Anette Walker must be a crook too for just giving lip service that she does the right thing. All these jokers use the phrase "It is all for the kids" What a laugh.

You all racist here the FBI needs to find your ip number to see who you are making lies on lies.

Racist because the messages criticize people that happen to be African American? hmmm
I wonder who really is racist.

The making of questionable decisions that seem like corruption by a HUSD trustee board need to be examined by the community.

The race has nothing to do with it unless you are racist 8:40. SO what if the majority is African Amaerican, crooks come in all colors and religions.

Amen to 10:08pm. Dumb people can be any color including black. We need to expel that HUSD school board and send them to a disciplinary school.

Rachel Jeantel, what are you doing posting on the East Bay Citizen?

It is not Rachel. I think it is school board member John Taylor defending the hiring of Dobbs. He then accuses anyone that criticizes him as racist.

What happens if HUSD board goes on strike?

Oh no we might have good schools then.

Why wuld they go on strike? They run the show and they are liking what they are doing.

Dobbs is in. Had a lot of supt over the years. None have really excelled. Let's see what he can do along with the Board and staff to improve our schools. A lot of silliness and petty comments. You want better schools then join in and help make them better.

Please ask yourself . What have I done to help improve our schools. Hopefully you voted for the school bond measures. That was easy. Do you volunteer, offer any assistance to teachers, provide financial assistance, scholarships, money for school related child care, help with field trips, etc. Five new or substantially rehabilitated schools, and on and on. I want our schools to improve, I am willing to work and provide resources to make that happen. Things are not perfect, we have a long way to go, but negativism is not the answer. The hiring process is over, lets get on with it.

@7:48 I don't think you have been reading the hiring process to bring Dobbs in and his lack of performance. It was illegal from Brown act violations. You sound like someone that supports him or a contractor ready to make tons of money from the hiring of Dobbs.

Let's help now by hiring ONLY someone that really has a resume for leadership on education and does not have a record for failure and lies on resume. HUSD really dropped the ball on hiring Dobbs. Did HUSD forget Dobbs was a complete failure when he was here as the finance superintendent? Failure then failure now. Look what he did in San Diego!! Nothing! just like what he did here a few months ago in HUSD, Nothing!! Only problems on his rudeness and inadequacies.

Many of us have given a good deal of time, effort and support to the students and teachers of HUSD. In doing that we have earned the right to criticize actions taken by the board; we have, as voters and citizens, earned the right to expect the board to follow the law, respect dissenters, put student success first. Fancy new schools do not produce successful learners. I live in the glass house and I will throw the first stone!

Sounds like a lot of skeletons in the closet behind closed doors are running HUSD, a lot of political influence from former city council members and this has been going on for years, Bozos that have financial ties in the real estate and local business. It seems that the biggest interest is high density housing and and big box schools, along with big box stores and screw the small local business man.

Yes, let the slum lords build more high density housing and make them section 8 so they can rake in more tax payers money to insure that their investment will totally subsidized by the working class struggling to own their own home.

@8:45 The illegal process is over??

So if I rob a bank or cheat people, and unless I get caught then that is over and we can move on? Nope, now it is time to be reported to the police and get jail time. HUSD board needs to pay for violating the brown act.

Hiring process might be over but the corruption continues. And for the next round of a bond or parcel tax Rick Hart here comes 50K again and Brian Schott from AdMail here comes another 100K, good job guys on getting Dobbs back. Yep lets move on so they say.

Who in the hell is Rick Hart and Brian Schott? What is their role here and what do they really stand to gain? Their names are mentioned often in Hayward.

Rick Hart, Billy Martin, Bret Swenson, Kathryn Benson, Joe Quintana, Jesus Armas, Personnel Commision, Jose Lopez, Mark Salinas, Pat Hodges, Lisa Glover, all in it for the monetary gain!

Has anyone else noticed the school principals have remained eerily silent? Some leave quietly so the district can bring in robots who will do whatever it takes to keep their$100,000 up to and including breaking the law?

The people mentioned above, Mr. Hart and Mr. Schott are businessmen in the community. They are tied to every elected official, except Dr. Reynoso, in one way or another. They both were contracted for services for the bond. They both have contributed to the elections of one or more of the current and past boards of education. They are both members in good standing in the Chamber of Commerce, and the Rotary. Mr. Schott probably provided printing services for one or more of the board during campaigns. It is known as "you wash my back and I'll wash yours". The board of education is supposed to be a non-partisan election and position, however, we all know it isn't when it comes to the political machine in Hayward. Like it or not, Dr. Reynoso is the only one on this current and past board that did not curry the favor of Mr. Schott or Mr. Hart or any of the other movers and shakers in this town. Like it or not, he did not want to be beholden to anyone for favors; and for that he is vilified every time he opens his mouth to speak for children. So there you have it....the messenger is attacked by the pack that want to feed off of the spoils of politics...Children!!!

BTW, you figure why they were contacted for services for the bond and for the parcel tax? You figure out why there seemed to be no other printing or mailing business that was deemed to be the best for these two ballot issues. You figure out why they want Mr. Dobbs and the majority of the board to do what they will be doing. If you really care, the only conclusion you can draw is that they stand to gain financially in this town from HUSD. Ask if either of them currently have students in HUSD. Ask if they believe that the students in HUSD are succeeding? Ask if there was no financial gain for them if they would come and speak to the board of education?

Odd comments. We have an elected board and yes comments, concerns expressed are appropriate. The only economic benefit many of us get is knowing that our children will be prepared to make a positive contribution to our community. That makes it all worthwhile.

Have read all comments to-date. We have an elected board.

11:01 there is no nice way to say this... What the hell are you smoking! Have you seen the test scores, graduation rates, dropout rates and the lack of public education credentials at the district? Worthwhile indeed.

Never been a smoker and yes I very aware of all test scores, dropout rates and credentials. What positive solutions are you suggesting to improve the situation? Do hope that throwing in the towel is not at the top of your list. Resident for many, many years.

The only homes affordable to working class people in this area are multi- family units, not single family.

New schools are a great step in the right direction.

12:11 no I'm not throwing in the towel, I'm willing and qualified to do whatever I can to help the children, however that does not seem to be the focus of the people in charge. Since there are so many gatekeepers who are afraid to hire qualified educational leaders, I'll keep working with the district I'm with even though I live in Hayward.

Maybe we should hire Rick Hart or Brian Schott for superintendent after Dobbs contracts expire. I think they have the same qualifications as Dobbs and the board likes them.

We need to give Stan Dobbs a Nobel Prize for doing __________________________________________
_________________(please fill in the blank)

How sad that someone has to resort to calling dissenters racist. Perhaps it is because they cannot defend the actions of this rogue board of education. That is usually the case when someone becomes a name caller. Divert the attention to the real problem by calling people racist!

In response to Steven's tweet about HUSD and the FBI. I believe it was John Taylor who claimed to have connections with the FBI. Maybe that is him posting.

Dr. Duran was an excellent Supt. to bad there are no clones. Understand that scores are up in some schools and more parents who would otherwise sneak into CV or send kids to private schools are giving HUSD a try.

Dr Duran was self-serving! A puppet for the Sheila Jordan, Alameda County Superintendent of Schools. they are both more thieves that take from the children instead of educating our children.

Janis Duran is not Dr Duran! She was a thieving opportunist! Who took advantage of the district when Armas brought her back in so he could continue his dirty work. She is the one who couched contracts for her friends and her company inside large board packets that didn't need to be read just approved.

The tenor of this blog to attack African Americans in leadership is duly noted.

You all racist and the FBI will coming after you. Dr. Donald Evans and Dr. Stan Dobbs are great leaders who continue to do a great job. You racist bitches.

I am Black, other Black leaders don't get a pass from me simply because they are Black. I also do not consider someone a racist for questioning and challenging leaders, Black or otherwise.

@10:49 perhaps you are the racist in this blog

Well it has been accomplished! Bring up racism and for sure there will be no more focus on the fact that Mr. Dobbs may not be the best person to help children in Hayward succeed; especially since he has NO experience or credential in educational matters.

They must find these candidates from a hiring cesspool.

No you are not Bkack. Saw you just the other day at the mall. Nope, no way.

If you are black and you do not think this is racist then you must be an uncle tom

OMG! Enough already with the racist stuff. Every time anyone responds with racist bs it takes away from the real problem! What about the students in HUSD schools?

Alls I can say is that if you are gainst Stan Dobbs then you are gainst Obama is that simple.

Obama like Dobbs is crappy too both cannot prove they have credentials

OMG! Again I say enough with the racial bs. How anyone can compare the President of the United States with Stan Dobbs is really reaching! It is stupid and defies reason.

Tavares check out the mob/mafia called Leadership Associates a company that puts their people in several districts as superintendents. After Leadership Associates gets in, the rest of the board of LA gets hired as consultants with lucrative contracts. This is Janis Durans company.

Poster @10:57, you are correct, Ms. Duran does have a connection with Leadership Associates, and I am sure that she benefits financially from it.

What's done is done...at least for the interim contract period. Time to give Stan "the data-less" man his opportunity and hope for the best. Maybe he'll surprise us all!!

No one gives a damn about the students in HUSD. WHy does the community put up with all of this? Are we doomed? It seems it gets worse year after year. Now HUSD has hired a non experienced person with an experienced salary at the helm. What were these people thinking? Has corruption gone so bad in HUSD now? Where do we follow the money this time? Who is going to benefit with lots of money and no bid contracts in this round? This is what happens when you have more inadequate people in jobs they do not deserve.

Correction 11:03 lots of parents teachers and administrators give more than a damn about the students of Haywards. The problem is the ones in positions to hire, fire, and harass are working overtime to make sure people who care about educating children will never get jobs. Dobbs never a teacher, Wu Fernandez can't spell teacher much less teach children, Benson and the entire personnel Commision into politics not education.

1:47pm...you are so right. Those who care about children and employees in HUSD will never be elected to the board of education. They will never have a voice in who leads this district. At this point it probably is a shame that the state didn't take over HUSD and clean house.

6:42am: in case you didn't know this joker has a 1 year interim contract. A whole lot can go wrong in a year.

Commission members all educators. Before or current.

Let me see what can I say....Idiot school board... idiot superintendent...idiot teachers union... idiot community...idiot contractors... idiot special interests... idiot mayor idiot city council...what do you expect?

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