Craig Mann, the trustee of the Santa Clara County Board of Education who curtly told Los Altos parents he was disinterested in being a "referee" for the one percent, is leaving the board to become a middle school teacher in one of the county's school districts.
The county Office of Education announced Tuesday that he had submitted his resignation, effective immediately, since he cannot serve as a trustee for the county board at the same time. The office did not identify the school district where Mann will work.
Mann filed nomination papers to run for a seat on the San Jose-Evergreen Community College, which is now a four-way race between incumbent Richard K. Tanaka, and challengers Leo Cortez, Roberto J. Sepulveda and Mann.
Mann's response was to a parent who had asked for the county Board of Education to meet with district parents and look at the Memorandum of Understanding more critically, addressing obligations to English Language learners in the district, geographical preferences, BCS school board elections, appointing a member of the county board to the BCS board, and encouraging multi-year facilities agreements to reduce annual anxiety among parents inside and outside of BCS.
"We have bigger problems to solve than referee a fight between the 1%'ers of our county (community) and I'm not wasting another nanosecond on said dysfunction," wrote Trustee Craig Mann of Area 6, which then comprised the Evergreen, Franklin-McKinley, Oak Grove, and corresponding sections of East Side Union High School districts.
"...this board member will not waste any time building bridges between adults of a microcommunity (1%) that are at odds," Mann wrote.
Later that spring, Mann further ruffled feathers when he characterized the concerns in written comments to the board as "manufactured rage."
According to the county Office of Eduction, Mann first was elected to the board in 2006; served as board president in 2009; and was reelected in 2010. Superintendent of Schools Xavier De La Torre singled out Mann's work in leading the purchase of a school site for an innovative Alternative Education program; championing the expansion of public school choice by supporting the approval of 30-plus charter schools; and helping to refocus leadership “on the right goals,” according to a news release on Tuesday.
Mann's career with schools began when he was first appointed, and later elected, to a seat on the board of trustees of the East Side Union High School District, where he served from 1998 to 2006, and as the board’s president in 2001, according to the office of education.
He lists his contributions there as having led the building of the Evergreen Valley High School; two major bond initiatives totaling approximately $400 million; and the negotiation of a model project labor agreement with the Santa Clara and San Benito Building Construction Trades Council, creating apprenticeships, internships and a Construction Technology Academy for East Side Union High School District students.
“One reason I was drawn to the opportunity in the Santa Clara County Office of Education,” said De La Torre, “was because of the bold tone promoted by the Board of Education aimed at the elimination of the achievement gap. Trustee Mann certainly personified an unrelenting and uncompromising focus on improved student achievement and equity for students of color who have not historically performed well in our public school system.”
Board President Joseph Di Salvo said in a prepared statement that Mann “has tried to do good work on behalf of the children of Santa Clara County, and he will continue to do so in his new role. When I think of him, I think of the Harry Truman quote he uses in his e-mail signature: ‘I don't give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it's Hell.’
“That is the Craig Mann I know.”
The County Board of Education will make an appointment to fill the unexpired portion of Mann’s term, which runs through November 2014. After discussion, the board will announce its process and timeline for the appointment.
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