On Friday, April 26, School Board members, teachers and staff, administrators, and community members conducted a formal site visit to Hayward Unified School District to learn about Dr. Donald Evans and his impact in Hayward. The Berkeley School Board had previously announced that Dr. Evans is the top candidate for Berkeley’s open superintendent position.
“We wanted to see for ourselves what Dr. Evans was able to do in Hayward,” said Board President Karen Hemphill. “While his references were glowing and we believe that he would make a great superintendent, we needed to do our due diligence to ensure that Dr. Evans is the right fit for Berkeley. After seeing and hearing about his positive impact in Hayward, we are confident that we’ve found the best person for Berkeley.”
During the site visit, the Berkeley delegation met with Dr. Evans to hear about his experience and his vision for Berkeley. The delegation also divided into several groups to conduct further interviews with the candidate, and met with Hayward school board members, administrative staff, teachers, union leaders and community members. The all-day event also included visits to an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school.
“I was very impressed with Dr. Evans and his experience in Hayward, Compton, and Oakland,” said PTA Council President Tom Killilea. “Prior to the visit on Friday, I reached out to Hayward community members through PTA contacts and got a very positive response to my questions about him. The visit on Friday reinforced those messages.”
On Monday, April 29, the School Board held a special closed session meeting with the attendees to hear their perspective and get feedback from the site visit. Laura Babitt, a parent of two BUSD students and a member of Parents of Children of African Descent (PCAD), attended the site visit and participated in the debriefing. “I was most impressed with Dr. Evans’ focus on curriculum and professional development geared towards meeting the unique needs of all students,” said Babitt. “The principals, parent/community members, and the Cal State East Bay Representative we met told us of his collaborative approach. He has been successful in combining the efforts of various organizations to work together to meet common goals, and I am excited to have this type of leadership come to Berkeley.”
Interim Co-Superintendent Neil Smith noted “It was apparent that Dr. Evans has developed positive relationships with the District’s instructional leaders and community partners and has worked effectively with them to establish a strong vision of rigor, responsibility and results for Hayward. He is a very good match for Berkeley.”
After the debriefing, the School Board unanimously voted to move forward with Dr. Evans’s candidacy and enter into contract negotiations. The Board then created a two-person subcommittee to conduct the contract negotiations, then to submit a proposed contract for consideration to the full Board. If approved, Dr. Evans would be expected to begin work on July 1, 2013.