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November 30, 2020
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Dr. Mayra Perez new CRPUSD superintendent

By: Cassandra May Albaugh
April 10, 2020

The Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District held their regular school board meeting Mar. 31 at 6  p.m. in the Mountain Shadows Educational Center at 7165 Burton Ave. With chairs spaced six feet apart, practicing social distancing, only 10 people could attend in person. Others either teleconferenced into the meeting or watched on the You Tube live stream. The primary agenda item at this meeting was to introduce and approve Dr. Mayra Perez as the District’s Superintendent commencing July 1. She will take over from Interim Superintendent Watenpaugh at that time. However, Watenpaugh will stay on to assist in the transition efforts until his contract expires on Nov 1.

Others in attendance besides Watenpaugh and Perez were Board President Brown, Trustee Cimino, Mindy McKeon, the Executive Secretary to the Superintendent who takes minutes for the board, Dr. Steven Goldstone the Labor Negotiator for the board, three district staff required for the live streaming and teleconferencing set-up and operation; and myself. Trustees Nonn, Gillies, and Wiltermood attended by phone.

Perez’s contract was summarized in open session by Brown. Her term of hire will be July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2023 subject to renewal. Her monthly salary will be $230,000. She’ll be eligible for other health and welfare benefits equivalent to other certificated employees. She’ll have standard allowances for use of her personal vehicle and phone for business purposes. Her work year will be 220 days and she’ll earn 20 vacation days per year. Finally, her membership dues will be paid by the district for the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). Wiltermood requested her contract be posted on the school district’s website. After discussion Gillies moved to approve Dr. Perez’s employment contract. It was seconded by Cimino. It was approved on a vote of 4-0 with Wiltermood abstaining. Wiltermood did not respond to my request for clarification of her vote before I had to turn in this article.

Perez comes to the school district from San Rafael City Schools where she was Deputy Superintendent of Instruction, Innovation and Social Justice since July 2016. She oversaw their goals of ensuring equitable and high academic outcomes for all students, enhancing systems and structures to support the instructional needs of their school sites. She also directed the English Learner (EL) programs and the development of their Local Control and Accountability Program (LCAP). She has over 20 years of experience to include being a teacher, Title I specialist, assistant principal, principal and program administrator. She earned her BA at UCLA in psychology, her MA in educational administration and her PhD in Education from USC. She in bilingual/biliterate in Spanish and English.

Perez was warmly welcomed to the district by Brown, Gillies, Nonn and Cimino. They all said in different ways that they look forward to working with her as she guides the district forward. Brown also said he was glad the long process of searching for our new superintendent was over. He was delighted, enthused and excited about Perez helping the district increase parent participation. Perez told me as well, that she looked forward to that task. She’s done that in her previous positions, and one of the reasons she was so interested in this position and our district was the growing Latino population in our community. Given her ethnic background, which is a combination of Panamanian and Puerto Rican, combined with her experience, she believes she can effectively outreach to the entire community as well as the Latino population in Cotati and Rohnert Park.

Anti-climactic to the hiring and introduction of Perez, the board approved by a vote of 5-0, waving the Community Service Requirement for the graduating class this year. Given the sheltering in place and school closure orders they reasonably presumed it would be difficult for seniors to fulfill that requirement. They also approved by a vote of 5-0 renewal of the contract with Chavan & Associates, LLC to provide audit services through Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2020. The meeting adjourned and lasted a total of 12 minutes. After the meeting, McKeon everyone there will not be a regular board meeting on Apr 7. The next meeting will be April 21. It will be a virtual meeting.