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Message From MDUSD Superintendent
Posted 8/23/19

Welcome to the 2019-2020 School Year for the Mt. Diablo Unified School District!


I am thrilled and excited to have been named the Superintendent of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD), and have had a fantastic transition into the District over this past week. I was fortunate to have been able to join out-going Interim Superintendent, Roger Bylund, on the first day of school as we visited schools, met some students, families, and employees. I have been so graciously welcomed by everyone during this time.


The first few days of school are always an amazing opportunity for renewal, new beginnings, and re-engaging with students. We were able to see so many smiling faces that we couldn’t help but smile as well. During these important first few days, our incredible teachers and support staff were making connections with students and their families, building relationships with children and each other and setting a tone for the successful year ahead.


A Little About Me


As you may have heard, I worked in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District for over thirty- two years prior to coming to MDUSD. In that time span, I held positions as the District’s Lead School Psychologist, Assistant Principal, Principal, Director of Human Resources, and as the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources. During this time, I strived to keep the best interest of Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District students first and foremost in my mind, and I will continue that approach as the Superintendent of MDUSD. I have focused on resilience development for a number of years, and have worked to extend the skills of everyone in understanding how resilience development can assist each person with overcoming any adversity that is placed in their path.

My wife, Nancy, and I have raised our four boys, age’s 18, 19, 26, and 29, in Benicia, CA, where we have lived for twenty-five years. She is a fifth grade teacher, and we have had many a night discussing education, instruction, school systems, and the importance that one person can make on the success of a child. I truly believe that the delivery of an equitable, exceptional education can be a significant mitigating force for the success of each child.


Our Work Together


The work that everyone in MDUSD is focusing on: keeping and maintaining safe school environments; teaching and instructing at the highest levels possible; and building and growing positive relationships with our students, their families, and with each other, is of paramount importance as we seek to assist each child in our District to reach their highest peak of success possible. I believe that when the adults of a community are demonstrating a passionate resolve to work together on behalf of our children, we can move mountains for them, expand opportunities for each child, and provide a peaceful place where each of them can develop towards the futures they deserve.


I do believe that:


#TogetherWeGow #TogetherWeLearn and #TogetherWeLead And that no matter what your role in our educational system you can always #LeadWithResilience in your heart, mind, spirit and actions


Challenges Ahead


The MDUSD Governing Board had to make some difficult, yet timely, budget decisions as they were concluding the 2018-2019 school year given the budget issues at that time. Further, as is their responsibility, they worked to approve the 2019-2020 District budget, which, again, called for needed budget reductions. The Governing Board also took great care to keep budget reductions from directly impacting services to students as they were planning for the 2019-2020 school year. As District expenses continue to rise, and as funding levels from the state have now stabilized with no significant increases pending, MDUSD will need to remain highly vigilant on managing our finite resources with the success of all of our children squarely as our focus.


I and the Governing Board, value the work of our teachers and all of our other employees as they are the broad foundation which directly serves our students. I also believe that our teachers and all employees deserve fair and competitive salaries, but we must work within the realities of our budget on behalf of our students as we make decisions regarding increases to compensation for our employees.


I understand that negotiations with our teachers’ union recently reached the formal level of “Impasse” prior to me coming on aboard. This means that while no settlement agreement has been reached yet, both the District and the Teachers Association have committed to work with a mediator, provided by the state, to continue the negotiation process and to work to see if we can find some common ground on which to base a settlement.


Reaching a settlement with our Teachers Association and with our additional employee representative groups is one of my top priorities. I will work with our Governing Board and our District negotiations team to focus on a timely and thoughtful settlement agreement that supports our teachers and provides a safe and stable learning environment for our students.


I am a communicator, a great listener, and I want to build a bridge of trust with our union leaders and all employees, so that we can keep our attention on the topic we are all most committed to: our students.


Thank You


I thank the Governing Board for the trust they have placed in me to lead MDUSD, an amazing District. I don’t’ take it lightly that each day, each parent sends to school their most cherished people in the world, their children, and that it is our collective duty and responsibility to care for each of them as our own.


Here’s to an amazing school year, opportunities that abound for all, and to the growth that each of our children will make as we advance through this year together.


Events in my Calendar this week:


August 15: School visits with Interim-Superintendent Bylund: Delta View Elementary School, Shore Acres Elementary, Meadow Homes Elementary, Mt. Diablo High School, Foothill Middle School.


August 16: Met with Interim-Superintendent Bylund. Met with Michael Jimenez, Assistant Superintendent, Secondary; Jose Espinoza, Assistant Superintendent, Elementary; and with Deb Cooksey, out-going District General Counsel.


August 19: Met with Joanne Durkee, Governing Board President for Governing Board Agenda Planning. Met with many Central Office employees.


August 20: Met with District Larry Schoenke, General Counsel. Held Cabinet Agenda Planning Review Meeting. Held Executive Cabinet Meeting.


August 21: School visit to Monte Gardens Elementary. Met individually with: Lisa Murphy- Oates, Executive Director Human Resources; Michael Jimenez, Assistant Superintendent, Secondary; Jose Espinosa, Assistant Superintendent, Elementary; Rose Ramos, Chief Business Officer; and, Stephanie Roberts, Director of Special Projects. Met with Anita Johnson, President, Mt. Diablo Education Association (MDEA) and Mark York, Executive Director MDEA. Attended the Parent Education Event on “Vaping” at Northgate High School.


August 22: Met with Wendi Aghily, Executive Director of Special Education; Felicia Stuckey- Smith, Director of Student Services; and, Jennifer Sachs, Executive Director of Instructional Support.


August 23: Met with an Assistant Principal Candidate. Met with Governing Board Member Lawrence. Attended the Graduation for CTE Surgical Technicians.


Here is a challenge that I am putting out there to everyone this school year.

challenges for school year

And it looks like we have some students who have already accepted this challenge to #LeadWithResilience




Thanks to Holbrook Elementary for sharing these photos with us via @Twitter

connecting with Shore Acres


Robert A. Martinez, Ed.D.

MDUSD Superintendent

August 23, 2019