Jamie Calloway, President of the Albany school board, says goodbye to the community as she moves out of town and resigns from the board this week. Photo and article by Linjun Fan.
Jamie Calloway seldom expressed her feelings at board meetings in the past two years. But she was getting emotional when she made an announcement last Tuesday. She said she was going to get married and move out of Albany with her new family, thus she could not continue her service on the board.
“It brings me a lot of sadness to say that, ” she said.
Calloway was elected to the Board of Education of Albany Unified School District in 2006, and served as its president since last December. She has been an active parent in the schools since her son was enrolled in Ocean View Elementary six years ago.
Fellow boardmembers said they felt happy for Calloway to start a new chapter in her life, but sad at her leaving Albany. Several members from the community also expressed their appreciation for her work on the board.
“It was a pleasure to have worked with you, ” said Charlie Blanchard, former president of the Board. “We benefited a lot from the perspective you provided. “
“She was never afraid to vote for what she believed in, even if she was (casting) the only vote, ” said John Kindle, a parent who worked with Calloway at Oceanview PTA.
One of the most controversial votes Calloway casted was a yes on increasing school time for K-3 children last month. A considerable number of people in the community, including many teachers, are against the board decision.
Calloway said she believed it to be a right decision, and she wished the school schedule could be further changed.
“Actually my biggest goal is to have common arrival and dismissal. I didn’t get that, ” she said.
The three elementary schools in Albany have staggered school schedules for K-3 children currently, which has been fiercely debated in the community since more than a year ago. The Board voted 3-2 to keep the staggered schedules but to increase school time last month.
Calloway has a long wishing list for the school district despite of her leaving.
“I wish we still have the seventh period at the high school. We continue to have high quality teachers. We could reduce the achievement gaps… The list could go on and on, ” she said.
Several dozen teachers in the district would be laid off and the seventh period at the Albany High School might be cut due to budget shrinkage in the new school year.
The Albany school district is also faced with a tough achievement gap problem. The district has recently received a warning letter from the state for failing to meet its requirements on improving academic performance of several groups of minority students, according to Superintendent Marla Stephenson.
After hearing about the warning, the Board decided to discuss specific measures to tackle the problem in the near future.
“If we don’t make hard decisions ourselves, somebody else will make the decisions for us, which will not be as elegant and sensitive as we wish them to be, ” said Boardmember David Glasser.
Glasser was elected as the new president of the Board to replace Calloway, and Boardmember Rosenbaum was elected vice president at Tuesday’s meeting.
The school district is now looking for a member from the the community to fill in the void on the Board after Calloway’s resignation. Eligible residents of Albany are asked to submit an application to the district and to be interviewed by the Board in early April. The candidate who gets the majority votes from existing boardmembers will be elected to the Board.
Click here to read on page 9 more details on the election process.
Photo and article by Linjun Fan.