Dublin teachers dismayed after superintendent abruptly resigns

Bay Area

DUBLIN, Calif. (KRON) — The abrupt resignation of the Dublin schools superintendent has some parents and teachers reeling with dismay and placing blame on three school board members.

Dublin Unified School District Superintendent Dave Marken announced Tuesday that he was resigning, effectively immediately, during a livestreamed school board meeting.

Marken said, “I am sorry that I wasn’t able to finish everything I believed needed to be done. I want to apologize to our dedicated teachers, staff and administration. Most of all I want to apologize to the students and families in Dublin. I truly hope someone else can somehow, some way, get it done. But that person will not be me.”

Marken left the livestream after delivering his unexpected announcement, however, tension continued between board members as the meeting continued without him.

Trustee Amy Miller said she felt embarrassed to “be a part of this board.” “I’m just really sad tonight and concerned about what the future of DUSD looks like,” she said.

Teachers wrote dozens of emails to KRON4’s newsroom expressing dismay over the superintendent’s departure.

Marken is well-known in the district from his years serving as principal and vice principal of Dublin High School. His exit adds to an already-high turnover in leadership plaguing the district.

Marken signed up as superintendent one year ago because he was asked by the board to return from retirement to serve as the district’s top educator. He replaced Leslie Boozer, who also abruptly left the post last year.

Elementary school teacher Nandini Nulman wrote in a letter to the board, “When Dr. Boozer was (superintendent) … it felt dark. There was no communication, no growth. It wasn’t a very comforting place to be. (Marken) made informed decisions, backed up by research and the opinions of all of us stakeholders.”

Marken’s supporters are blaming three board members for his decision to leave: Gabi Blackman, Dan Cherrier, and Catherine Kuo.

Dave Marken / DUSD

Nulman said, “Trustees Blackman, Cherrier and Kuo: You should be ashamed of yourselves. You’ve held back important decisions for our district at a time when leadership and collaborative teamwork are most needed. What has it cost us? A leader who has righted our ship, and navigated us through unprecedented stormy seas of wildfire-caused shutdowns, student tragedies, and a global pandemic.”

Middle school teacher Andrea Bloom has been teaching in Dublin for 25 years. She told KRON4 that Marken was one of the best superintendents the district has ever had. Bloom said teachers are frustrated because they feel as though Blackman, Cherrier and Kuo do not listen to their advice during board meetings.

The district is made up of 13 schools, nearly 13,000 students and more than 500 teachers.

Bloom wrote to the three trustees, “It has been very clear to me that you three ‘walk’ into board meetings with your minds already made up about many agenda items. You completely ignore the advice of the district staff on many issues. Our district will suffer from the departure of Dave Marken.”

Marken didn’t directly say why he was resigning Tuesday, but he talked about a lack of trust. “If you find yourself in a situation where your bosses don’t trust you, and you don’t trust your bosses, then you should no longer work for your bosses anymore,” he said.

KRON4 reached out to the three trustees for comment.

Kuo’s email return an auto-reply writing, “Thank you taking the time to send email with your thoughts. I apologize for the auto response but I am trying to manage the volume of emails I am getting. The resignation of Dr. Marken is an unexpected shock for many and has come at the worst time. I understand and am working through my own conflicted feelings about all of the difficulties of the last six months.”

Marken posted a farewell letter to the school district here.

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