Nearly three dozen current and retired teachers have sent out a letter of no confidence in Salem-Keizer Public Schools Superintendent Andrea Castañeda, saying she has alienated educators and the community.
A total of 35 current and retired educators from 12 schools and programs in the district sent the letter out to express concern over Castañeda’s actions and approach since taking the position at the beginning of July. The letter states that Castañeda has shown “a lack of comprehension and empathy towards educators and community members she is meant to serve.”
As a result, the educators feel the relationship between educator and district has split to a degree it can not be fixed.
“If we were to act like our Superintendent, entering the classroom with pre-conceived notions and judgments about a student we had never met, it would immediately jeopardize the potential for success and growth in that student,” the letter states.
The group wants the school board and authorities to address the issues that they feel have arisen since Castañeda’s arrival.
A copy of the letter can be found below:
To whom it may concern,
We are 35 current and retired teachers and staff from twelve schools and programs in the Salem/Keizer School District. We are writing to express our deep concern and disappointment regarding the actions and approach taken by our new Superintendent, Andrea Castañeda.
From the start, Superintendent Castañeda has displayed a lack of comprehension and empathy towards the educators and community members she is meant to serve. Her immediate alienation of these crucial stakeholders has created a rift that we believe has grown too vast to be mended. As educators, we understand the importance of building trust and rapport with our students from the very first moment of them walking into our rooms. If we were to act like our Superintendent, entering the classroom with pre-conceived notions and judgments about a student we had never met, it would immediately jeopardize the potential for success and growth in that student.
Similarly, as the leader of our educational community, Superintendent Castañeda has lost a foundational moment to build trust and establish a positive connection with both educators and community members by engaging in misleading public relations messages and employing intimidation tactics to circumvent established systems. Her approach has divided many, and it is concerning that she seems focused on exacerbating the long-lasting impact this could have on our district by continuing to try and drive a wedge between us and the community we serve through the media. Rather than fostering open lines of communication and collaborating with experienced professionals, Superintendent Castañeda has chosen to exert pressure in an attempt to impose compliance. Trust, once lost, is incredibly hard to rebuild, and it is paramount for any leader of an educational organization to understand and prioritize this. Andrea Castañeda does not.
The size of the Salem-Keizer School District necessitates a leader who is equipped to handle the complexities and challenges that come with such a responsibility—a leader who understands the importance of building relationships, listening to the concerns of educators and community members, and working collaboratively to address these issues.
We urge the Salem/Keizer school board, and relevant authorities to seriously consider the implications of Superintendent Castañeda’s actions and approach, and to take the necessary steps to address these issues. Our students, educators, and community deserve a leader who understands the importance of building trust and fostering positive relationships, and who is equipped to lead our district towards a bright and successful future.
Omar Montes Alvarez
Roxana Gonzalez Soliz