In what may have been its least surprising action of the past several years, the Clayton Valley Charter High School governing board this week announced that the contract of Executive Director Jim Scheible has been extended two years through June 2022.
Scheible began at the Concord public charter high school in August 2018 three months after the sudden departure of the school’s first executive director David Linzey.
Following the tumultuous final years of the Linzey tenure, Scheible’s success in the role was most apparent as he galzanized the once deeply fractured group of stakeholders to mount an effective campaign that culminated in the school receiving a five-year charter renewal last December by a narrow 3-2 vote of the Contra Costa County Office of Education trustees.
CVCHS board chairperson Kristy Downs said, “The Board appreciates and commends Jim for exceeding our expectations and always finding ways to serve students and improve the operational efficiency of our school. He is a strong collaborator committed to building positive relationships with all stakeholders through effective communication.
“Overall, the Board remains impressed with his passion for academic supports and the enthusiasm he brings leading our professional teaching staff and school community.” In unanimously approving the new contract, Downs and her fellow board members cited Scheible’s operational efficiency, academic supports and successful charter renewal.
CVCHS has over 2,200 students, operates on a $26 million annual budget and this June will graduate more than 550 students.
The Class of 2019 in Scheible’s inaugural year became the first group of seniors in the school’s history to have more students enroll at four-year colleges than two-year schools. Clayton Valley was opened by the Mt. Diablo Unified School District in the fall of 1958 and its first group of graduating seniors was in 1960.
“Every day our dedicated staff show up for work to make sure students have the best chance of succeeding,” said Scheible. “I am grateful for the Board’s confidence extending my contract and I look forward to working together to inspire, engage, educate and empower every student here at CVCHS.”
Linzey began in the summer of 2012 just months after a teacher-led conversion charter petition was unanimously approved by the county board of education. MDUSD had rejected the charter petition the previous November. A veteran charter school administrator, Linzey was initially very successful in leading the school to remarkable improvements in test scores, receiving national attention from Congress in Washington, DC.
A couple years into his term Linzey began having personnel issues with hold-over faculty and administrators that led to a damaging splintering both internally and in the greater CVCHS community, large turnover in staff, several lawsuits, budget controversies, audits and troubles with the CCCOE.
Scheible took over following Linzey’s termination and set about pulling together the disparate CVCHS segments. His success in that effort was apparent late last year at two public hearings on the charter renewal petition where hundreds of supporters—students, faculty, staff, parents and community members—came out in school colors to speak passionately to the school board in favor of the renewal.
During the charter renewal hearings, Scheible said CVCHS had the highest paid teachers in Contra Costa County in 2019-20.
Clayton Valley art teacher Jennifer Moore has been at the Concord school over 20 years. She says, “Jim Scheible has always been very ‘present’ on campus. I have witnessed his active interest in student achievement. Last year, he followed many students on a personal caseload. He would check their academic progress weekly, keeping kids at risk accountable.
“His dedication as a director is easy to get behind,” she continued. “I view him as first, student centered, second teacher supporting and third making sure CVCHS is a unique and high functioning school! He has put systems in place to make sure we as teachers can thrive during these crazy times.”
Scheible’s initial two-year contract, which concludes the end of June, called for a $175,000 salary for 225 days a year (compared to Linzey’s contract for 215 days). The new deal is $192,000, working 246 days annually.
Challenging 2019-20 School Year
Last summer, this 2019-20 school year appeared to be uniquely challenging as CVCHS sought its charter renewal, labor negotiations with teachers and staff needed to be concluded and the WASC re-accreditation process was scheduled.
Little could Scheible, principal Jeff Anderson and the staff envision that success in those endeavors would be overshadowed by the challenges of the final three months of the spring semester when the coronavirus pandemic shutdown the campus. Since Mar. 13, the new reality is virtual instruction of students, spring sports canceled almost before they started, weekday free food distribution to the community, no proms and no commencement exercise at the Concord Pavilion.
“Jim Scheible has done an excellent job at communicating and keeping the CV community informed during normal times and during the uncertainties of the pandemic,” Lauren Velez, mother of senior Rylie and incoming freshman Connor, told Pioneer student journalist Alexa Oldham.
Another parent, Chris McNevin said, “In the time that Mr. Scheible has been the director of CVCHS, he has provided clear and thorough communication with parents and the community. Following the uncertainty with regard to the exit of the previous director, he has brought a sense of stability to the CVCHS campus and community. He maintains high expectations for the students and faculty at CVCHS, challenging everyone to not accept mediocrity.
“He has provided guidance and direction for the culture of the campus during the charter renewal and, more recently, with the COVID-19 issues affecting educational practices at CVCHS,” McNevin, father of senior Ryan and sophomore Kaitlyn, told Oldham.