Teacher Cate Sundling dispels “I Support CVCHS” Comment

Below you are going to see a comment I wrote on Tuesday, January 6th and asked someone to post for me on the “I Support CVCHS” Facebook page. I was unaware of the page until someone alerted me that I was being discussed on that site. I have recently left Clayton Valley and my decision to leave was being attributed to teachers pressuring me to oppose administration. That allegation was supported by Deanne Carlson, who implied she’d spoken directly with me about my decision to leave, a conversation that never occurred. That is when I wrote the response below. Please know that Deanne apologized on that thread almost immediately; however, while I appreciate the apology, I am concerned that, because there were so many posts (over 150) on the thread and because the thread was removed so soon after my comment – I believe within an hour – that there was not enough time for parents and other readers who may have seen the earlier comments to read my clarification. Hence the posting of yesterday’s response here.

I have no wish to add to the flames. I do not like, however, that teachers were blamed for pressuring me when that never happened. It was the PFC’s publishing of the ten points that was the final blow for me. Of course, it was not the only contributing factor, but it was the last. My health had taken all it could. I do not blame anyone for that. My health could not take the environment at school, and that’s just the way it goes. I appreciate that Mr. Linzey and the Board released me. I don’t think I’d have lasted much longer. And do be aware; many teachers who you may think are fine are not. Teachers are hurting, and too often the response is “then let them leave.” You should know that many of the teachers looking to leave are wonderful, well-respected teachers; they would be a loss to the school. And maybe for context I should let you know I believe I’d been an asset also. Nineteen year veteran. Teacher of the Year three times. Staff Member of the Year once. Recipient of the Ray Schultz Award. Department chair for three years. PFC teacher liaison for at least eight years. Site Council member for three years. Co-writer and sole administrator of the California Department of Education’s Public Charter School Grant Program’s $375,000 grant. WASC coordinator for the better part of fifteen years, including for this last 6-year accreditation status.

I am sad to think someone would think of me as a “dime a dozen.” I’ve worked so hard to be of service to my students and my school community. And because I am sad and not angry, I couldn’t last till the end of this battle. And because I don’t see an end in sight, I need to leave.

I pray this is the last you hear from me. I am profoundly sad about what is happening at what I am still thinking of as “my school.” I wish Clayton Valley nothing but the best.

Post by Deanne Carlson: “Cate Sundling left CV (she was one of the original teachers who wrote a letter against Mr. Linzey) because she realized her mistake and could not take the pressure from the other teachers when she tried to back out and wanted to work with Admin. She was a frazzled mess and decided she didn’t want to live with the pressure the teachers were piling onto her, so she left.”

Deanne’s Clarification: DID CATE ACTUALLY SAY SHE LEFT ‘BECAUSE SHE REALIZED HER MISTAKE’? No, Cate left because she could not handle the pressure from the teachers to maintain negativity towards Adminstration.”

My response: “I am going to speak respectfully, even though at the moment I am so angry that someone would presume to speak for me and to imply she had communicated directly with me about my reason for leaving Clayton Valley. Deanne, let me be perfectly clear, I have never spoken with you regarding my highly personal and extremely difficult decision to leave my school of nineteen years.

When I was informed this morning that I was being referred to in this site, I figured I’d better take a look. At first, I actually found myself hopeful – a site trying to be proactive, positive, and solution-oriented. It took me a while to find the posts referring to me. By the time I got there, I was disillusioned again. More sniping, nothing new. No invitations to really listen to each other’s concerns and explore solutions, which leads to the catalyst for my leaving.

Let me again be clear, I left CV not because of pressure from teachers. At no time have I been pressured by any teacher or group of teachers. The deciding factor in my choice to leave was the PFC’s publishing of Mr. Linzey’s ten points. Not because he doesn’t have a right to state them, and not because the PFC doesn’t have a right to publish them. I acknowledge those rights. It was just more evidence to me, however, that the people with power – and as a teacher of 20 years I know those people to be parents and administration – were not looking for positive ways to resolve our school’s crisis. Everything is so polarized; I’d hoped for more of an effort on the part of the PFC to bridge, not further divide.

There’s the truth of it.

With all due respect, from here on, please leave me out of your discussions.

Cate Sundling”

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