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Feature story: Envisioning a 'frontier of possibility'

Original post made on Jun 18, 2013

Hillview Middle School Principal Erik Burmeister blazed new trails during his first year on the job, and promises to continue changing classroom strategies to "prepare kids for their future, not ... for our past."

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, June 17, 2013, 11:27 PM

Comments (17)

Posted by MP Parent, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jun 18, 2013 at 6:22 am

Where did this guy Ghysels come from? All he does is spout canned leadership jargon.


Posted by Grateful, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 18, 2013 at 8:43 am

Thank you Menlo Park City School District for the great work happening at Hillview!


Posted by mp parent, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 18, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Why not make him Superintendent and get rid of Ghysels! The district would be much better off!!


Posted by MPCSD teacher, a resident of another community
on Jun 18, 2013 at 7:08 pm

MP-Parent:

I can't tell you how many MPCSD employees would agree with you!


Posted by school supporter, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 18, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Thank you Principal Burmeister, Hillview Staff, Superintendent Ghysels, School Board and everyone else involved for the initiative you are taking!


Posted by Mr B, a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on Jun 18, 2013 at 9:59 pm

He is amazing. Hillview is lucky to have him.


Posted by Stop the Attacks, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jun 19, 2013 at 1:01 pm

How did a story about design thinking at Hillview become another attack on the superintendent? Do people really think he's evil for hiring outstanding people Erik Burmeister and supporting staff development and new initiatives?

If you attack a person who is making MEASURABLE improvements, then there's something else at play. Perhaps it's the fact that Ghysels has taken very definite steps to clear out the deadwood.

There were and are still a number of employees in the school district who just go through the motions, have a "been there/done that" attitude, or are threatened by or incapable of keeping up with the progressive changes. No job comes with a lifetime guarantee other than teaching. That has to change if we want the best education for our children.


Posted by long time resident, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 19, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Thank you MPCSD leadership and staff. And thank you to our supportive community. I am very happy with the progress being made in our District. Keep it up!


Posted by Mp employee, a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Stop the Attacks:

You are missing the complete picture. If you think there is progress being made, you should spend one day inside the walls of the district. Then you would understand what is really happening. The only deadwood in the district is Ghysels. He makes more efforts at curtailing innovation than supporting it. He's too busy going out to lunch every day to actually be bothered with making improvements in the district.

What this article so clearly illustrates is that a strong leader can bring positive change. Erik Burmeister didn't clean house. He brought the best out in each and every person on our staff. The only thing Ghysels knows how to do is fire people. He'll soon run out of people to fire then everyone outside the district will realize his inadequacy when he no longer has anyone left to blame but himself for his lack of leadership ability.


Posted by G, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 20, 2013 at 8:31 am

Thank you MPCSD for doing the hard work to get great people in key leadership positions!


Posted by thank you, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jun 20, 2013 at 10:44 am

I think the District does have the complete picture, and that is precisely why so many good things are happening. How much time should the District spend trying to turn around poor performers, especially in key leadership positions? I'm glad that our District has shown the courage to make some tough decisions.


Posted by SteveC, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 20, 2013 at 2:41 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

he people with the attacks are the same ones who have not attended any meetings of the school board but love to complain about everything.


Posted by district parent, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 20, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Some changes were better than others. Other "key leadership" positions have not been filled to the caliber that has happened at Hillview.


Posted by Actually a parent, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jun 21, 2013 at 12:41 am

All the parents I know are are very pleased with the changes that have been made. Keep up the good work!


Posted by district parent, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 21, 2013 at 10:52 am

To "Actually a parent": We are all entitled to our own opinions and we each have different experiences with principals depending on the schools where our children attend. So from my perspective, I would say that I am not very pleased with all of the changes that have been made.


Posted by Setting the record straight, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jul 22, 2013 at 9:03 am

The article is an accurate report of the good work that Mr. Burmeister is doing and has planned for Hillview. A quote in the article about Principal Burmeister refers to a comment made by Allison Liner. For accuracy, the question here is why is she referred to in the article as "Chief Learning Officer?" Shouldn't she correctly be referred to as the District's "former Chief Learning Officer?" It is my understanding that she recently abruptly resigned and has been employed elsewhere in an effort to protect her reputation from being destroyed any further than it has been due to her working with superintendent Ghysels. It should be noted that Mr. Burmeister is making progress at Hillview due to his ability and leadership skills -- it has nothing to do with Ghysels at all.


Posted by Setting the record straight, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jul 22, 2013 at 9:14 am

Opps...At the time the article about Mr. Burmeister was printed, Ms Liner was still employed by the Menlo Park School District. She has, however, recently resigned and found employment elsewhere in an effort to protect her reputation from any further damage as a result of having been selected by and of working with superintendent Ghysels.


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