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6/23/17

HAYWARD — Meedie Monegan says she found her calling at 4:11 p.m. on June 6, 1956.

It came as a Western Union telegram from Ronald E. Notley, assistant superintendent of what was then called the Hayward Elementary School District.

 

“You have been elected for teaching position in our district for next school year. Please phone collect regarding acceptance,” Notley wrote.

 

Her response not too long afterward would allow her to become one of Hayward’s first blac
k teachers, if not the first, and lead her into a career that would last 39 years.

 

Monegan, then Meedie Robinson, was 22 years old, a student teacher in San Jose and one of three or four black student teachers at San Jose State College, now San Jose State University, she recalled.

 

“I was brought here (to Hayward) because they wanted to take a look. They hadn’t seen black teachers in action, so they reached out to San Jose and asked for student teachers,” Monegan, now 83, said last Friday in her South Hayward home.

 

“I petitioned against it and said, ‘You know, I don’t have a car. I don’t have any money,’ so I would have had to commute on what I called cheerless Peerless (Stage) buses that used to stop at every little stop between San Jose and Hayward. I’d have to start off really early in the morning to do that, so it was a hardship, but they said, ‘No, you really need to go and be there,’ ” she said.

 

Monegan relented, made the commute to Hayward once the next school year started and began working as a third-grade student teacher at an elementary school named after Edwin Markham, one of her favorite poets. The school campus is now the home of Faith Ringgold School of Arts & Science.

“I was scared because it was a new experience and I was way out of my comfort zone, but there’s something about a group of children that sort of relaxes you, so I was able to get it together and move from there,” Monegan said.

 

It would be years before any black students began attending the school, many of whom were bused in from Fairview. It would also be some time before she began seeing other black teachers at an annual school district gathering. Still, she remained shielded from what she saw as more blatant acts of discrimination.

 

Instead, some people who came into her classroom were more often surprised or shocked to find her teaching the class, Monegan said.

 

“There were a lot of dropped jaws when they came unless they were told in advance,” she recalled.

 

“That kind of thing happened a lot when I brought people in from the community to talk to the class about a certain job or occupation. It was always the same reaction; they’d come in, look around, look at me, then look to find the teacher and look at me again,” she said.

 

There was, for instance, the time when Monegan’s brother was pulled over by a Hayward police officer while looking for the school to visit her classroom.

 

“The officer showed (my brother) where the school was and came into the classroom with him to see for himself,” Monegan recalled.

 

At worst, Monegan found her classroom being observed by school administrators or campus visitors more often than other teachers.

 

“I was in a fish bowl, so to speak,” Monegan said.

“I just assumed everybody was being observed. In fact, I started a habit of always leaving my door open so that people could come and go without the students turning around; most teachers, at that time, taught with their door closed,” she said.

But she did not think twice about the attention or reactions she sometimes received, much less mind it.

 

“Teaching was my love, and I knew that I was always going to be prepared,” Monegan said.

 

“My mom always told me, ‘Well, you better do a good job because you may be paving the way for someone else,’ ” she said.

 

Monegan taught at Markham Elementary for 25 years before running the language and math lab at Winton Middle School for two years.

 

After earning a master’s degree from Cal State East Bay, she became vice principal of Lorin Eden Elementary for two years. She later served as the principal of two other elementary schools — Treeview and East Avenue — before retiring in 1995.

 

She tried to maintain a consistent level of high standards for all students, Monegan said. There was one time, for example, when three students came to her home at 10:30 p.m. to turn in a report that was due because they didn’t want their grades to drop for it being late.

 

“I take into account that some students learn faster than others and that all students aren’t going to learn everything, but I do have some set standards that I hold them to,” Monegan said.

 

Those standards, such as accountability and following directions, stemmed from her own upbringing in Bakersfield, where she attended Bakersfield High School and Bakersfield Junior College. She dropped out for a year, however, to work and save up enough money to go to college.

 

Even when she made it to college, Monegan worked in the library’s reserve book room so she did not have to spend money on textbooks and took on temporary jobs to pay for her education.

 

“Those are the kind of skills that I wanted kids to leave my class with,” Monegan said.

 

“I wanted to leave a little of me with each child,” she said.

 

Darin Moriki, Bay Area News Group

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6/20/17

The Hayward Unified School District (HUSD) Board of Trustees unanimously voted to appoint Dr. Matt Wayne as superintendent of the Hayward Unified School District(HUSD), pending approval of a contract. Dr. Wayne has served as Interim Superintendent since September 2016.

The five-member board took this action following the completion of a comprehensive evaluation of his leadership during this past year.

Prior to being the interim superintendent, Dr. Wayne was the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services. During his tenure in Hayward, the district has made great gains in student achievement—from an over 10% increase in the graduation rate to being named an AP Honor Roll District by the College Board. As interim superintendent, he successfully continued the district's Made in Hayward campaign to bring the community together and showcase the achievements of Hayward students, both present and past.

"We've been very pleased with the overall climate of the district under his leadership and we would like to see that continue," School Board President Lisa Brunner said at the June 7 board meeting. President Brunner also cited improvements in CAASPP scores and English learner achievement for the board's decision.

Dr. Wayne received his B.A in rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley. He went onto earn an M.A and M.Ed. from the Teachers College at Columbia University and later returned to UC Berkeley to complete a doctoral program at the Graduate School of Education. He has served as an English teacher, assistant principal, principal, literacy consultant, district leader, and lecturer at UC Berkeley prior to his arrival at HUSD.

"I am thrilled to be able to continue to serve the HUSD students. We have wonderful families, a supportive community, and incredibly committed staff and educators in the district, all working together to make our Made in Hayward vision a reality for our students."

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Dionicia Ramos Ledesma

Director of Public Information and Governmental Relations

Hayward Unified School District

24411 Amador Street, Hayward, CA

Ph: 510-784-2600   Ext.72617

dramos@husd.us

 

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