The Voyage of the Eagle


Transformational Leadership at CVCHS



The conversion of a traditional high school to a charter school is truly an amazing transformation. Like a caterpillar on all its 108 legs crawling on leaves and in bushes, it undergoes a metamorphosis as it blossoms into a beautiful multicolored butterfly that soars above the landscape and can see the beautiful world around it. This is the process of change that a charter school undertakes as it converts from the common high school which we used to know to that of a single school that can operate under its own leadership and make the necessary changes to meet all of the needs of its students. It is truly a beautiful thing to behold.


There is a lot of misunderstanding for the community once a school converts into a charter school. What had not been seen before at the CVHS of yesterday was all of the levels of support that came from or should have come from the district office. These support systems now have to be managed by the current site administration of Clayton Valley Charter High School. There are so many areas of responsibility that must still be handled that the principal and assistant principals of yesterday did not have to address. These responsibilities include:


  • Assessment Coordination - Transition to Common Core

  • Curriculum Development and Professional Development - Assess instructional needs, develop professional development plans and implement professional development programs to a very extensive degree. Neil McChesney commented after our first year as a charter school, "We have had more professional development in one year than we did the past ten years before becoming a charter school. It has been awesome!"

  • Intervention Programs - Summer School, credit recovery programs, alternative education programs, AVID Coordination, etc.

  • Child Welfare and Attendance Office - Handle issues of truancy, homeless students, dropout prevention, drug and alcohol education programs, suspension and expulsion, etc.

  • Categorical Programs process and procedures - LEA plans, LCAP plans, Title I programs, English Learner Program, etc.

  • Facilities and Operations of the school - Landscape, painting, maintenance of the facilities, which includes custodial oversight, trash contracts, handling the incredible challenges of maintaining and older facility to be in good shape for educating our students. We handle hundreds of work orders, repair request, graffiti abatement, and improvement of facilities projects.

  • Technology management - We have several employees who oversee, maintain and improve the technology of CVCHS to ensure efficiency, classroom instruction, technology labs are high functioning and office systems are enabled to conduct their work professionally.

  • Student information systems and state reporting - We handle all of our own attendance reports, County Office reporting and state reporting as we are a single site school district or our own LEA (Local Education Agency).

  • Guidance Program Coordination - Many school districts in California and across the nation have their own District Guidance Coordinator, to manage, direct and oversee that the high school counseling and guidance programs are up to date and implementing state-of-the-art guidance counseling programs to ensure students and parents have access to the current information regarding college admissions, scholarship applications, career guidance and pupil personnel services. CVCHS has implemented our own high performance comprehensive guidance department and ensures all of our students are receiving proper guidance in these areas.

  • Business Services and Fiscal Services - We have our own business department that handles payroll services, health benefits, budgets, fiscal policies and procedures, contracting with auditors, processing county and state budget reports, etc.

  • Governing Board Meetings - We develop board agendas to accomplish our charter school business similar to how a local school district accomplishes their district level business. We have board elections, board retreats, political issues to manage, etc.


This list of responsibilities is not exhaustive by any stretch of the imagination. As you can see, somebody has to oversee all of these systems, programs, services and duties. That somebody is the Executive Director. As you review this list of duties that the typical high school, such as Clayton Valley High School pre-charter did not have to deal with, you can begin to understand the different role that I have as the Executive Director in contrast with the regular high school principal. It is for this reason that CVCHS needed to hire a veteran district level administrator and former school district superintendent, to ensure we are in compliance with all local, state and federal guidelines, and that we become the high performance charter school we desired to become.


So the difference between CVHS and CVCHS leadership is night and day. We are doing all of this work with about the same number of school administrators that we had prior to becoming a charter school! This is why we hired "Directors" rather than "Assistant Principals" as each director has some district level responsibilities to perform. The Executive Director wears multiple hats of District Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent of HR and Chief Business Officer, in addition to that of the High School Principal.


It is quite an honor to have this position at the helm of this great ship which has received much recognition for our successful transformation to a high performing charter school. The Governing Board has been working hand-in-hand with the administration to ensure that the vision of going "from good to great" became a reality. Their laser-like focus upon student achievement, graduation rates, college admissions rates, student safety and fiscal health has been incredible. The Board's cheering on the staff and administration has been very refreshing for sure! There is a great teamwork and comradery amongst the leadership of CVCHS as we stand out as one of the great charter schools in the state of California.


Now you know the difference between our charter school and a traditional high school. There truly is "a method to the madness" as so many powerful systems have been put into place to make CVCHS such a great school - one that is significantly different than before and change has been a great thing! Metamorphosis is part of all great organizations and should be embraced.



In Your Service,


David Linzey