Terry McAteer et al: What’s up with Bear River principal resigning on the first day of school?

Longtime educator Terry McAteer, whom I enjoy hearing from, is back in town — this time as a retiree. He writes regularly about education for The Union’s editorial board, including a tome on “senioritis .”

I’d like to hear what Terry (and The Union’s editorial board, for that matter) think about the Bear River High principal resigning on the first day of school. (Hint: You can’t make this stuff up!)

“(She) will be joining the Elk Grove school district — the largest such district in Northern California — as the director of secondary education,” The Union is reporting, adding: “It’s a wonderful opportunity for her, but a loss for us,” said Nevada Joint Union High School District superintendent Brett McFadden.


Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

4 thoughts on “Terry McAteer et al: What’s up with Bear River principal resigning on the first day of school?”

  1. Well Jeff, obviously the timing may not have been fantastic but I know and respect Amy. She has been incredibly dedicated to Bear River following many years of mediocrity. Having taught at BRHS, I know the faculty is very supportive of Amy and this job opportunity must have come late into the summer. She is not bailing due to performance but due to a real advancement in her career. 90% job opportunities for school administrator jobs are from May through August. I suspect the person who held the Elk Grove job prior to Amy left in mid-July and that Amy was recruited since she is well known in the Placer, Nevada and Sacramento school community. A real good idea would be to bring back former principal and south county icon Dick Werntz for short term leadership.

    1. Thanks Terry. I wonder if there was a way for the timing to have been different. It must be disruptive for the students and teachers.

  2. Here’s Amy’s response to those who raised the issue in The Union: “Hi, Kathleen. I actually submitted my resignation on August 7 and will work through this month, giving about four weeks’ notice. … A wonderful professional opportunity presented itself, and I have embraced that opportunity. My current district and community is highly supportive of me and my decision.”

    I hope Amy can understand why parents and others raised this issue.

  3. Here’s what Amy wrote on her Facebook page before linking to an article in the Bear River High student newspaper:
    “Amy Besler
    2 hrs ·
    Our student journalists approach each subject, no matter how sensitive, with such professionalism and attention to detail. Sonora Slater, professional journalists could take their cue from you! What a lovely article. Thank you!”

    Amy’s accomplishments at Bear River are many — as outlined in the student newspaper’s article. In fact, our business was proud to present a scholarship to a Bear River graduating senior last spring who no doubt was influenced by Amy.

    But it’s unfortunate Amy did not acknowledge the disruption that occurs when a Principal resigns at the beginning of the school year — and why parents might be legitimately concerned. Her tone directed at The Union headline, I suppose, “professional journalists could take their cue from you!” is unfortunate, especially considering her new job concerns “coaching and mentoring” other principals and school leaders in the Elk Grove District (https://knco.com/bear-river-high-principal-leaving/).

    Thanks so much Amy for all of your contributions. But I hope you can rethink why concerns were legitimately raised. Along with a generous (and no doubt deserved) six-figure salary comes the hope of “threading the needle” when it comes to public communication.

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