Santa Rosa school trustee resigns to take interim co-principal position at French charter school

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A Santa Rosa City Schools trustee who pledged to bring a parent’s perspective to her elected four-year post has opted to step down from the board to take a job helming the district’s French-language charter school.

Evelyn Anderson, 58, will be the new interim co-principal of the Santa Rosa French-American Charter School, starting as soon as this week.

“This is such a great opportunity with an amazing program and dedicated staff,” said Anderson, a longtime Santa Rosa resident and francophile who started a local French conversation group in 1995 that still meets regularly. She has been an advocate of public education and was a teacher abroad in France.

A mother of two graduates of Santa Rosa City Schools, Anderson was elected to the board in November 2016. At the time, none of the trustees had children enrolled in the district, she said.

“I will miss having the opportunity to speak on behalf of the parents, students and teachers. It’s been so meaningful to address issues that concern all students in the district,” she said.

Her departure will create an open seat on the seven-member board, which oversees Sonoma County’s largest school district, with about 16,000 students.

During her tenure, Anderson said, she was proud that musical instruments were provided to elementary students and that the gifted and talented program was replaced with the more inclusive advanced learner program.

“I’m a big believer in giving educational opportunities to every level of learners,” she said.

The district is set to appoint a replacement for her seat, with an application peri

od that closes March 29. Going forward, Anderson’s former seat, trustee area 3, will represent a swath of central Santa Rosa from Barnes Road on the west side of Highway 101 to Mark West Springs Road in the north, Middle Rincon Road in the east and Fourth Street in the south. Campuses include Steele Lane, Hidden Valley and Proctor Terrace Elementary schools.

Anderson will be joining interim co-principal Steve Shepard at the French charter school. Her salary will be $99,580.

Lori Flanagan, the school’s former principal who started in the position last summer, left the post in late January, according Tracey Klein, president of the Parent Association and Foundation.

Parents approached the district and Flanagan during meetings in January and asked her to consider resigning, expressing concerns about her leadership skills and lack of understanding of French culture, Klein said.

Flanagan did not respond to calls for comment last week, and a district spokesperson declined to comment on Flanagan’s departure, citing district confidentiality rules on personnel issues.

“It’s been kind of a whirlwind for quite a few months here,” Klein said. “I’m delighted that Evelyn Anderson is joining our program. We’ve had a great relationship with her for years and she is supportive of our program.”

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