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  • Writer's pictureCesar Guerrero Isaias

Dr Drati’s Nonrenewal; What Does Mayfair Think?

Dr. Ben Drati, the superintendent of BUSD, recently had his contract non-renewed. This has caused a staggering impact on our district both with students and staff alike. The Windjammer has asked Mayfair what they think about the nonrenewal of Dr. Drati and their opinions behind the event.

Mayfair High School seems to be very split on the decision of non-renewing Dr. Ben Drati, as some members of the community here have expressed shock in interviews with The Windjammer. Our student board representative, Stella Lynch, comments, “I was shocked, I was a little hurt when I realized that they had reconvened into another open session cause it felt almost disrespectful to the student voice… I couldn’t even represent my students in one of the most important votes but I want to believe that it was for a good reason…”  Mrs. Valenzuela, a teacher here at Mayfair comments that she too was shocked about Drati’s non-renewal and how she assumes most staff here agree, “Dr. Drati felt very refreshing when he joined our staff, he had a lot of really great ideas, and- I felt like he was very motivated, right, and you could see that, and you felt it, and it was exciting to hear the news that his contract wasn't renewed. At first, I didn't think it was fair because he’s only been here a year… [I wonder] if they were trying to see what he accomplished even in a short amount of time and maybe they felt like it wasn't enough.”

Ms. Balogh, a middle school science teacher, expresses how she feels that Dr. Drati was making progress, but not committed enough to make the necessary changes at Bellflower Unified. “Drati was making progress, I see more things talked about and being put into action and I've seen more people held accountable in the district office than I have in many years. I think that Drati was not ready to make the hard changes that had to be made in the district office and let go of people… that need to be let go so I’m sad to see him go but I’m hopeful that our new superintendent, whoever that will be, will be willing to make hard changes.” An anonymous teacher commented that Dr. Drati’s absence would not be drastic for the district. “He was in the process of guiding the District in a new direction, but did not have time to implement his plans… Hopefully (his removal) will benefit our students. Also, Lisa Azevedo, the Interim Superintendent, has been with the District for 30 years and should steer us in the right direction.” It can be said with certainty that although the district won’t be entirely the same without Drati, many people think this is just another step forward for the future of BUSD.

Yes, Drati had an impact and helped put many beneficial plans into action which will forever benefit our district, but much of Mayfair’s staff can agree that these changes could grow and improve if led by another leader, temporarily Lisa Azevedo. In contrast, Stella comments, “He had almost no time to change the school district in the way he would want, talking to a lot of teachers, he was like widely known as a kind person, he had a really good just like soul that you could get behind, but some of the teachers maybe feel like he didn't have enough time to make an impact. But for me, the reason that I feel like it was a disrespect [to non-renew Drati] was because it was such a big decision that it feels like in some way it should’ve been voiced more with the community before taking action like that.”

As a whole, it's clear that our district, Mayfair at least, thinks there is still a lot of hope despite Dr. Drati’s non-renewal as his short time here helped the district begin to inch towards change. “I appreciate everything that Dr. Drati did for the district. I think that he has helped our district move forward in the right way. He has been transparent, and communicative, and has provided great training for both the school board, as well as administration and teachers to improve our district and to make things better for students…I have a lot of confidence in our new Interim Superintendent, Ms. Lisa Azevedo, who has been in the district a long time and has always done her job well and put our community first.” comments Mr Fong, a middle school history and social science teacher. Ms. Valenzuela adds, “[The board] seems to have the students as their best interest and that to me is what we’re here for… so if they're seeing that what he was doing or not doing was not meeting their expectations for the students then I'm going to trust and hope that they find someone who does meet those expectations.”

Whether Dr. Ben Drati’s impact was enough to change the district or not, he will still be missed by students and staff alike at Mayfair. Most have remained hopeful for what the future has in store with our new Interim Superintendent and whoever takes the position of Superintendent next. Drati’s impact wasn’t widely acknowledged, but it clearly will work to the advantage and benefit the district and the next superintendents.

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