The president of the Oakley Union Elementary School Board of Trustees has resigned and on Friday she apologized for her “callous” remarks.
Late Friday, KTVU learned three other board members, essentially the entire board, have submitted their resignations effective immediately.
“I am raising a 10-year-old with special needs and having him home during this pandemic, while also holding down two jobs to support my family has been a huge stress,” board President Lisa Brizendine said in a statement to KTVU. “I suffer with many of the same things that parents are going through from mental health issues to regression.”
She added: “My remark was callous and uncalled for and for that I am truly sorry.”
Brizendine’s resignation, which she mentioned in her statement, and her apology come after trustees made controversial comments during an online meeting that they thought was private this week.
Brizendine made a comment about how parents just want their children to return to school so they can have their “babysitters back.”
On Friday, Brizendine’s bio was off the school website.
With board members Kim Beede, Erica Ippolito and Richie Masadas also resigning, the district indicates that with the majority of the board vacant, the president of the Contra Costa County Board of Education, Annette Lewis, has jurisdiction to appoint Oakley board members until new members are either elected or appointed, per California’s education code.
As of Friday night, Lewis appointed two county board members, including herself and Mike Maxwell, to serve as interim Oakley district board members with a third member pending. Contra Costa County Office of Education said a fifth Oakley board seat was vacant.
“I look forward to working with the OUESD community to determine the best course of action to fill these seats with people who will represent the best interests of students, families, teachers and school staff,” Lewis said.
Superintendent of Oakley Union Elementary School District Greg Hetrick says further details on moving forward are forthcoming in the next few days. He said in a letter that his focus will remain on students’ learning and getting them back in school.
For their part, the three additional board members who resigned offered an apology for their comments in a statement.
“As trustees, we realize it is our responsibility to model the conduct that we expect of our students and staff and it is our obligation to build confidence in district leadership,” the statement read in part. The members acknowledged their failure to do so.