Concerns of teacher retention at El Camino High School as voiced by Coach Jake

South San Francisco, CA    March 30, 2015 colts logo

El Camino High School Teacher /Coach ‘Jake’ Eric Jacobson responds to an article in the Mercury News

You don’t believe everything you read do you? Have we had our share of problems at El Camino High School this year? No doubt. I’ll put it to you from someone who has been affiliated with EC since 1984. Here is the main problem. A Teacher/Administrator/Coach at El Camino can make much more money by driving 5 miles down the road to another district.

As a head coach at EC, I make $1,000 less for a season, then down at Cap, Mills, BHS. The Teacher’s salaries and Administrators fall into the same boat. Why teach at EC when I can make more money down the road. Why do you think Derek Padilla, Jeff Cosico, and I stay at El Camino High School? Let me give you a hint- it’s not because we are millionaires. WE LOVE THE SCHOOL! WE LOVE THE KIDS THAT GO TO EC!

People, we have tremendous kids that go to El Camino High School. They have the same spirit as when I went there in 1988. The school is the true melting pot of the world with so many different backgrounds and cultures and the kids get along and they have tremendous school spirit. All of you Alumni out there EC is as good or in better shape school spirit wise than when we went there. I have been a coach at EC since 1991, and a teacher since 1999, and I have seen an improvement in school spirit.

We need a Principal that will stay for the long haul, and work to keep EC moving forward academically. We now need a new Superintendent that will keep the SSFUSD moving forward and improve as a district, since our current Superintendent has just resigned.

I will tell you this, the students at EC have not missed a beat, and they have as much school spirit as any other kid who went to EC. My Teacher’s Assistants Christina Sherrod, Andrew Pierotti, Kyana Orellana, Megan Villon are perfect examples of EC Graduation Senior Class and the school spirit they have. They know we have had some setbacks but they still have pride in their school and in each other. I don’t blame any teacher for trying to make more money. If I did not have my ties to EC I would probably be coaching the Mills Vikings a long time ago.

If you are Alumni and care about EC write an e-mail to the SSFUSD School Board and tell them to increase the salaries of all Administrators, Teachers and Coaches. If you want them to stay, then you better pay. (Contact info is listed below)


Why do El Camino & the SSFUSD have such a high rate of teacher turnover?? LOOK AT THE NUMBERS (SSFUSD salaries can be found on this link CLICK HERE)
Here is the Teaching Salary & Coaching Stipend difference between the San Mateo Union High School District & the South San Francisco Unified School District.
Step 1 SMUHSD TEACHER—$61,559
Step 1 SSFUSD TEACHER—$46,534
So I’m fresh out of college a young energetic bright enthusiastic teacher looking for a job to settle down for a while say (25 years), which district would you choose to work in?? You want quality teacher’s to stay then you have got to pay.


Coach Jake was responding to an article in the Mercury News, along with other criticism voiced on social media, including some of these concerns that have fallen on El Camino High School:

Long time Coach and ECHS Alumni Mark Turner was fired in 2014 upon his arrest for suspicion of lewd acts with a minor off campus (He has pleaded not guilty)

ECHS has had 3 permanent principals between 2011-2015 and3 interim principals in the past 2 months including the following:

*ECHS Principal Putney was removed from his position among allegations of mishandling a racially charged encounter between two students. School Board Trustee Maurice Goodman had taken to social media to berate the District Superintendent on lack of District action on racial slurs between students that stemmed from a 2013 incident which was said to continue towards a black student. (An independent report stated the District had handled this issue properly)

*Putney’s replacement, Linda McDaniel, lasted three months when she was forced to resign due to allegations of embezzlement. SSFPD have handed this case over to the SMC District Attorney’s office.

The ECHS sports program has come under criticism from some parents stating:

*There is an environment of ‘cronyism’ and lack of training of some of the coaching staff

*Questionable summer girls’ basketball program that was said to be school sponsored yet cash was paid by the athletes but not accounted for by the school or district leaving parents to wonder about accountability and liability especially as the students traveled overnight out of the area. The District still has not explained the accounting discrepancy.

Parent Phil Fioresi, whose daughter graduated in 2014, has continued to express dissatisfaction regarding the District’s lack of responsiveness to concerns to repeated requests for explanations to inquiries that he and other parents have brought before the School Board regarding the sports program.

*Massive turnover of teachers is a concern with retention of 39% over the past 6 years. 26% of this year’s teachers are new hires, per the Aaron Kinney’s article in the Mercury News. The national average of teacher attrition is 16% according to the National Center for Educational Statistics.

The School Board has lacked continuity during the past five years as Trustees have come and gone: Long time Trustee Shirley Hoch resigned for health reasons, Liza Normandy resigned as she moved onto an elected seat on City Council, Patrick Lucy (who was appointed to Normandy’s position) was voted in during the 2014 election along with new members Rosa Acosta (Employee in the SSF City Manager’s Office) and Rick Ochsenhirt (Former SSF Planning Commissioner). Goodman and **Oschsenhirt are candidates for the 2015 City Council election.

Update correction Oschsenhirt will NOT be running for City Council “There is much work to be done with our School District and I look forward to offering my expertise as we move forward. I have no intention of running for City Council at this time.” Oschenhirt told us.

UPDATE: Maurice Goodman has also replied ‘I have not made a decision on whether I would be running for City Council as I am working to address the many challenges facing our School District.‘  Goodman’s FB page Maurice D. Goodman For South San Francisco City Council continues to update. Both Oschsenhirt and Goodman, candidates in the last City Council election, have spoken of running again.

The current SSFUSD Superintendent, Alejandro Hogan, announced his resignation at the end of this school term. (The Trustees are responsible for the hiring of the Superintendent)

For more on our current School Board Trustees Click HERE.

School Board meetings are held the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month at 7pm at the Baden School Gym. Agendas and minutes can be found HERE. Once a quarter the meetings are televised on the community channels which are also archived and can be found at the link above.

To contact your board members:

Judy Bush

Patrick Lucy

Maurice Goodman

Rosa Acosta

Rick Ochsenhirt


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Eric Jacobson
Eric Jacobson
6 years ago

I agree with you Patricia Murray. As a teacher/coach I want to make a difference with my students, and I want to be a positive role model in their life. I don’t think that a teacher cares who the principal is as long they don’t see them coming their way. The biggest job the principal has is to hire quality teacher’s to fill vacant spots each school year. If that principal cannot get quality teachers to apply because they are driving to the SMUSD to make more money what choice do they have. We get what is left over to apply and they are not always the best choice. Many of my colleges at EC cannot tell whether we have a principal or not because if you do your job, and you are good at what you teach you don’t need support. I have been teaching 18 years now and have taught at Parkway & EC. In that time I have worked for and with 5 different Principals, and the best Principal’s have been the one’s who surround themselves with quality teachers. To the average teacher the last person he/she wants to see is the Principal because that means your in trouble, or a parent is upset with something you did or did not do. Teacher’s don’t look for pats on the back, because you just don’t get them. Nobody calls the principal and says, “what a great job Mr. Doe is doing with my kid, my kid loves his class and I can see what a difference Mr. Doe has made in my child’s development in higher learning”. Teacher’s are self supporting people who want to be a positive role model to all of their students. The fact is I and most of my colleges are barely scraping by teaching and living in the Bay Area. If you what to make the teacher’s feel supported pay them what there worth. In order for our district to improve in everyway is for the SSFUSD to increase the pay on each level to keep the excellent teacher’s we have and to recruit top notch young teachers who will energize EC and our school district. This will all begin with the hire of our next Superintendent. He/She needs to be a leader and in it for the long Haul. A lady who loves our district like Barbara Olds would make an impact immediately. Then comes the job of hiring of our next Principal at EC. The new Superintendent has got to hit a home run with that hire. I hope the Principal the Superintendent hires has the eye for what a quality teacher looks like, and wait’s until that teacher comes along to fill that position instead of just filling the spot. Supported, yes teacher’s would love to be supported, and the district can do so with a significant raise in pay come next contract.

Patricia Murray
6 years ago

I don’t believe that we are losing teachers simply because of the salaries our district offers. While that may be a reason that some teachers are leaving and part of a reason for others, I believe it’s way more complicated than that. Teachers are special people and most I’ve met are teaching because they want to make a difference. Their students are more than numbers, their students are the future and they want to teach them to be great citizens. I think that with the large turnover in leadership, we have no continuity of purpose, no vision which makes it difficult for teachers to have the tools to do the job they want to do and makes it impossible for them to feel supported.