|San Diego Education Report
First grade teacher
Third grade teacher
Third grade teacher
(1) In 2004, the school district got tired of problems caused by overbearing and abusive
teachers, and transferred five teachers to other schools. One of them was Robin Donlan, who
had initiated the rumors that Maura Larkins would come to school and shoot everybody. CVE
President Gina Boyd and the "Castle Park Family" were enraged, not because Robin Donlan and
her friends had committed a crime against a fellow teacher, but because Gina Boyd's close
personal friend Robin Donlan was transferred. Gina Boyd, Robin Donlan, Peggie Myers,
Stephenie Parker-Petitt and others held rallies and gave interviews to reporters. Even though
the district had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars defending Robin Donlan in court, Donlan
was not grateful that she got off so easy. She demanded that the district transfer her back to
Castle Park Elementary.
(2) $20,000 went missing
from the Castle Park Elementary PTA accounts--at the same time that the San Diego Union
Tribune, Chula Vista Star-News, and La Prensa were freely publishing the allegations of the PTA
president and her ever-present sidekick (both were members of the "Castle Park Family") about
the principal they were trying to get rid of.
Shamefully, these newspapers kept quiet not only about the apparent embezzlement, but also
maintained complete silence about the San Diego Superior Court case involving Robin Donlan,
even though the case was going on at the same time that the newspapers were demanding in
editorials that Robin Donlan be reinstated at Castle Park Elementary.
(2) Due to the apparent embezzlement, the PTA
organization at Castle Park was shut down. (Interestingly, $2,000 went missing from Castle
Park Elementary's PTA in 1998. Teachers were told not to talk about it. Why?)
(3) Felicia Starr, one of the two parents who led the campaign against the principal of Castle
Park Elementary, is a member of the Chula Vista ethics board! She would be an ideal candidate
to run a negative political campaign, but the decision to put something like this on an ethics board
requires an explanation. Who appointed her, and why?
Felicia Starr was the Castle Park Elementary Site Council Member and immediate past-president
of the PTA who in 2004-2005
took the unusual and inappropriate step of bringing teachers union President Gina Boyd to Castle
Park Elementary Site Council meetings in an apparent effort to intimidate the principal. How
many PTA presidents devote themselves to ousting the principal of the school?
(4) The press in Chula Vista printed in 2004 many allegations of the "Castle Park Five" and
their two parent supporters. Some of the allegations bordered on bizarre. One allegation was
that the principal was monitoring phone calls made from classrooms!
The teachers were particularly upset that the principal knew about one particular phone call,
made minutes before dismissal time on Tuesday, October 5, 2004.
Apparently, the PTA president who rushed into that classroom, breathlessly begging permission
to use the phone so she could call Robin Donlan, was unaware of the fact that thirty children
were in the room. (Is this the problem here? That the students seem to be invisible to these
The teacher gave the PTA president permission to use the phone, and then informed the class
that she was angry at the principal.
Did the teacher and PTA president somehow think that this dramatic incident could occur without
a single child reporting it?
Apparently they did. They could think of no other explanation for the principal's knowledge of
this phone call than to suspect that he was monitoring their phone calls. Apparently the reporter
who published this allegation also failed to question the rationality of the accusation. Neither the
press nor the "Castle Park Family" has shown adequate respect for the children of Castle Park
How do Castle Park teachers see
themselves today, after years of
public and private campaigns to
destroy their fellow employees?
They invent their own version of
events, in which they were
actually doing their victims a
favor. They think the past is of
no importance. They prefer not
to remember what happened.
There is no plan at the school to
deal with the reality of what has
happened, to seek reconciliation
with the victims of their actions,
or to repair the damage they
have done to fellow employees
Yet this is precisely what they
claim to be teaching students to
Most of the same individuals
who wreaked havoc on Castle
Park Elementary are in control of
the school today. They see no
reason to change the way they
run the school. After all, it has
turned out well for them, hasn't
The staff still feels justified in its
hostility toward any child or
adult who asks for honesty or
Will this attitude result in more
problems? Of course it will.
Some schools are Mozart quality, others are more like Salieri, and,
sadly, many schools are much worse than Salieri.
(The story of Mozart and Salieri was told in the movie Amadeus.)
A censored version of the Castle Park Elementary story has been told, beginning in
the summer of 2004, by the San Diego Union Tribune and other newspapers. Here
is the full story.
The trouble started about 1995, when two teachers cliques put so many demands
on a compliant principal, that the school budget went deep into the red.
Since that time, the school has averaged about one principal per year. Teachers
have fought for power instead of focusing on kids. Maura Larkins, Heather Smith,
Ollie Matos, Heather Coman, and others were in the way of teachers who called
themselves the "Castle Park family."
1. Principal Ollie Matos was
given the thankless task of
fixing a dysfunctional staff. He
was forced out by Felicia Starr
and a group of teachers which
included CVE President Gina
Boyd. This group destroyed the
PTA, damaged children, and
brought down test scores. Ollie
Matos went on to become
Director of Educational Services
in Lemon Grove School District.
2. Teacher Luci Fowers became
principal of Albert Einstein Charter
Politics and the Comer Program
See also Comer affect on teachers
Gina Boyd wanted to be reelected, and was willing to break the law to
achieve her goal.
CVE President Gina Boyd admitted that there was hostility among teachers at Castle Park
Elementary to the bilingual program. (This was never mentioned in the press.) Did this hostility
result in an effort to end the bilingual program? Strangely, no.
In 1994, these hostile teachers began to take out their frustration on the individuals who
taught in the program. 1994 was the first, but not the last, time they did this. The lone bilingual
teacher at the school was dismissed by the school board in 1995. Why? No one will say. CVE
President Gina Boyd said Heather Smith, 23, was targeted not only because she was bilingual,
but because she was a "strong" woman.
Perhaps the motive of the teachers who initiated the action was hostility to the bilingual
program, but the program was not ended. The targeted teacher was simply replaced by another
In 2001 25% of teachers in the growing bilingual program were dismissed. This time the
teacher was a veteran who had taught for years in both straight English and bilingual programs.
Why was she removed from her classroom in the middle of the year? Assistant Superintendent
Richard Werlin testified under oath that he removed her because teacher Jo Ellen Hamilton
called him at home on a Saturday night and said she feared for her life.
Jo Ellen Hamilton contradicted this story under oath. She testified that Richard Werlin
SUGGESTED TO HER THAT SHE CALL HIM AT HOME! She testified that she called Mr. Werlin
simply TO ASK HIM WHEN A PLANNED MEETING WOULD OCCUR. Who told the truth under
oath? Perhaps neither. Probably the truth is located somewhere in the gray area between
these completely opposing stories.
Again, history repeated itself, and the bilingual teacher was eventually replaced by another
bilingual teacher. (At first, however, she was replaced by a teacher who not only did not have a
credential, but had not even done her student teaching!)
What are the chances that two teachers at one school would be dismissed within a period of five
years? Consider this. Not a single teacher (in a district with more than FORTY schools!) was
dismissed during the next five-year period. Castle Park Elementary is off the charts when it
comes to dismissing teachers.
What did CVE President Gina Boyd say this time a Castle Park teacher was dismissed? Nothing.
She was running for re-election, and she didn't want to offend powerful teachers, including a
close friend who had initiated rumors that the bilingual teacher was planning to come to school
and "shoot everybody." Gina Boyd herself had taught at Castle Park Elementary and was part
of the "Castle Park Family." The dismissed teacher (Maura Larkins) asked Boyd, her union
president, to demand an investigation, but Boyd refused to do so. No investigation has ever
been done by the district.
Did the teachers who attacked Maura Larkins have a reason, other than her bilingual position, to
target her? Yes. They were furious when Larkins, who was working to implement the Comer
Program at the school, helped conduct an election in response to complaints about the program
by teachers. A majority of the teachers voted against the program. A few powerful teachers
proceeded to twist arms and make a backroom deal to reinstate the program.
These teachers were furious when Larkins reminded the staff that the whole point of the Comer
Program is that "every voice should be heard," and asked that discussion be held.
Larkins was called to the office to explain why she had written a think piece, and told that Robin
Donlan questioned whether she supported the Comer Program. Larkins suggested a meeting
with the Comer Representative.
The meeting was canceled, and Larkins was told that the representative was "on a plane to
"Virginia." Larkins called the representative and found him at home in Chula Vista.
On Tuesday, February 5, 2001, teacher J.H. confronted Larkins at recess, screaming at Larkins
in front of children. FOUR DAYS LATER, on a Saturday night, J.H. called Assistant
Superintendent Werlin at home and said that she was disturbed that Larkins walked away from
her when she confronted Larkins.
Larkins was told the next day not to report to her classroom on Monday morning.
Castle Park Elementary teachers A. S., J. H. and L. W. wrote reports which, according to
Mark Bresee of Parham & Rajcic, caused Larkins to be placed on administrative leave. Jim
Groth, Gina Boyd, and Tim O'Neill failed to protest. No one in his right mind would believe
that these reports caused Larkins' removal.
Question: Why were the accusations so outlandish?
Answer: They worked, didn't they? This sort of behavior is normal procedure for bullies.
Link: truly dangerous teachers.
What are the school district and
the district PTA organization doing
to investigate and return missing
money to the Elementary?
Nothing at all.
In other parts of San Diego
County, this matter would be
thoroughly investigated. But this
sort of thing is covered up in
Test scores rose 30% the year
after Peg Myers and Castle Park
Five left the school.
One of the Castle Park Five, Nikki
Perez, came back to the school
when Lionel Richman ruled that
she had the right because she
hadn't been told why she was
transferred. The irony is, of
course, that Nikki Perez had
directly helped to cover up the
reasons as to why Maura Larkins
had been mysteriously forced out
of the school when she testified
3. Heather Coman went to
"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."
Test scores went down when the
"Family" was at the height of its
power, and they came back up
when some of the leaders of the
family were transferred out.
But transferred teachers retained
power and influence in the school,
particularly when transferred
teacher Peg Myers became
president (without being elected
to the position) of Chula Vista
Educators. It appears that the
"Castle Park Family" carried out
its implied threats to sabotage the
education of children.
In the wake of the problems
caused by the Family, students
started leaving the school in
droves. The community lost
confidence in the school.
There are serious
problems at Castle
Park Elementary and
WHO ARE THE LOSERS?
Castle Park Elementary School was circling the drain during the years
2000-2005, when the vast majority of parents (most of whom were Mexican)
were prevented from being involved in the decision-making process by one
parent (Felicia Starr) and a group of teachers that had backing from the
Concern and respect for the law were thrown out the window by these teachers
and the administrators they controlled. A small group of teachers connected to
Chula Vista Educators President Gina Boyd ran everything.
How did this happen?
Problems resulted from a combination of the "site-based management" system
instituted by Superintendent Libia Gil, and the easily-misused Comer Program,
for which the taxpayers paid about $20,000.
Current Superintendent Lowell Billings, however, continues Libia Gil's "don't
blame me, I allowed the school sites to be in charge of themselves" method of
Dr. Dennis Doyle also played an important role in undermining law and order at
Castle Park Elementary before moving to National School District.
Castle Park Teachers of the
Year Teri Coffey and Terri
Spurgeon, for support beyond
the call of duty to PTA
President Kim Simmons. Teri
and Terri have since reunited
at Allen School in Chula Vista.
Where are the people
who were pushed out of
Castle Park Elementary
School by the "Castle
Castle Park Elementary
Teacher of the Year, Emily
Claypool for support beyond
the call of duty to the Castle
San Diego Education
Report Castle Park
TWO PTA embezzlements
$100,000's of legal fees?
Castle Park Elementary
Teacher of the Year, Ricardo
Ramirez, for support beyond
the call of duty to students.
Castle Park Elementary
Teacher of the Year to all
teachers who have carefully
self-monitored over the past
decade, supporting whomever
seems to be most powerful.
Teacher Who Initiated
Crime Wave at Castle
Park Elementary Is Now
Famous for $7 Million
"We need to get this out to the Hispanic community"
“If the board gets away with this, they will do this to other teachers.”
What Myers didn't say is that the board had done much worse to other teachers,
and she had helped them.
One marvels at the outrage of the betrayed accomplice. Myers had helped force
excellent teachers out of Castle Park Elementary, and had made sure that they
never learned the reasons why they were forced out. Some were able to figure it
out despite the documents that were kept hidden (or never prepared) and the
dishonest testimony of teachers and administrators.
Former CVE president Peggie Myers had an
interesting list of accomplishments
In fact, Peg Myers and her close associates Robin Donlan, Linda Watson and
Richard Denmon put considerable effort into damaging the educations of
Hispanic students in Maura Larkins' bilingual class. These third-graders lost
their teacher in the middle of their transition-to-English year due to illegal and
bizarre actions of Peg Myers' close associates. The children were given a
substitute who had not even completed her student teaching.
Hostility against bilingual children was a hallmark of the Castle Park staff for
many years. Myers apparently has no awareness of the irony in her own
words. Even though she worked to damage the education of bilingual
students, she tried to play the race card regarding
her own transfer!
1. The first embezzlement of PTA funds at Castle Park Elementary was relatively
minor: $2,000 disappeared during the 1997-1998 school year. The matter was
hushed up, and no one was held responsible.
2. In 2005, $20,000 went missing. The Chula Vista Police Department let the
matter rest until after the November 2006 election, when CVESD board member
Cheryl Cox was elected mayor of Chula Vista.
The primary suspect in the $20,000 missing Castle Park PTA funds case was
arrested in 2006. It seems that Chula Vista mayor Cheryl Cox did NOT want this
crime prosecuted. Heaven knows she could have it done if she wanted to. Cox
isn't protecting the troubled woman who stole the money. She's protecting
herself and her former school board colleagues who boast that all incumbents
were re-elected because the public knew the truth!
CVESD's incumbents have carefully kept the truth from voters. To protect
themselves, the school board is also protecting Felicia Starr and a group of
Castle Park Elementary teachers, all of whom used an embezzler to achieve
their own ends.
Perhaps most importantly, they are protecting Chula Vista Educators' former
president (and former Castle Park teacher) Gina Boyd and current president Jim
Groth. Why else would Chula Vista Educators suddenly be so supportive of
people against whom they have campaigned for years?
Castle Park Elementary School
Chula Vista Elementary School District
by Maura Larkins
Or perhaps it was the dishonesty and secrecy that made it clear that wrongdoing
had occurred, and all that was left was to figure out exactly what illegal actions
were involved. The truth became apparent before long.
A total meltdown of law and order and professionalism at
Castle Park Elementary School 2000-2005
The "Castle Park Family" was put in control by the Comer Program
Peggie Myers, leader of the "Castle Park Family," claimed to be concerned for
children. "They’re just rotating subs,” she told La Prensa newspaper. “There’s
not a whole lot of learning going on there.” But Peggie Myers was one of the
powerful teachers in the school who supported the rotation of substitutes when
Maura Larkins was removed from her class.
Is it really about the kids, Ms. Myers, or is it about control of the school?
Strangely, Peggie Myers, after working so hard to aid and abet crimes against a
fellow teacher, likes to pass herself off as a teacher representative.
That's fine, as long as Ms. Myers reveals that she is working for political
advantage for herself and her friends, rather than to give all teachers equal
treatment under the law.
Wild Allegations about a "Dangerous" Teacher"
Will Castle Park turn into another Connecticut?
Here's a quote from the Washington Post, July 3, 2006:
"When [Governor] Rowland resigned, pleaded guilty and was
sentenced in March 2005 to a year and a day in jail, "everybody
thought that was going to be the end of it,"... Instead... the
continuing parade of misdeeds has helped the state live up to a
new nickname, "Corrupticut."
"We just keep having 'em in Connecticut," Orman said.
Peggie Myers, a former Castle Park Elementary Representative Council
member, said in 2004, when she was transferred out of her school,
Robin Colls Donlan is prominent in
Castle Park History for committing
crimes from 2000-2004 and getting
the school district to pay
$100,000's of public dollars to
cover up those crimes. Then Donlan
filed a charge against the district for
transferring her and the "Castle
Park Five" out of the school.
It turned out that Donlan, Peggie
Myers, Nikki Perez and Stephenie
Parker Pettit were a lot more
interested in talking to the press
than they were in testifying in court
about crimes at Castle Park
Elementary. (Stephenie Pettit
refused to testify at all, claiming she
was too busy on every single day of
her summer vacation to testify.)
Now Robin Donlan and her husband
Vencent Donlan are being
investigated by the FBI, SEC, IRS
and Department of Justice for
fraudulently obtaining stock options,
buying the stocks, and reselling
them for $7.7 million profit.
Update: May 22, 2007 Robin
Donlan has changed completely.
She is cooperating with federal
investigators to an “unprecedented
degree." This is far different from
her attitude during this deposition.
Castle Park Elementary has been in the news in Chula Vista and San Diego, but
the most important part of the story has been left out by the local media. For
example, Don Sevrens of the San Diego Union-Tribune published many stories,
letters and editorials by and about the "Castle Park Family," but concealed huge
amounts of information in his possession about wrongdoing by the "Family." For
example, $20,000 was stolen from parents by PTA president Kim Simmons after
"Family" teachers who were angry at principal Ollie Matos placed all
responsibility for fund-raising in her hands
PTA Embezzlements and School Board Incumbents
What happened behind closed doors at Castle Park Elementary?
Not one of these teachers testified against Maura Larkins' at
her OAH hearing.
It's long past time for them to retract their false allegations.
Elizabeth Schulman also refused to point out to the Professional Competence
Commission that the district's witnesses contradicted themselves and Richard Werlin.
Castle Park Teacher Reports
What did the California State Bar Association say about this? It said there was nothing
wrong with this.
Daniel Shinoff relied on the illegal OAH decision (which on its face violated Labor Code
1102.5) to defame Larkins.
Because Elizabeth Schulman, Maura Larkins' own attorney, and CVESD attorney Mark
Bresee agreed to allow notes written by these people to be accepted into evidence as if
the writers had been sworn in.
Why did Schulman do this?
She said privately to Maura Larkins that Richard Werlin had committed a crime, but
warned her client not to mention it because "it would hurt her." Schulman was clearly
determined to sacrifice her client to save Richard Werlin's reputation. She indicated that
she believed Werlin would have been chosen superintendent if he hadn't done this, and
she felt that losing that promotion was punishment enough.
So why were these teachers able to sway the OAH panel?
Test scores show that
Peggy Myers and Robin
Donlan's transfer was good
for students--but the
disgust aroused in the
community was not good
for the school
Why did Castle Park Elementary School in 11 years have:
When a group of Castle Park Elementary teachers wanted to get rid of
bilingual education, how did they go about it?
Decision regarding Peggie Myers
and Chula Vista Educators
(Unfortunately, mediator Lionel
Richman made this decision
WITHOUT KNOWING that
members of the Castle Park Five
had caused CVESD $100,000s in
Superintendent Lowell Billings has overseen almost a decade of dysfunction at
Castle Park Elementary.
Teachers Peg Myers and Robin Donlan and Stephanie Parker-Pettit left four
years ago, but they are still able to influence the teachers at Castle Park.
Castle Park teachers need to learn
to discuss problems in an open,
reasoned manner instead of having
a few teachers dictate decisions.
Here's how Superintendent Lowell Billings and the teachers union have caused
Castle Park Elementary to have 11 principals in 11 years: team dysfunction.
These "leaders" want to exert personal power, and in doing so, they have
directly harmed students.
Letters to the editor: South Edition
September 23, 2004
Castle Park loses an exceptional teacher
Regarding "Chula Vista district must be held accountable" (South County Letters,
As a senior in the credential program at the University of San Diego, I continually learn
more about the educational system in the state of California. This semester, I am
taking a class titled "Health and Inclusive Education," which is helping me to better
understand special education.
Recently, five teachers from Castle Park Elementary in the Chula Vista Elementary
School District were "administratively transferred" from the school. One of those
teachers was the best special education teacher I had ever observed and been
influenced by for 10 years of my educational career. Her passion and life's work were
dedicated to her students. Each child left her special education classroom with
improved skills for the future.
However, her greatest gift of all was not an excellent education. Rather, it was
acceptance. In a world that still has trouble accepting people with disabilities –
mental, physical or emotional – this specific teacher loved them all as equal human
Having this teacher "administratively transferred" cannot be in the best interest of the
students, parents and community. Replacing her with a substitute teacher for the first
two weeks of school and counting is horrific. If my student were in this class, I would
be doing anything in my power to get her back! The students deserve it.
Senior at University of San Diego
The removal of five teachers in 2004 didn't end the
constant hostilities or the crime wave; several more
teachers were removed from the school in 2008:
Is the community voting
with its feet?
Castle Park Elementary lost two
entire classes over the summer of
2008, one at second grade level
and one fifth grade.
Are teachers with
weak egos more
likely to be
of student threat to
teacher status and
teacher pupil control
by Donald J. Willower
James D. Lawrence
" ...a direct relationship
perceptions of student
threat to teacher
custodialism in teacher
pupil control views."
Does this mean that Superintendent Lowell Billings and new principal Alicia
Moreno managed to get control of the school? No.
Billings has been getting rid of teachers at Castle Park Elementary for years,
and the school has continued to spiral the drain. Billings doesn't understand
that team building requires openness, honesty and freedom to speak.
The five teachers are: Nikki Perez (who came back to Castle Park in 2006
afterexiting in 2004); Terry Spurgeon and Lynne Del Galdo Sallans, who
supported illegal actions in 2001; also Micheline Martucci and Emily Claypool,
who were new to Castle Park in 2001, but were quickly inducted into the
dominant culture of Castle Park teachers, which consists of secrecy and
constant struggle for power.
"Castle Park Family" boss and
former CVE president Peg Myers
Has cronyism by the
"Castle Park Family"
resulted in poorer teaching
Here is the article from La Prensa Sept. 17, 2004
"Approximately 40 teachers, parents and school children protested at a Chula
Vista Elementary School District School Board meeting on Sept. 14 because of a
recent transfer of five veteran teachers from Castle Park Elementary School...
“They still don’t have a credentialed special ed teacher, teaching special ed class;
they’re just rotating subs,” said one of the transfered teachers Peggie Myers...
"Billings does have the right to make an administrative transfer with certain
conditions, according to Myers, but she believes Billings has misinterpreted his
rights. “If the board gets away with this, they will do this to other teachers,” she
“'We need to get this out to the Hispanic community,' she said. 'If this had
happened at Allen, Sunnyside, Tiffany, or Hedenkamp we wouldn’t be standing here
How hypocritical are Peg Myers and the "Castle Park family"
by Maura Larkiins
I arrived at Castle Park Elementary in 1997 to initiate the bilingual program at the third-grade level. I did not know
that the staff had been very hostile to the arrival of the program three years earlier--so hostile, in fact, that consultant
Peter Barron Stark had been called in to teach the staff how to conduct a staff meeting without yelling at each other.
Nor did I know that the teacher who started the bilingual program at the kindergarten level had been non-reelected
after her first year. I was surprised to learn that the teachers at various grade levels, including mine, refused to
integrate bilingual students into their 45-minute daily teaming activities.
That summer the principal had been fired because he spent too much money; he had been unable to resist the
demands of powerful teachers; also, Richard Werlin had come from Florida to be the Assistant Superintendent for
Human Resources. My case was typical in that it involved teacher culture, which works to keep the status quo and
values politics above professionalism. But my situation was also due to an unusual convergence of events and
personalities. One Castle Park Elementary teacher, Gina Boyd, had become president of Chula Vista Educators
not long before.
This summary continues HERE.
My Personal Story of Life at Castle Park Elementary
Where does the paper trail lead?
Chula Vista Elementary School District demonstrated its awareness of the illegality of
its actions by preparing NO documentation regarding its actions on February 12,
2001, April 4, 2001, and April 20, 2001.
The fact that they were together
gave teachers in the controlling
clique do things that none of them
would have done alone.
District administrators worked closely with the teachers union to create an
atmosphere of fear and retaliation at Castle Park. But the district and the union
turned out NOT to be equally powerful at the school.
“The lust for power is not
rooted in strength but in
weakness. It is the
expression of the inability of
the individual self to stand
alone and live. It is the
desperate attempt to gain
secondary strength where
"..freedom has a twofold
meaning for modern man:
that he has been freed from
traditional authorities and
has become an 'individual,'
but that at the same time he
has become isolated,
powerless and an
instrument of purposes
outside of himself... this
state undermines his self,
weakens and frightens him,
and makes him ready for
submission to new kinds of
bondage. Positive freedom
on the other hand is
identical with the full
realization of the
together with his ability to
live actively and
Escape from Freedom
This school is typical of schools in
which teachers strive to enhance
their own reputations as teachers
by sabotaging other teachers.
I can understand why a
newly-married woman would open
a bank account in her pre-marriage
name. I'm sure many women do
exactly that. The reason? To
protect their money from their new
But here's what I don't understand.
Why would a woman open an
account in her pre-marriage name
FOR HER HUSBAND'S SOLE USE?
Why would her husband ask her to
do such a thing? It's obvious: he's
But Robin Donlan claims to be as
innocent as the driven snow in the
case of $7 million in fraudulent
stock option proceeds placed in her
What affect did the transfers have
Test scores went down sharply in
Maura Larkins class after she was
forced out by the Castle Park
But test scores rose 30% after
Peggie Myers, Robin Donlan, and
the "Castle Park Five" were
But that wasn't the end of the
story. Read on:
Robin Colls Donlan
Robin Colls' April 2001 written report was never
produced when requested for court proceedings,
but the report was referred to in Gretchen
Robin Donlan continues to wreak havoc:
At least one teacher report went missing:
Peg Myers is president of the local CTA affiliate, Chula Vista Educators. Ms.
Myers obtained that position after keeping tight control over Castle Park
Elementary teachers when she was the site representative during the Maura
Larkins case. Teachers had to report to her if they had any contact with
Maura Larkins. The pressure to hide the truth was successful.
Teachers who are still at the school forced principal Ollie Matos to leave, and
in 2008 forced principal Carlos Ulloa to leave.
Are some teachers of Castle Park out of control? Are they covering up
crimes? The San Diego Superior Court will decide in the 2009 case of CVESD
lawyers versus Maura Larkins.
Peg Myers and "Castle Park Family" harmed children when
they ousted a third-grade teacher in the middle of the year
Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters: A KIDS
COUNT Special Report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Children who read on grade level by the end of third grade are more
successful in school, work, and in life. This KIDS COUNT special report affirms
a commitment by the Casey Foundation to help ensure that all students are
proficient in reading by the end of third grade and help narrow the gap
between advantaged and disadvantaged children.
It was petty and unprofessional of Castle Park Family members to make up
preposterous allegations to further their political goals. But the most corrupt
aspect of their illegal action in 2001 was the severe harm done to children by
removing their teacher in the middle of the critical transition year to English. The
ousted teacher, Maura Larkins, was not allowed to help the replacement
substitute, who had not even done her student teaching. The substitute was
chosen because she was a night student who attended a class given by the Castle
Maura Larkins was a third-grade bilingual teacher whose students were at an
even more critical point than other third-graders: they were in their all-important
year of transition from Spanish to English-only (see box).
Chula Vista Educators (CVE)
Board of Directors and
Paula Lee Perry
Gina Boyd (Former) President
Tim O'Neill (Former) Exec. Dir.
Ann Smith, lawyer for San
Diego Metropolitan Employees
Association (MEA), who also
worked for Chula Vista
Educators and CTA.
Donlan, the teacher
discussed in the letter
at right was
that caused truly
for children in
classrooms other than
JUNE 03, 2008
Castle Park Elementary's House of Cards needs
a foundation in law and truth
A group of teachers and parents is working to fix Castle Park Elementary.
Each of us has encountered serious wrongdoing by the group of teachers
who call themselves the "Castle Park Family." Although our experiences
are different, they tend to overlap, because the culture of hostility fostered
by the "Family" has contaminated so many parts of the school, including
some of the newer teachers who have apparently joined the group.
We want an open, honest airing of problems at Castle Park. No more
secrecy. The problems have been made public by the family itself.
JUNE 02, 2008
Half a million dollars spent on lawyers didn't fix
Castle Park Elementary; how about trying
honesty and respect?
Why has Castle Park Elementary had 11 principals in 11 years?
Because past is prologue.
Hiding a seminal event, such as the moral collapse that occurred in 2001,
serves only to exacerbate its causes.
He who fails to learn from history is fated to repeat its mistakes.
Teachers and administrators and board members have relied on their
lawyer, Daniel Shinoff, to do whatever is necessary to hide the truth about
Castle Park, regardless of the cost to the taxpayers. It's time to stop
charging the taxpayers for the wrongdoing of public officials and public
The learning curve of those who control Castle Park Elementary has been
flat for more than 11 years. When things don't go well, they just get rid of
But principals aren't the only people they get rid of.
The serious problems at Castle Park Elementary started when the bilingual
program was introduced in 1994. Many teachers were furious that the
school had a new kindergarten teacher that year-a bilingual teacher
named Heather Smith. They got rid of her that very year; she was
dismissed by the district. (The district does not make any effort to
determine why teachers have been targeted for dismissal; district
administrators allow school politics to make those decisions.)
The bilingual program added a teacher a year until it had a final total of
four bilingual teachers in September 1997.
Many teachers refused to allow bilingual classes into their teaming
Rae Correira, a district administrator who tried to arrange teaming in the
1997-1998 school year was suddenly transferred to a different job in the
middle of the year. The teachers ran the school. The principal did exactly
what teacher leaders told her to do. And that included dismissing another
bilingual teacher--Maura Larkins.
Other excellent teacher forced out of the school for political reasons only
include Luci Fowers, Heather Coman, and principal Ollie Matos. Matos was
clearly targeted for allowing ELAC parents to have a voice in the school.
Unfortunatley, the teachers committed crimes to achieve their goal, and
the district and teachers union also committed crimes at the teachers'
request. Then the district spent roughly half a million dollars for Daniel
Shinoff's work in covering up the crimes. The teachers became drunk with
power. They felt untouchable.
Castle Park teachers seem to think they live in some country where they
can silence public discussion of public issues.
It's time to start dealing with reality. I offer to have an open and honest
discussion with the Castle Park teachers. It's the only way to solve the
problem. Hiding wrongdoing is rarely the best way to bring peace. It's time
for the truth dodgers to deal with the problems they have caused.
Castle Park Elementary teachers want to hide their heads in the sand while
a Superior Court Case is going on regarding crimes committed at the
How many principals have they gotten rid of? How many taxpayer dollars that
were supposed to go to education have gone toward defending them--and then
trying to get rid of them? (See links at left and right for the answers.)
Arson at Castle Park
Elementary in Chula Vista
Coronado firefighter honored for
By Pauline Repard
March 3, 2011
An Explorer program and a big fire
ignited Darren Hall’s passion for
firefighting and teaching — two
skills that led the Coronado fire
captain to receive a statewide
award this week as Training
Officer of the Year.
Hall credited one of his Hilltop High
School teachers in Chula Vista for
suggesting a firefighting career.
He joined the Chula Vista Fire
Department Explorer Program,
which was how he happened to
help on a hose line the night an
arsonist torched four
classrooms at Castle Park
Elementary School in Chula
Vista in 1991...
Unlawful actions of the self-styled "Castle Park Family"
culminated in 5-year shut-down of the school's PTA 2005-2010
CVESD teachers elected the leader of the Family as their union president.
Perhaps not coincidentally, at
the time Castle Park
committed the acts that
caused such serious problems,
the school staff was the only
one in the district with 100%
membership in the teachers
union. I myself was a
member, and was shocked to
find out how the union really
Former Castle Park
principal appointed by
$100,000's of legal
Why did Castle Park
Elementary School in
11 years (1997- 2008)
Calif. Governor Brown
Announces Appointments for
Sept. 13, 2012
13 Sep 2012
Carlos Ulloa, 44, of Carlsbad,
has been appointed to the
Instructional Quality Commission.
Ulloa was director of curriculum and
instruction at the San Ysidro School
District from 2008 until 2012. He has
served as a senior educational
consultant for Consortium on Reading
Excellence since 2008.
Ulloa was principal at the
Chula Vista Elementary
School District from 2005 to
2008 and principal at the San
Francisco Unified School District
from 2004 to 2005.
He served in multiple positions at the
Escondido Union School District from
1993 to 2004, including teacher,
parent involvement specialist and
assistant principal. He was an adjunct
professor at California State
University, San Marcos from 1998 to
Ulloa earned a Master of Education
degree from Harvard University and is
a doctoral candidate in educational
leadership at the University of
California, Los Angeles. This position
does not require Senate confirmation
and there is no compensation. Ulloa
is a Democrat.
More on Carlos Ulloa
and Castle Park
A Promise Neighborhood
staff member works with
students after school in the
Castle Park Elementary
computer lab in Chula
Vista, Sept. 19, 2013. Photo
By Christopher Maue
Castle Park Elementary Principal
updated May 2016
Why so much secrecy, Ms. Moreno?
25 Emerson Street
Chula Vista, CA 91911
Castle Park first-grade teacher
Lilia Rodriquez is now on the
Chula Vista Educators'
board, along with longtime
supporters of the "Castle Park
The San Diego
Luzzaro, the wife of a
chair of Chula Vista
Luzzaro) is fighting
hard against Common
Core, and ignoring
journalistic ethics at
the same time.
The Chula Vista
Star-News does a
much better job
than the San
April 15, 2014
Former Castle Park
Mich Martucci is also
in favor of parents
Mich Martucci · Chula
I am thinking of opting my
child out. He is in 4th grade
now and has a disability. I
want to see how the results
are reported to me and what
the test is all about. In
general I do not think
standardized tests really do
anything for kids that is
positive. They make the
testing companies wealthy. If
it seems they are trying to
make my child look dumb or
a failure I know better and
will opt him out. I am hoping
for the best, but expecting
the worst. I hope
more parents opt
their kids out.
Susan Luzzaro's back
The fiasco at Castle Park Elementary from the early 90s to 2010 under
the leadership of Libia Gil, Richard Werlin, Dennis Doyle, Lowell Billings
and Maria Guasp.
begin at Chula Vista
Three older campuses are
focus of first phase
By Caroline Dipping
Jan. 15, 2014
...Castle Park, Rice and
Rosebank are among 31
district schools to receive
funding from Proposition E,
which passed with a
resounding 69 percent of the
vote in November 2012. The
proposition excludes Mello-
District property owners on the
east side of the city who
already pay special tax
assessments for new school
construction and upgrades...
• Castle Park
upgrades will include
new sewer systems
and drains. The
estimated cost is $5
Balfour Beatty is the
construction manager for
all the projects. The
architect is Ruhnau
Ruhnau Clarke. Bids are
being accepted for
plumbing, electrical and
Why Was Rae
Because she was
working to integrate
children who were in
into the grade level
teaming programs in
first and second grades.
Below is the
Rick Werlin that put
an end to
implementation of the
Civil Rights Act at
Partnership leaves middle school students
prepared for the future [link]
Lisa Santa Cruz
May 14 2016
From preschoolers to highschoolers, the month of May begins a
celebration of accomplishments and the excitement for the next
stage of life. For one young girl, an upcoming promotion marks a
whole family’s embrace of a college-going culture.
Castle Park Elementary fifth grader, Frida Aldai, is part of the first
cohort of students enrolled with Chula Vista College Institute (CVCI).
A partner of Chula Vista Promise Neighborhood (CVPromise), CVCI
is a Chula Vista extension of Barrio Logan College Institute (BLCI)
who for the past 15 years has successfully provided after school
academic support to potential first generation college students.
Beginning in third grade, the program supports both students and
parents. Their results: 100 percent of their graduating students have
been admitted to colleges and universities throughout the country.
“We focus on preparing students for college by developing a solid
foundation for their future through after-school tutoring, workshops,
as well as college and career related activities,” BLCI Executive
Director Jose Cruz said.
CVCI, which was designed specifically in response to Castle Park
student needs, also helps students by working collaboratively with
their families to provide parent support and help them gain a better
understanding of how to get further involved in their student’s
Visiting universities in San Diego is among the various activities
offered to Frida, her classmates and parents since the program
began. Three years later, Frida is set on going to college to become
an artist. Frida and her mother talk often about her future aspirations
as well as her dream school, San Diego State University.
“My family believes in my art creations,” Frida said.
As fifth graders, Frida and her fellow CVCI classmates spent part of
the year researching colleges and preparing for an end of the year
college poster and oral presentation to be presented to parents and
school staff. For Frida, this was more than just an assignment.
Three years ago, she had been a very shy student and struggled with
English as her second language. Today, she is confident, excels in
public speaking and proud to share her goals. Frida is a shining
example of how hard work and resilience leads to success when
given an opportunity.
“I believe I can do anything I put my mind to,” Frida said.
Next month, Frida and her CVCI classmates will don cap and gowns
to not only celebrate their promotion from CVCI Elementary program
to the CVCI Middle School program; but also provide families a
glimpse of what to expect in 2027 when they walk across the stage
to receive bachelor’s degrees.
Chula Vista Promise Neighborhood (CVPromise) is proud to partner
with Castle Park Elementary, Castle Park Middle, Castle Park High
School, Hilltop Middle and Hilltop High School to bring new
opportunities and pathways of success for their students and
families. For more information on CVPromise, please visit
CVPromise.org or call (619) 422-5005.
For more information on BLCI, please visit www.BCLI.org.
- See more at: http://www.thestarnews.com/chula-vista/partnership-
Castle Park Elementary
Local Control and Accountability Plan
June 6, 2014
The state’s new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF)
replaced California’s finance system for schools. This
means districts like ours will receive additional funding for
low-income, English learner, and foster youth. School
districts will be required to produce Local Control and
Accountability Plans (LCAPs), demonstrating how
increased resources are linked to meeting the needs of all
students. In tandem, the funding formula and accountability
plans increase local decision making authority while also
enhancing transparency and accountability. On May 21,
the Board of Education will conduct a public hearing to
receive input on the District's 2014-17 Local Control
Accountability Plan. View plan here. Learn more here.
Castle Park Elementary deteriorated over a period of
many years as the school board and district
administrators concealed problems.
Can Promise Neighborhood save the school with 60 million dollars?
How Small Fibs Lead To Big Lies
October 24, 2016
New research finds small self-serving lies can make
people comfortable with larger deceptions.
Anthony Asael/Art in All of Us/Getty Images
New research finds people finds little lies pave the
way for big ones.
The study, published Monday in the journal Nature
Neuroscience, is the latest addition to the catalog of
scientific findings that make many people think, "Well
yeah, we knew that." (Other examples include the
findings that sugar makes bees hyper, that holiday
food makes us fatter and that not many people read
online service contracts, all of which led to a collective
But testing the truth of what appears obvious is kind
of what science is all about, and the latest study,
conducted by researchers from University College
London and Duke University, set out to test whether
telling small lies really did pave the way for telling
As they put it in the introduction to their paper:
"Many dishonest acts are speculatively traced back
to a sequence of smaller transgressions that
gradually escalated. From financial fraud to
plagiarism, online scams and scientific misconduct,
deceivers retrospectively describe how minor
dishonest decisions snowballed into significant ones
over time. Despite the dramatic impact of these acts
on economics, policy and education, we do not have
a clear understanding of how and why small
transgressions may gradually lead to larger ones."
To test whether little lies led to bigger ones, the
researchers had 55 people look at pictures of jars full
of pennies, and asked them to tell a partner how
much money was in the jar. In some scenarios, they
adjusted the incentives such that people would be
rewarded for lying about how much money was in the
jar — for example, they would get to keep the
difference between what they said and what their
While that was happening, the researchers scanned
the brains of about half the participants for activity in
the amygdala region, known to process emotion.
What Dogs, Lies And Sex Teach Us About Our True
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
What Dogs, Lies And Sex Teach Us About Our True
What they found was that when people first started
lying — deceiving their partner in order to benefit
themselves — the amygdala showed more activity.
But the more the participant lied, the less active the
And the magnitude of self-serving lies grew with
repetition. A participant who deceived his partner for
a couple pennies many times was more likely to go on
to deceive his partner out of more money in later
"This experimental result is consistent with anecdotal
observations of small digressions gradually
snowballing into larger ones," the authors write.
Notably, participants were also willing to lie to benefit
their partners, but the magnitude of those lies did not
grow over time.
As for the role of the emotion-processing part of the
brain, the authors speculate that it may be related to
the idea of moral desensitization. "People often
perceive self-serving dishonesty as morally wrong,"
they write. "Physiological and neurological measures
of emotional arousal are observed when people
Or, as another deception researcher, Sophie van der
Zee at the Free University of Amsterdam in the
Netherlands, explained it to the New Scientist, "When
you lie or cheat for your own benefit, it makes you feel
bad. But when you keep doing it, that feeling goes
away, so you're more likely to do it again."
So, if there's less of an emotional response to lying,
they reason, "people may engage in more frequent
and severe acts [of self-serving deception]."
Study author Tali Sharot tells NPR the new findings
suggest follow-up work should be done "to examine if
similar adaptation causes escalation of other negative
behaviors, such as violent acts and excessive risk