Benicia Unified School District

Update from Superintendent Dr. Young 5/7/2021

Category(s): Latest News

Posted On: May 7, 2021

Dear BUSD Parents and Guardians, 

Happy Friday!  I hope this communication finds everyone safe and sound as we head into the weekend.  I want to share a couple of updates with you.   

First off, at last night’s Board meeting, the Board Trustees voted 5-0 for the District Management Bargaining Team to reach out to both of our Unions to go back to the bargaining table to discuss and negotiate any impacts and effects regarding the California Department of Health’s more recent adoption of the 3 feet physical distancing guidance for schools instead of the previously adopted 6 feet.  The physical distance we are currently following, and which is in the negotiated and Board approved Memorandum of Understandings, is 6 feet.    

We are reaching out to Union leadership today in an effort to schedule dates and times to begin the process of discussing and bargaining any impacts and effects of the change to 3 feet.  If we are able to complete this process before the end of the school year, the result could include an increased number of students allowed per classroom.  We will keep everyone thoroughly updated as we go along.  

As a reminder, with Board support, I stated at the April 22 Board meeting and in my communication to everyone on April 23, that barring any dramatic turn in the wrong direction regarding the pandemic, we are planning to return to full-time, in-person instruction in the fall.    

Also during the meeting last night, we were excited to welcome our new Principal of Mary Farmar Elementary School, Mrs. Rhonda Flemming.  I am including the information I had the opportunity to share about Mrs. Flemming during my Superintendent’s report.   Welcome Rhonda Flemming!  

Rhonda Flemming

Rhonda Flemming currently serves as the Coordinator of Multi-Tiered System of Supports in Novato Unified.  Previously she worked in New Haven Unified for 18 years.  During that time she held multiple leadership roles.  Her professional career began as a third grade teacher at Searles Elementary, which she held for thirteen years.  Later she became the site’s Literacy Coach and Assistant Principal.  In addition, she also served as the district’s Coordinator of English Learner Services.

Mrs. Flemming received her teaching credential and M.S. in Education and Cross Cultural Teaching from National University, Administrative Credential from California State University East Bay, and Bachelor’s Degree from San Diego State University.  

Rhonda lives with her husband and two sons in American Canyon.  She acknowledges that being a parent is the most important role she will ever have in life.  One of her guiding principles is to create the same environment that she wants for her two sons for the children she serves. She prioritizes building relationships with students, staff, families, and the community as she understands the importance of being a part of a team that is committed to the whole child.

Rhonda’s passion and excitement for teaching and learning is contagious. Her knowledge of curriculum and instruction, experience and time in the classroom has led her to view teaching as a “practice versus perfection”. She truly views teaching as an “art” that facilitates learning and helps students to develop critical thinking skills.  

Her beliefs are firmly grounded in the fact that each and every student has assets and brings value to the larger community that should be acknowledged, leveraged, and utilized to create an optimum learning situation.  

Rhonda is a fierce advocate for students who are often underserved. She has learned so much from partnering with families, listening to their stories and experiences. Her mission is to be a part of a team that prioritizes creating an environment where students can thrive, emotionally, socially and academically, regardless of their zip code, ethnicity, language, ability, or socioeconomic status.   

She is honored to be able to join the community at Mary Farmar Elementary School and Benicia Unified to continue her life’s work of creating equitable outcomes for each and every student by ensuring that all students feel seen, heard, valued, inspired and challenged. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

On we go!
Charles Young Ed.D.