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District Honors B-Tech Principal; Bids Farewell to BHS Football Coach

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:28:00 AM

The Berkeley Board of Education honored B-Tech Principal Victor Diaz, bid farewell to Berkeley High football coach Alonzo Carter and approved a solar grant for Rosa Parks Elementary School at its Jan 20 meeting. 


Coach Carter to leave Berkeley High 

Members of the Berkeley High football team showed up at the School Board meeting to applaud their coach, Alonzo Carter, who announced his resignation last week. 

Carter coached the Yellowjackets for three seasons—from 2007 to 2009—and took them to the ACCAL league championship in each of the last three years. 

During his tenure at Berkeley High, eight students earned Division I scholarships. Five Berkeley High seniors are competing for Division I scholarships this year. 

“Coach Carter has a way of showing he cares,” one of his players said at the meeting. “He’s a fantastic coach and even better mentor.” 

Carter, who was always encouraging his team to get good grades and go to college, said he would have continued to coach at Berkeley High had it not been a matter of career advancement. 

“Coming from McClymond’s High School in Oakland, I think BUSD gives a lot of importance to its sports,” Carter said. “Mr. Slemp has been the best principal. I will miss BUSD, but must move on to bigger things.” 

Berkeley High is currently looking for a new football coach. 


Redford Center honors B-Tech Principal Victor Diaz 

Berkeley-based Robert Redford Center will pay tribute to Berkeley Technology Academy Principal Victor Diaz for his work in the community at its inaugural Bay Area event “The Art of Activism” at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas in San Francisco Feb. 4. 

The newly-launched Redford Center seeks to bring about social and environmental change through the arts, education, and civil discourse.  

Diaz joined Berkeley’s only public alternative high school five years ago as principal and has since brought about a radical change in attendance, discipline, graduation rates and college admissions. 

He was a principal at a school in Boston before joining Berkeley Unified. 

“We are so honored that Victor has been recognized, because his work has been in our school district,” Berkeley Unified Superintendent Bill Huyett said at the meeting, as the School Board applauded Diaz. 

Diaz, who was nominated for the honor by community members, said that the Redford Center had also taken into account his work for Berkeley’s only public charter school proposal, which is scheduled to come before the School Board for a vote Feb. 3 

“I hope we have drafted a viable option for kids facing a continuous struggle,” Diaz told the Planet Wednesday. “I am very proud of our work and the support we have got from the district.” 

Diaz, who described himself as an “angry teenager” during an interview with the Planet in 2006, had a tumultuous time at different schools in East San Jose, before getting kicked out permanently at age 16. 

Raised by a single teenage mother in a working-class neighborhood, Diaz was disillusioned with the public school system until he was recruited by a community college coach in San Diego for the school’s track team. 

Although he ran into multiple bumps along the way, Diaz persevered, and went on to get several degrees, including a bachelor’s degree from UCLA, a J.D. from New College in San Francisco, a master’s in education technology from University of San Francisco and a principal certificate from California State University Sacramento.  

He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at UC Berkeley in immersive technology within the school setting. 


Rosa Parks goes partially solar 

The School Board accepted a PG&E solar grant for Rosa Parks Elementary School in West Berkeley, which will help the school become 20 percent solar. 

Rosa Parks had submitted the grant to PG&E about a year ago. 

Board Member John Selawsky noted that, although the system funded by the grant would not take care of all the school’s energy needs, unlike the one at Washington Elementary, it was a start. 

The school will receive a $200,000 rooftop solar installation from PG&E, which will complement the existing 1 kW installation and enhance the school’s solar energy education program. 

The 20 kW solar generating system will produce approximately 28,042 kWh of electricity, which will result in $3,850 in utility savings per year.