I do not know Ms. Mendez. I have never met her. Yet she seems to know enough about me to qualify her to judge my actions in a public forum. I feel the public should be aware that Ms. Mendez does not know anything about me 'personally.'


Here are the facts: Neither I nor my ExCEL colleagues were 'double dipping'. I made $3000 from the ExCEL Institute. Half of that was from training 2 schools in the ExCEL process in Nashville, TN and Porterville, CA (5 days). The other half I received for writing a manual for the Institute on my own time. I also participated in three in-district trainings, for which I received no stipend. The Institute paid for my substitute on those days. I was not paid for travel time or time spent preparing for those trainings. Additionally, during my 22 years in HUSD, I have spent more than $10,000 of my own money on my classroom and students.


I know the teachers involved with the ExCEL Institute. They are all excellent teachers who were not doing it for the money. We were ExCEL Trainers because we believed in the process. We saw all students, regardless of ability, learning and achieving at a higher rate as a result. I personally saw my students achieve grade level in reading faster than ever before. Juniper Elementary was the first school to fully implement the ExCEL model. Not coincidentally, we are still the only school to reach 800 API. Apparently, the achievement of my students was not affected adversely by my infrequent absences.


My original letter stated my opinion that voters should consider focusing on student achievement when considering recall. I support the right of each citizen to vote for or against the recall and to share their opinions in the newspaper. It is not opinion when individuals are labeled 'hypocrites' and subtly accused of wrongdoing in a letter to the editor.