Article Last Updated: 4/14/2006 02:59 AM
Beloved Hayward educator Weinstein dies
Career ranged from P.E. teacher to personnel superintendent
By Katy Murphy, STAFF WRITER
Inside Bay Area
HAYWARD — Today's managers might take a cue from Jack Weinstein, a longtime Hayward teacher and administrator with an uncanny ability to make people feel at ease in difficult situations.
"He said to me, 'You'll know you made it as a disciplinarian when you suspend a kid and they actually thank you for suspending him,'" said John Davini, principal of Hayward's Mt. Eden High School, who taught under Weinstein in the early 1970s — and took a $4,000 pay cut to do it.
Weinstein died April 3 in Oakland. He was 80.
Weinstein graduated from Washington State University in 1951 and took his first job with the Hayward Unified School district shortly thereafter. He loved being a physical education teacher and coach, but district administrators saw something in him and encouraged him to further his education and move up the ladder, said his wife, Natalie.
In the late 1960s, Weinstein became principal at what was then called Winton Junior High School, where he had taught for a number of years. In 1973, he was named principal of Tennyson High School, but moved into the district office within a short time.
As personnel director and, later, assistant superintendent for personnel, Weinstein played an active role in labor negotiations, staff recruitment and training. It wasn't an easy job, but Weinstein had an important thing going for him: employees' trust and respect.
Whenever teachers demonstrated outside the district office, Weinstein would go out to chat with them, recalled Joel Thornley, the superintendent at the time.
"He was such a good negotiator because the staff trusted him, and when Jack gave his word, his word was good," Thornley said.
But Weinstein was more than a negotiator and disciplinarian. He was a mentor to countless teachers and principals — and well-respected by students, Davini and Thornley said.
"He really gave the individual self-confidence," his wife said. "He saw the potential in people and helped to build it."
Weinstein retired from Hayward Unified in 1989, but he didn't stop working with the schools until recently. He served as a part-time consultant with the California Department of Education, conducting audits. He enjoyed that as well.
"He never had a job he didn't love," Natalie Weinstein said.
For some, Weinstein represents a golden era of the Hayward schools, which have since struggled to bring labor peace and restore fiscal solvency.
"We had some good years while Jack was with us," Thornley said. "Hayward was a well-thought-of school district, and he played a good role in that."
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