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February 08, 2015



Several news sources are reporting the latest graduation numbers for high school districts:

The San Mateo Union High School District featured a 94.7 graduation rate last year, which is a gradual increase from 94.4 percent the year prior.

Cathy Baylock

Please take the time to sign this petition supporting Burlingame High School's Econ teacher, Kevin Nelson. It would be a travesty to lose an educator, mentor and leader like Kevin: https://www.change.org/p/smuhsd-keep-mr-nelson-at-burlingame-high-school/c


Dear Cathy Baylock...
Why does the school want to fire/transfer/ promote Mr. Nelson?
I read one comment by Mr. Nelson's child-I believe.
Why does the Principle want to fire Mr. Nelson?


First, Mr. Nelson can't be fired. He is looking to transfer because he has problems with Principal Di Yim.

Second, I have no love for Ms. Yim. She fired me from my position as assistant varsity boy's basketball coach a year ago because of comments I allegedly made about Serra High on the Mercury News website. The comments, which Ms Yim knows did not come from me, were innocuous.

Third, from all accounts, Kevin Nelson, brought the following video to the attention of others. In the Little Big Game Rally in 2014, she helped students on the field to perform the famous Saturday Night Live skit, Dick In a Box. I don't care what he excuse is, she should have been immediately terminated. Please make your thoughts known to Superintendent Skelly and the entire Board of Trustees [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] to demand her termination or resignation.


Take a look at the video beginning at the 3 minute mark.


There is an article in today's SM Daily Journal about this situation between Mr. Nelson and Ms. Yim--
My kids have been out of BHS for close to a decade, but both did quite well there and had Mr. Nelson as one of their favorite teachers-- NOT because he was an easy A (I don't think he was), but because he taught them life skills and common sense economics of survival. As I mentioned before, I think the football video was really tacky and a complete lapse on the part of the principal. But with regard to this issue, I really hope she thinks good and hard about what has become an exodus from Burlingame High, not only of some staff, but also of kids who can opt for other high schools, including private ones. If I had a kid that was getting ready to go to high school, I'd send them to San Mateo High School, instead, even if just half of what has been mentioned in public or on this website is true, I think it has degraded this institution too much. You only get 4 years in which to prepare your kids for college, so there is no time to waste. If I'm not mistaken, Burlingame High has run through several principals in a relatively short period of time, and it has taken its toll. It is true, that parents these days in a wealthy area like this, feel empowered to get overly involved in the politics of teaching, and that makes it hard for educators to do their jobs. But there needs to be enough latitude for teachers to exist in the system, who think out of the box, and who want their students to learn how to think out of the box, without being penalized for it.

Cathy Baylock

Jen, if only I could take your "box bait" in your final sentence and riff on it, but I won't due to the seriousness of this situation. Kevin Nelson is all Jen says and more. I first met him over a decade ago when he led a group of neighbors in fighting to build a hospital project that wouldn't negatively impact the community. Later, during the 2005 city council election he organized a student's candidate's forum since there were nine candidates running for four council seats. Over 100 BHS students attended and it was exciting to involve the next voting generation in the debate. Lastly, Mr. Nelson taught both my sons and when they graduated BHS, they both wanted to become Econ majors in college. And I haven't even mentioned the wonderful job he did heading the district's GATE program. Kevin is a rock solid teacher, mentor, and Burlingame community member who does not deserve to be cast aside by someone who has only been "leading" the school for the only 15 months. p.s. I understand that BHS PTO president and newly elected councilwoman, Donna Colson, is working on arranging a meeting with district staff, board and community members to resolve this. Go Donna C!

Cathy Baylock

Here is the link to the change.org petition: https://www.change.org/p/smuhsd-keep-mr-nelson-at-burlingame-high-school?recruiter=77800975&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_term=des-md-share_petition-reason_msg&fb_ref=Default

Bruce Dickinson

Guys, I may owe the "PantherBoy" an apology as, stop the presses, Bruce Dickinson may have been wrong in fully assessing the incompetence of Di Yim beyond the "Dick in the Box" fiasco. When a teacher with so much support for years with numerous felicitations all of a sudden gets reassigned while there is leadership change (at the school level), there is most likely a problem with the Principal.

Glad to see some activism from our City Council..what a breath of fresh air, already! At the district level, due to funding coming from the State, complaints fall on deaf ears, that is until you brandish the weapon of dollars. For example as a hypothetical, the multifamily monstrosity on Rollins, if I recall, was supposed to pay BHS some money. So, threaten to yank that money. Also, as another hypothetical, if the aquatic/recreation agreement hasn't been reached with the City and SMUSD, then put that on the table to be re-struck. Pass ordinances to make City services more expensive for the school, such as police visits, water surcharges, etc. Unfortunately, money is the only thing that talks with these bureaucrats and once you start threatening to make it more expensive to do business where jobs feel threatened, they'll start listening fast and start worrying about accountability for a change!

Finally the teachers, hypothetically, could file a sexual harassment suit for the "Dick in the Box" stunt allowed by Yim, including her active participation in it and for which she bears the ultimate responsibility. Under any reasonable circumstance such a stunt could potentially result in immediate termination in the private sector. Again, lawsuits are expensive especially when things don't look great for the defendant and you have to hire lawyers to come up with all sorts of courtroom contortions to explain your way out of the truth.

Just a few hypotheticals from your neighborhood watchdog, Bruce Dickinson!

Bennie Moore

Speaking of tacky and poor taste, I just saw the Terry Nagle California Climate Challenge youtube video what is up with tubetop tuesdays, no flush fridays and don't wash your underwear wednesdays. I have a sense of humor but that was very poor.



Di Yim has officially resigned effective at the end of the year.

Cathy Baylock

Steve, I attended the rally for Mr. Nelson at the high school and the kids were in good spirits. It was good to see a peaceful protest accomplish much good without the chaining of bodies to various items

Cathy Baylock



Cathy, the one thing I am unable to ascertain is how much is cause and effect? One can surmise the video led to the complaint which led to the problem with the Principal, but is that the case?

You don't want to know how I would have handled the bridge "protest".

Bruce Dickinson

Listen, fellas, so is Mr. Nelson going to be reinstated at BHS? If not, that's a ridiculous outcome as a resignation (that we all know was forced) is tantamount to admitting a mistake was made in hiring her. And Yim was the cause of Mr. Nelson's and other teachers' departures, effectively a bull in the china shop, ya know what I mean? and every transfer, replacement, or departure costs $$$, not to mention the tarnish on BHS and most likely everyone's house in Burlingame losing about $100k in value if good teachers are departed, test scores are down and people send kids to private school, as the "PantherBoy" alleges.

Bruce Dickinson would use the momentum and brandish the money weapons as stated hypothetically above, as there are no half-wrongs. The SMUHSD is at fault, plain and simple and correcting only half the problem will still leave a bad taste in everyone's mouth and come election cycle, you can kiss that district board good-bye. The Burlingame City Council should continue to aggressively pursue Mr. Nelson's re-transfer back to BHS using all means possible.

The development fees from the new Rolling Apartments and the BHS pool/Burlingame Community center arrangement would be the top things put right back on the table, hypothetically speaking. Remember folks, Bruce Dickinson knows all angles of the negotiating table (even if it's a round one) as you don't get to the very top echelons of success without bringing your A-game to every aspect of your life, all the time, period.



The school board trustees should not be allowed to slip off the hook. The city council can do as you suggest but first the people in charge need to take charge.


Are we witnessing a whitewash?

The SMUHSD's press release on Yim's departure makes no reference to any of the conflicts and continues to claim that Yim's resignation is an independent issue.

Yim's "Dick in a Box" video had been removed from YouTube.

The rally was for Nelson, but the story was all about Yim's resignation.

There has been no comment by the district about Nelson and his future at BHS.

At the rally, BHS teachers stated that they were called to an "Emergency Faculty Meeting" on Friday morning so that Yim could announce her resignation ahead of the Rally. Sup Skelly and Asst. Sup Kirk Black just happened to be available at BHS for the "Emergency Meeting."

Its time the SMUHSD come clean and get this mess behind them. While leaving Yim on the campus may allow her to safe face, it could lead to more damage and keep Nelson off the campus.

This looks like a teacher v. principal fight where the teacher won. Is the district leadership really going to allow this to happen?

Can they get Yim off the campus and transfer Nelson as well?

Bruce Dickinson

Classic cover-up techniques, Bruce Dickinson has seen it so many times in industry. It appears that it had all to do with the Teacher vs Principal issue, as the upcoming rally, the "Dick in the Box" video removal, community, public outcry, City Council involvement, and even Yim's apparent reflective and conciliatory comments reported, which are ripped out of a guide to Public Relations 101. Literally just a couple of words from her quotes changed and could be applied to John/Jane Smith's resignation at AnyCo, Inc.

Fact of the matter is, all this will serve to make the SMUHSD look even worse. You see it time and again, much better to come clean upfront rather than cover up and face even more scrutiny. It's like cockroach extermination. When you see one, you know that there are many more hiding in the dark and good exterminators will fumigate everything until all are uncovered!

My advice to the community is think about not letting this one go, that is, press ahead, as only a half-wrong was attempted to be corrected and in a sketchy, coverup-esque manner (the other half wrong was NOT corrected!). If there are reasons for the District to keep Yim there until the end of the school year and not give Mr. Nelson his job back, those reasons should be publicly stated. Yes, it's ego-deflating and somewhat embarrassing, but this is a body designed to serve the public and the education of its children, so put on the big-boy pants and get to work!

Just a little more unsolicited, yet valued advice from yours truly, Bruce Dickinson. And guess what, it's all publicly available on this site, free of charge!


I just read this on the Daily Journal website and I was shocked, stunned, amazed and disappointed.

Under her tenure, Burlingame High School was recently acknowledged as one of the 10 best in the Bay Area, according to Niche Rankings, and among the 500 best public schools in the nation.

The reporter must be so clueless about BHS' proud tradition that is going down under this woman. Her tenure has been a disaster not something to be touted.


The whitewash continues.

Parents and students are organizing to attend the SMUHSD Board meeting tonight to support Nelson staying at BHS.

While the official word from the district that Yim's resignation is separate from Nelson's transfer, behind the scenes they are determined to make him leave. Nelson has been a strong supporter of students and a "whistleblower" on the improper behavior of the principal. (Great lesson for our students, stand up for what is right and get punished.)

Many of these problems came about under the absent leadership Superintendent Scott Lawrence who (after stating in January 2015 that he was leaving) refused to deal with any of the BHS issues and gave Yim another year at BHS when she should have been removed.

The current Superintendent has been meeting with students and parents about BHS and "his" plans for its future. That future does not include Nelson as a teacher at BHS.

Yim has effectively eradicated many/most of the traditions at BHS. There is no institutional memory connecting BHS to its past. The traditions that set BHS apart from other schools and make it part of the BHS community are about to expire.

There is a reason that 2300 students and parents from across the nation signed the petition to support Nelson and keep him at BHS.. They were all raised under the supportive and caring traditions of BHS... a school that is about to change for good.


The Voice received this communication that adds some more detail to meeting tonight. Here is the full text:

Jan 27, 2016 — Dear Panthers families:

Wiser community members have stepped forward to lead and coordinate this petition. If you are interested in working with alumni leaders in Burlingame to keep Mr. Nelson at BHS because of the good work he does there, please contact them at [email protected], especially if you can attend the School Board meeting on Thursday.

The meeting is at 7 pm at the Adult Learning Center in rooms Saturn and Venus at 789 E Poplar Ave, San Mateo,. Tel: (650) 558-2100. Please plan to be there at 6:45 pm because the public comment is usually right in the beginning. The Board members are elected representatives of the community (http://www.smuhsd.org/board). If you can prepare a brief statement saying how Mr. Nelson has supported you/your child at BHS that will be terrific! Our goal is to share the good work he has done to see if he can continue at a school. With a new principal coming on board soon, it will be even more important to keep senior teachers who know the school and community.

Current BHS student leaders met with Dr. Skelly today and say that he is interested in hearing from the community. They also plan to attend the Board meeting on Thursday.

I will continue to post updates on Change.org.

Thank you

Power to the people, not the gov't

Perhaps they should make Nelson the principal!

Chuck Prophet

A change a change is gonna come, those very words once left me numb.


Rent control and decinling schools are the best way to bring down Real Estate values

The continued demise of BHS. Just listen to the students.

"There is a clear correlation between school reputation/results and real estate values"

The students are the clear losers in all of this mess.

“I can say with great conviction that Ms. Murphy is quite possibly the worst teacher I've ever encountered. She has no passion for English and would rather spend our precious tax dollars and educational minutes, gossiping with her favorite students, leaving those who want to learn to dry. It's difficult to hire a good teacher, I understand that. But when a teacher is rude, arrogant, and patronizing? She's a teacher, alright- She's teaching us not to take intellectual leaps and not to be creative. “

“I was debating whether to take AP Lit or CP English my senior year, and the thought of having Ms. Murphy for another year led me to sign up for AP. Of all the English teachers I had at BHS, Ms. Murphy was the worst. I actually think I came out of that class knowing less about writing than I had coming in. “

“Mrs. Murphy is unarguably the worst teacher I've ever had at BHS. Not only is she snark, but she refuses to have any concern for the well-being of her students. She often refuses to give students credit for the work that they've done, leaving detrimental effects on our grades. When we try to point out her errors, she becomes dismissive and rudely cuts us off. I've had her for two years, and during my time with her, I have learned absolutely nothing.”

“Out of all the teachers at BHS Mrs Murphy has been the only teacher I have truly disliked. Her class is made up entirely of pointless in-class usually solo busy work wherein she'll rudely yell at you to shuttup while gossiping with her favorite students. Her in-class "discussions" lack depth, intellect and importance and my writing skills have if anything decreased since last year. Her know-it-all attitude and overly sassy personality make for a lousy classroom environment.”

“Ms. Murphy plays favorites more than any teacher I have ever had. She gets caught up in the idea of high school and acts like a kid, bullying the not as cool kids and sitting on the desks, talking to the popular ones. I've seen her mock kids when giving presentations and let her favorites leave early for no good reason. She gives out detentions to some while letting her favorites off the hook. Your experience in the class pretty much relies on your social status.”

“Ms. Murphy... Hm where do I begin. Burlingame high school prides itself on having well educated, helpful teachers. And for good reason. You need only to find Mr. Larkin's room or Mr. Sullivan's room. Both are very intelligent, attended great schools, and are good people. But then you HAVE MS. MURPHY. Attended some crappy school in the midwest, very rude, very unintelligent, and very boring. Peace out. Stay not a good teacher Murph.”


Here is another school ranking survey (one that I have not heard of) that puts SMUSHD 11th in the state:



I know that there are good and not so good educators. Just like cops, Doctors, and Dog Groomers.
This entire article seems like parents are getting back at "A Teacher" they had in high school through their children.
Seriously Parent, you are setting a poor example for the children.
Put on your "Big Boy Pants," and let the child grow.
Let the student work it out,

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