New Superintendent Dr. Terry Metzger Welcomes Denair Unified Staff Back to Work

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

Terry Metzger has been superintendent of the Denair Unified School District since July 1, but Monday was her first chance to introduce herself to most of her non-administrative staff. Those who haven’t met her before were treated to a fun, inspiring and illuminating presentation about their new boss.

For instance, while sitting in the Coyote Center, they watched as Metzger narrated a series of coyote photos – a pup (acknowledgement that she’s the newest employee), a playful young coyote (she likes to laugh and encourages professional humor to relieve stress), a serious adult coyote (to underscore her long-term  commitment to the district) and cartoon character Wile E. Coyote (she described her “hidden agenda” as providing every student with the best possible education, including a willingness to employ “rockets, anvils, and dynamite” to get kids to learn).

Metzger also offered personal anecdotes about her family and career, which brought her to Denair from the Rincon Valley Union School District in Santa Rosa, where she was assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction since 2012.

At one point, she flashed a photo taken on the same day a year ago. In it, she has casts on each arm, the result of a fall that broke her both elbows and led to two surgeries, including a titanium elbow replacement on her right arm. She was in the hospital for eight days and told employees Monday about “some of the lessons learned through trauma.”

One of them, Metzger said, was not to give up on your dreams even in the face of such a serious situation.

“The first thing I asked the orthopedic surgeon was, ‘I have an overseas trip planned in nine weeks. Do you think I’ll be able to go?’ ” Metzger recalled. “He told me he doubted it; a stand he took until about two weeks before my trip when he said it would be difficult but possible.

“It was the trip of a lifetime! We dialed back our expectations and I had to promise my husband I would not even ask to ride a bike while there, but it was a wonderful adventure. I still had compression sleeves, but no casts or braces.”

The day after they returned from Europe, Metzger and her family faced another harrowing situation. Sonoma County was on fire. Twice, they had to evacuate their home in Santa Rosa, each time not knowing if their neighborhood would be standing when they were allowed back in.

She showed Denair employees a photo of the Tubbs Fire, in which 24 people died and nearly 5,000 homes were destroyed last fall.

Metzger’s home in eastern Santa Rosa was saved, but she knew many people who lost everything. She said the experience taught her the value of community, about friends and neighbors being there for each other in the worst circumstances many will ever face. She said that community spirit – which she already has seen in Denair – is an important component of quality schools.

Metzger also shared some of her learning philosophies, gleaned from more than 30 years as a teacher and administrator. She talked about the ways students learn in and out of the classroom, and encouraged her staff to strive for “cognitive conflict,” which she defines as a collegial culture that promotes professional growth.

The new superintendent can’t wait for classes to begin Wednesday. Asked her plans, she said: “I will choose joy by visiting each school and joining in the first-day excitement. I can’t wait to start meeting students and their families!”

Denair School Schedules

  • DECA: 8 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.
  • DMS: 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
  • DHS: 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
  • Bus questions: (209) 632-9917

DUSD Graduation Ceremony Information


Submitted by Denair Unified School District

Graduation season is upon us! Below is a comprehensive listing of all Denair Unified School District graduation ceremonies. None of the events require tickets for entry.

The Denair Charter Academy 8th Grade promotion ceremony will take place on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, at 6:00 pm, in the Denair Middle School Coyote Center. Doors open at 5:30 pm.

Denair Charter Academy will be will be presenting the Class of 2015 on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, at 7:30 pm, at Jack Lytton Stadium. Gates open at 7:00 pm.

The Denair Middle School 8th Grade graduation will take place on Thursday, May 28, 2015, at 7:00 pm, at Jack Lytton Stadium. Gates open at 6:00 pm.

Denair High School will be presenting the Class of 2015 on Friday, May 29, 2015, at 7:30 pm, at Jack Lytton Stadium. Gates open at 6:00 pm.

DUSD Bands Off and Running

MS Band Students

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

Under the direction of substitute music teacher Ms. Julie Mefferd, Denair High School and Denair Middle School band students began practice this week. Within two days of the start of the school year, students already had instruments in hand.

Denair High School band, which currently has 21 students, began warm ups immediately. Student Band President, Andrew Knapp, said many band students felt rusty after not playing their instruments over the summer. He led warm-ups the first two days. Ms. Mefferd commented last week that the high school band is ready for Pep Band performances at home football games, the first of which is August 29, 2014. The band is polishing its “Imperial March” song from the movie Star Wars and rehearsing “The Star Spangled Banner” which they plan to perform at half time of the Homecoming Game October 24.

Middle School Band, which has approximately 50 students, began practice last Wednesday. Ms. Mefferd set the students in concert formation and began sectional warm ups on a practice piece. Students continue to work on fundamentals. Those who have their own instruments are encouraged to bring them everyday.

On August 19, 2014, Denair Unified School District hired retired band director Mr. Donald Thissen, to replace Ms. Cathy George, who left the district this summer. Mr. Thissen, an accomplished trombone player, has taught music K-12 including jazz and concert band and marching band.

Denair Unified School District Passes Budget

DUSD_logo-SmallDenair school trustees passed a lean budget Thursday night while reassuring community members that the district is committed to sustained academic excellence even as it keeps a watchful eye on expenses.

After hearing an analysis by the district’s financial team, trustees voted 4-0 to pass the $8.15 million budget for 2014-15. The district expects to have a $130,000 deficit, but will not require any financial assistance from the Stanislaus County Office of Education. The past two years, the county office loaned the district $2.4 million to prevent state takeover.

By 2015-16, Denair officials expect to have about $370,000 more in revenue than expenses.

“We want to let parents know that we’re not just in survival mode,” Trustee John Plett said after the meeting. “We want the highest quality classes in arts, in math, in science, in English; we’ve not lost sight of that. We’ve hit a speed bump the past couple of years, but students still can get a quality education here.”

Plett joined Trustees Kathi Dunham-Filson, Carolyn Brown and Robert Hodges in passing the budget. Trustee Sandi Dirkse was absent.

“Even though the budget is lean, nothing has been taken away,” said Dunham-Filson. “We still do music. We still do languages. We still do ag. We still do many programs.” Continue reading “Denair Unified School District Passes Budget” »

Elite Drum and Bugle Corps Training in Denair

Santa Clara VanguardClass may be out for the summer, but the staccato beat of drums, the blare of horns and an array of colorful flags are filling the air around two Denair campuses this week.

The Vanguard Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps from Santa Clara once again are using the grassy fields and other facilities in Denair to prepare for the summer competition season. It is the fifth consecutive year the 146-member organization has held a weeklong camp at the adjoining high school and middle school sites.

“The relationship between Denair and Vanguard has been positive and has generated interest to the degree that folks will stop by to watch and inquire,” said Aaron Rosander, superintendent of the Denair Unified School District.

Last year, the camp provided a springboard to the Drum Corps International Open Class Championship, which the Bay Area group won for the second time.

“The Vanguard Cadets are honored to once again spend time here in Denair. We have always been treated so wonderfully and want to give much thanks to the district office personnel and school administration,” said Steve Barnhill, the corps’ director.

The connection to Denair was established by Vanguard’s CEO a few years ago, Barnhill said, and has worked out perfectly. Continue reading “Elite Drum and Bugle Corps Training in Denair” »