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District removes San Antonio High School principal, reasons unclear

 

Steven Boyd, the principal of San Antonio High School and Community Day School, has been removed from his administrative position and reassigned to a position at the Claremont Unified School District’s district office.

The news first came to light at the Thursday, June 21 school board meeting when, during the public comment period, 2 community members spoke to express their dismay at the reassignment of the administrator of the local continuation high school.

Neither the CUSD board or administrators at the meeting addressed Mr. Boyd’s reassignment.

After first acknowledging that he is a personal friend of Mr. Boyd’s, Russ Frank, a director at the Riverside County Office of Education, said that sheer numbers point to the success of the San Antonio High School (SAHS) program under Mr. Boyd. He compared SAHS with 4 continuation high schools in the region and found that, among other coups, the Claremont school has the lowest dropout rate.

Mr. Boyd was a teacher at San Antonio High School from 1996 to 2002, then served as vice principal at El Roble Intermediate from 2002 to 2004. Since that time, he has helmed SAHS and its associated Community Day School. The district is currently flying the school’s head administrative position on EdJoin, a website database used to promote open positions within CUSD, as well as 3 teacher positions for the subjects of biology, social science and English. The annual salary for Mr. Boyd’s replacement is listed as $100,799 to $117,798, according to EdJoin.

SAHS has been on an upswing in recent years, Mr. Frank noted. In the past 2 years, he pointed out, the school’s suspension rate has been significantly reduced. Student proficiency as measured by the CAHSEE high school exit exam has risen by some 60 percent over the past 2 years.

Mr. Frank’s wife Barbara then took to the podium to attest to the emotional component of Mr. Boyd’s connection with students. She cited the remarkable amount of “buy-in” San Antonio High School students now exhibit, much of which she attributes to the high level of “communication, respect and appreciation” that they receive from Mr. Boyd. At San Antonio, kids who were once struggling have been finally able to find “academic cusses, social success and self-esteem” and, on a quite practical level, to develop a post-secondary plan.

 “There aren’t many kids who have gone to Mr. Boyd’s school who don’t appreciate him and know that he was their number-one advocate,” Ms. Frank said.

Aimee Orcasitas, who served as student representative on the school board this past semester, spoke as student representative at the recent Claremont High School/SAHS graduation. She devoted much of her talk to praising the way Mr. Boyd “welcomed her with open arms,” and the way the school dispelled her notions of what a continuation school should be.

In a subsequent graduation address, a choked-up Mr. Boyd thanked students for allowing him to be “your principal, your part-time dad and your friend.”

As a possible foreshadowing of the district’s move, board member Hilary LaConte was sharply critical of Mr. Boyd’s end-of-year Single Plan for Student Achievement presentation at the CUSD board meeting of June 6, requesting that data relating to the 89 students at SAHS be broken down by subgroup. Board member Mary Caenepeel scrutinized details of his presentation by requesting that Mr. Boyd “state numbers rather than percentages” in his future reports to the board.

Also at the June 6 meeting, CUSD board member Steven Llanusa encouraged that, beyond the numbers, Mr. Boyd include highlighting the success of “whole child” programs held at the high school, such as the Thanksgiving Feast and Garden-to-Table event.

At the end of the school board meeting, Mike Bateman, assistant director of student services for the district, directed queries with regards to the district’s decision to the superintendent’s office.

In a phone call on Friday, Mr. Llanusa echoed that direction, noting that “These things are based on superintendent recommendations.”

It is not known whether insufficient performance or other reasons have been cited as to why Mr. Boyd has been removed. A Friday morning call to Superintendent Jim Elsasser had not yet been returned as of press time but that was unsurprising, given that the district office is closed on Friday’s during summer hours.

The COURIER will follow up with district administrators and board members next week to allow them to respond.

—Sarah Torribio

storribio@claremont-courier.com

 

 

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