Superintendent under investigation for inappropriate relationship with student

December 13, 2009

templeton highBy KAREN VELIE

San Miguel Joint Union School District board officials have hired an investigator to look into allegations that 55-year-old Supt. Dean Smith had an inappropriate relationship with a former student.

“The school board is concerned and they are investigating, but we are not permitted to discuss the issue at this time,” a board member said.

Smith, a former Baptist minister, recently left his wife of more than 30 years for “Anne” (not her real name), a young woman he began “mentoring” while she was in the sixth grade. Supporters of Smith claim the relationship did not become intimate until after she turned 18.

Earlier this year, board members took their concerns to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department. The investigation, which included interviews with Smith, “Anne” and her mother, concluded that nothing illegal occurred.

“We found no evidence of criminal activity,” said Rob Bryn, sheriff’s public information officer.

CalCoastNews tried to contact “Anne” for comment, but she could not be located.

Smith, who has been the head of the San Miguel School Joint Unified School District for four years, did not respond to requests for comment from CalCoastNews.

Despite the fact that the sheriff’s probe found no illegal activity, some board members and law enforcement officials nevertheless question the thoroughness of the sheriff’s investigation. Just hours after the first report had been made to law enforcement, someone allegedly warned Smith about the impending investigation.

Sheriff Deputy Clinton Cole, the officer assigned to the San Miguel Joint Unified School District beat, is a friend of Smith’s, and at one time lived on Smith’s property.

CalCoastNews interviewed more than a dozen teachers, school officials and law enforcement officials while gathering information for this article. Many have asked to remain unnamed because district officials have asked them not to discuss the issue.

Smith, then principal of Templeton Middle School, first met and began spending time with “Anne” when she was in sixth grade in about 2003. One teacher describes how Smith would ask her to treat the girl differently than the other students.

“He was very protective of her,” the unnamed teacher said, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing her job. “He said she came from a troubled home.”

Smith continued his relationship with the girl after he left Templeton Middle School for his current superintendent position in San Miguel. According to co-workers, Smith would explain that he spent time “mentoring” the girl because she was facing serious health problems and had a problematic home life that included an uncle who had been imprisoned for allegedly molesting her.

“Anne” graduated from Templeton High School in June, shortly after she turned 18. In July, Smith took her to a San Luis Obispo County Office of Education board meeting in which school officials discussed inter-district transfer agreements. When some of his fellow area superintendents realized the teenager accompanying Smith was not his niece, they began questioning what Smith was doing there with the teenager.

“He groomed this young lady for this,” a local school superintendent said.

Last month, Smith and “Anne” arrived hand in hand to the yearly Elegant Evening in Paso Robles, where some onlookers questioned the San Miguel superintendent’s behavior as “inappropriate” for a ranking school official.

“He was grabbing her. .  . ,” a school official said. “I find this scandalous.”

Meanwhile, some concerned parents have pulled their children from the district as investigators continue to look into when the relationship became intimate.

“Anne’s” MySpace comments report that she is in a relationship, though she does not mention who her boyfriend is or when the relationship began.

She does, however, provide an “About Me” profile that describes her feelings about school.

“I can’t stand school,” she says. “I’m just trying to get by. I’m ready to move on with life. I hate hearing the alarm in the morning just to know that the only thing my day holds is school filled with nonsense and ridiculousness. I reach for the day when I get to say goodbye Templeton High, it has been nice knowing you….”







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143 Comments

  1. Elle says:

    This is completely ridiculous! I can’t believe that people find gratitude in tearing others down with such unbelievable slander. This piece is nothing but lies and when the investigation is over and he’s clean you guys will feel stupid.

    (-26) 40 Total Votes - 7 up - 33 down
    • zaphod says:

      when the investigation is over and he’s clean you guys will feel stupid
      How many times have we heard this before?
      CCN has never had to retract a story, watch for the follow up story in the Tribune.

      (17) 31 Total Votes - 24 up - 7 down
      • Elle says:

        Well, that’s why there is a first for everything.

        (-17) 23 Total Votes - 3 up - 20 down
        • cheseburger says:

          Elle people do find gratitude, in tearing, others, (pants) down, 55 hand in hand with 18, this could be his granddaughter, he is a sexual predator, this has been going on for sometime, probably before she was 18, and it will be brought to light and uncovered, the guy on the news arrested for unlawful sex with a minor, he met on the internet, has a closer age gap then this superintendent, when this is over he will be a gas station attendant hopefully! He abused a position of trust, parents should boycott by pulling all the kids from the school for a week, lost revenue from the state, the water will get hotter then, the chese, says give all the students an extra week of X-mas and watch the faculty turn on him. Money talks, perverts run!

          (-2) 20 Total Votes - 9 up - 11 down
          • Dauntless says:

            It sounds to me that Dean Smith should be commended. His relationship with this student could very well be appropriate. It sounds like he was merely looking after her as she went through some seriously trying times in her personal life. Having a friendly bond after an ordeal like that hardly merits it being inappropriate! Templeton has often been synonymous with close knit, small town values. I see a pack of gossips and back biters preying on an upstanding public servant who went the extra mile to help someone in need. When this all clears up and Dean is found to be in the clear I will relish seeing those with their accusatory fingers put in their places as Justice runs it’s course. Shame on you all for attacking one of your own.

            (-16) 36 Total Votes - 10 up - 26 down
          • inmyopinion says:

            please do not pull children from school…not only is this more devastating to them, but the school suffers monetarily (especially in this state’s budget fiasco) for the actions of one man. Yanking kids from school is NOT the answer to this issue, investigation and facts ARE the answer!

            (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
    • kenya says:

      I’ve worked for the Templeton School District, the students who go their are children. I don’t care if they have just graduated or not. Theirs a code of ethics that we all must abide bye. Dean has crossed this line, If some one is having fellings for a student then you need to distance himself and get a different type of job. Never leave a wolf in a chicken coop. This would not have been a story if Dean would have retired from the education field. I hope the Smith family can get beyond the pain that Deans poor judgement has inflicted.

      (17) 27 Total Votes - 22 up - 5 down
      • Elle says:

        Your spelling is awful.
        Mr. Smith has never been a hazard to students in the past and remains to be. This “child” is an adult. If they can be held accountable for their actions in the sight of the law then they can also walk on their own two feet in this case as well. And besides, there is yet to be any proof to this article.

        (-18) 30 Total Votes - 6 up - 24 down
        • zaphod says:

          Word: gratification

          (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
        • cheseburger says:

          Elle you write “This “child” is an adult.”, maybe she is now, but the frontal lobe of a teenager’s brain, is not fully developed until sometime after twenty, they lack judgment and so does this delusional superintendent, if he encroached on this young woman before she was eighteen, he may be doing some jail time! And to pick on Kenya for a typo is childish, are you eighteen too, and wish you were her. I know you have no sense of write or wrong, and if you have a daughter how would you like this inflicted on her! When she is 28 he will be 65, is this fare to the girl? And 38, 75 and impotent! You can’t win this one but keep trying, the chese loves a good debate, as much as this pervert loves little girls!

          (1) 15 Total Votes - 8 up - 7 down
          • Use_it_or_Lose_it says:

            Brains are developed at 25 years.

            (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
          • defined says:

            first of all i am close with both of these individuals AS WELL as this ADULT’S mother and there are no issues. god forbid this happens to your child? that is such a ridiculous statement. stop thriving on others “problems.” and besides- they are just friends anyway and he is in no way preying on her and didn’t when she was under the legal age either.

            (-2) 14 Total Votes - 6 up - 8 down
          • Vagabond says:

            “The frontal lobe of a teenager’s brain, is not fully developed until sometime after twenty,”
            Gee, and we let them enlist in the services and get killed. but OH MY GHOD! let one have sex with another adult thats “too old” for your made up set of morality and it’s a major problem.
            Booty is right, the N. County is suffering from inbreeding.

            (-3) 5 Total Votes - 1 up - 4 down
          • LimeJuice says:

            Your acting as though she is commited to him until shes 38.

            (-2) 2 Total Votes - 0 up - 2 down
      • Dauntless says:

        I find it ironic that you worked in the school district your spelling is so atrocious.

        (-1) 9 Total Votes - 4 up - 5 down
    • Dauntless says:

      I agree with you. This man’s reputation is too valuable for us to stand by and let slanderous people drag his name through the mud. We won’t have this.

      (-4) 22 Total Votes - 9 up - 13 down
      • Archangel says:

        This man’s reputation is false! Every thing we knew about him was, and is a lie! This man isn’t worth slanderous people like yourself standing up for him!

        (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
    • Janette8 says:

      Elle- I am new to posting my own opinion on CCN (only because there’s really nothing worth voicing it over except for this subject) I’ve read top to bottom everyones postings. Some, yes are a little ridiculous but others are fair and true.
      You say that this “Piece” is nothing but lies and when the investigation is over and he’s clean you guys will feel stupid.
      And I say, I think you’ve yet to understand and know what is happening and being talked about here.
      The article that starts this whole page off may have some things in it (like all articles) that aren’t true. But I will say what is TRUE because I’ve seen, herd and watched it with my own eyes and ears. And which are all very disturbing.
      Mr. Smith showing special attention to a underaged girl.
      Mr. Smith being in a relation (NOT A FRIENDSHIP) with a NOW 18 year old girl. ( i put now is caps only to say this. June when she graduated and turned 18 was only 6 moths ago. So don’t tell me you think that with in a 6 month time span their relationship grew that fast)
      Mr. Smith and Anne walking around holding hands, touching each other for all whose around to see.
      Mr. Smith being in a another relations ship with another women while being married.
      Mr. Smith being a superintendent, principal for an elementary- middle school wrongly flaunting a immoral relationship in public for all to see.
      These are all very “wrong” to me. If we were to take away the article thats posted at the top and lay out the points that I KNOW to be true wouldn’t you too think that this man has done something wrong?If you can still say you honestly don’t think he’s is the wrong then I would have to say that I think there might be something wrong with your thinking.

      (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
  2. Booty JuJu says:

    Something doesn’t add up here. The piece mentions a religious nutter of some sky pixie persuasion. From north county. With a daughter-aged girl. In a school / religious setting.

    How is this news worthy?

    I just don’t see how this resonates with your target audience. In fact, I expect the majority of the locals, and posters here, would admire the discipline required to maintain the focus of such enthusiasms intraspecies, wouldn’t you?

    (-15) 27 Total Votes - 6 up - 21 down
    • mccdave says:

      Aren’t sex crimes a common theme on this website? Hard to say whether this is due to tabloid instinct or a bad personal experience of the proprietors.

      But this makes the McMartin Preschool case, which the local TV news in L.A. covered around the clock for ten years, look like an episode of Sesame Street.

      (-7) 13 Total Votes - 3 up - 10 down
  3. issp says:

    Deputy Cole never “…lived in Smith’s home.” That is an outright lie, or at best a statement of an untruth. It is sad that so many are willing to waste time dragging people through the mud, casting stones, and/or even expressing an opinion when they don’t know the facts. Even worse is that you may feel you’re getting the facts from this site.

    (-5) 31 Total Votes - 13 up - 18 down
  4. cheseburger says:

    Kudo’s to the San Miguel School Board for hiring a special investigator and not sweeping this under the carpet ( like the Atascadero School Board has done with Rossi’s misappropriation of tax dollars) the chese endorses this comment, and ads this type of thing happens all the time,,,,,,, in freaking third world countries,,,,,,, hope he fries like a fish on hot sand! And the tip off,,, definitely unacceptable,,,,,,, you know what comes next,,,,,, she gets pregnant! She is a victim! No wrong doing my ass!!!!!! Kudos to cal coast for having the guts to print this story,,,,, wonder when we will be abducted and jailed, for speaking out, anybody else scared of the people who run this county?????? Please reply!

    (1) 21 Total Votes - 11 up - 10 down
    • Moderator says:

      .Cheseburger you need to learn how to reply to,rather than repeat a previous comment. make use of the reply button a little more please.

      (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
      • cheseburger says:

        Got it, my mistake, I caught myself a few times but it was to late,if you had given me back my delete button, I could of fixed it, and how come “I” can’t vote I get no thumbs what’s the secret to voting? And I too have a young wife and daughter, but not that freaking young and I’m not that freaking old either. One thing is for sure I don’t have as much freaking money as the superintendent, this is why this blog is heart felt by me I can relate and am getting older, is it fare to the girl, she will be changing his diapers before long!

        (-1) 9 Total Votes - 4 up - 5 down
  5. Karen Velie says:

    I will be on the Dave Congalton KVEC show at 5 p.m. to discuss this issue. Turn your radio to 920 AM or listen live at http://www.920kvec.com.

    (-1) 21 Total Votes - 10 up - 11 down
  6. Bluebird says:

    Kudo’s to the San Miguel School Board for hiring a special investigator and not sweeping this under the carpet ( like the Atascadero School Board has done with Rossi’s misappropriation of tax dollars). At best Smith is guilty of poor judgment, at worst he is guilty of grooming and exploiting vulnerable students for his own predatory gratification and should be exposed so he can’t move from school district to school district with impunity. If he decides to return to his previous employment the Baptist Church can deal with him.

    (10) 24 Total Votes - 17 up - 7 down
  7. Dexter says:

    As if the Atascadero principal story wasn’t bad enough … Now this!

    This guy needs to be fully investigated.

    Templeton School District is wonderful and it sounds like they tried to alert the law of the problem but something went sideways in the investigation. Did the Deputy investigate his landlord? I hope that wasn’t the case.

    How in the world did this guy get a Superintendent job in San Miguel? Wasn’t there a vetting? Most everyone here in Templeton knew of the problem. San Miguel needs to do a complete an assessment of this hiring practice. PLEASE !!!! …. We owe it to the kids !!!!

    (1) 23 Total Votes - 12 up - 11 down
    • kittie says:

      Thank You!!! If we as children knew it in 1993 then wtf were the adults doing… praying that he’d just go away!!

      (0) 8 Total Votes - 4 up - 4 down
  8. Use_it_or_Lose_it says:

    This sounds very much like grooming and like he did a very good job of it. How can Dean’s friends possibly “know” they were not intimate? If Deputy Cole tipped Dean off, how will that be proved and what will come of it? I fear nothing. Maybe he can expand his role to include being a secret agent tipper-offer for the select public, tape record officers at table dancing events, and have an affair with Ace Reporter Karen Velie so she goes easy on him in the future. Thanks for the thorough reporting, Karen.

    (3) 23 Total Votes - 13 up - 10 down
    • kittie says:

      HAHA You are funny “secret agent tipper-offer” hopefully I’ll be able to use that soon:)

      (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
    • dover49 says:

      I know for a fact that deputy Cole did not live in Dean’s house or tip him off. Also, do you think that deputy Cole or any law enforcement officer that is a mandated reporter would risk his reputaion or job for a friend or anyone else that was involved in this kind of behaviior. As far as deputy Cole tipping Dean off; again why on earth would he risk his job and everything else he has worked for, for such a stupid man. Why in the world does this reporter not get her facts correct before she prints her so called investigative report.

      (-2) 10 Total Votes - 4 up - 6 down
      • Bud says:

        dover49 your facts are slightly correct, Deputy Cole didn’t live in the house, he lived in a motor home on the Smith Ranch.
        dover49 you have never felt that someone helped you out when you were down, and going through a bad time yourself, so you returned the favor when that person was going through a hard time. When you trust a friend you want to help them.
        I think Deputy Cole was struck by this mans “charm” just like everyone else, and trusted that he wasn’t involved with this girl when the investigation began. If Dean could fool the Deputy who he worked with everyday how was anyone else supposed to know?

        (2) 10 Total Votes - 6 up - 4 down
        • Janette8 says:

          All I have to say about Deputy Cole is that I have had the pleasure of working with him. He is a funny, trust worthy, honorable guy. I think this whole situation with Mr. Smith needs to stay on just that “Mr. Smith” and not on who did or who didn’t tip him about being investigated. Even if he did get tipped by him what dose it matter? Every one has seen him and Anne together. He has publicly said they are seeing each other. That in its self should be all the SLO Community needs to remove him from his position. Unless that is if he’s willing to stop and change and fix what he’s done.

          (-3) 5 Total Votes - 1 up - 4 down

Comments are closed.