Scandal plagued school superintendent replaced

February 12, 2010

Dean Smith


Superintendent Dean Smith has been replaced, at least temporarily, following a school board meeting in which San Miguel Joint Union School District board members reviewed the results of an investigation that delved into issues about Smith’s relationship with a teenage girl and his job performance.

Following the two-hour closed session Thursday night, board president Meg Brooks announced that the board had voted to appoint Vice Principal Marshall Dennis as the interim superintendent. When asked if the board had terminated Smith, Brooks said that further actions are pending.

The investigation was prompted by allegations, first reported by CalCoastNews, that Smith had been seen spending time with an underage former student we will call “Anne.” Shortly after “Anne” turned 18, she was photographed in public, intimate exchanges with Smith.

In 2003, Smith, then principal of Templeton Middle School, first met and began spending time with “Anne,” a sixth grader. Former teachers describe how Smith favored the child and asked her teachers to do the same.

Following the closed session, officials of the teachers’ association provided the board with a teacher rating report, in which numerous educators voiced their displeasure with Smith. Of those responding to the anonymous survey about Smith’s performance, the majority claimed that Smith was dishonest and did not conduct himself in a professional manner.

The survey also provided a platform for the teachers to write short statements about the school and the superintendent’s performance. The following are five examples of partial teacher comments about Smith:

“I would like the superintendent to go away. He is unfit for the job, quit immediately.”

“He is always out with the junior high kids. I do not see him with the younger students during their recess time. Discipline issues are handled inconsistently.”

“He is prejudiced and has no business working in a district where 70 percent of our students are low income and Mexican. As he has stated, ‘Our district is in PI (program improvement) due to the fact that our district is poor and brown.’”

“His dishonesty, lack of confidentiality, laziness and lack of professionalism is very evident. He is disrespectful to teachers, the school board, parents and the community.”

“The superintendent appears to rely on other to guide him and give suggestions on how to move the school along. He seems to have ‘checked out’ and does not care about what goes on right now.”

During the closed door session, board members discussed Smith’s performance, discipline and possible release, according to the agenda. Members said they did not know when the issues would be resolved and, because of the Brown Act, are not permitted to discuss the issue at this time.

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It’s is possible that Smith suffers from some serious brain issues such as a tumor. I have read and heard of such things where there was a 180 degree turn in a person’s behavior. I’m not excusing or trying to justify, just remarking that things aren’t always as they seem on the surface.

I read this and thought, “Well, at least he’d have an excuse,” until I realized what a humongous insult this would be to those who are actually afflicted.

I hope Cal Coast continues to follow up on this one, because the Trib and North County newspapers aren’t touching this one within an inch of their circulation. Shame.

Although I do not know who “Anne” is, I would bet she has no father or other positive role model in her life. Having been mentored by this predator since she was a child, the attention and “love” she got from this “father figure” is now all twisted up with her blossoming sexuality. There is no way I girl/teenager/woman of 18 can begin to make rational decisions after the years she has been subjected to this twisted relationship. Someday she will need years of therapy to unravel the twisted knot Mr. Smith has made of her life. As a mature woman, I can now look back to my own life and say that growing up in a fatherless home would have made me a prime candidate for what “Anne ” is going through now. Thank goodness for me I was not the victim of a sick predator.

This is an open letter to Dean Smith’s wife….Please know that there are many, many people in this community who know you from TES, church and just within the community who care for you, love and respect you. You have no reason to feel embarrassment or shame because of your husbands behavior. We who consider you a friend or acquaintance continue to pray for you and hope that you feel our caring and support, and that you can find peace in your heart that surpasses all understanding. Hold your head high and do not let another persons behavior change who you are…an exceptional teacher and a wonderful woman.

I guess he can now start collecting his $140,000. a year pension.

It is clear from what has been said that a whole lot of folks knew about this guy long before he was caught… actually, to be fair, he ‘outed’ himself with this barely legal gal.

Rather than going on a witch hunt to find all the mandated reporters (teachers, et al) who should have phoned this guy in… it presents what they call an excellent ‘educateable moment’ to reemphasize that if questionable situations arise between administrators/ coaches and teachers with their underage students, it is their responsibility, obligation and a requirement that they report it. By the way, there are stiff penalties for knowingly not report a problem.

The right action was taken… but the lesson needs to be sent to everyone.

Roger Freberg

The teachers didn’t report it because there was nothing to report. If things were as bad as they say, they would have reported. Obviously, the teachers didn’t like him and are now “creating” a “story” to have him fired. The article states that “she was photographed in public, intimate exchanges with Smith”…these have never seen the light of day. There is no proof. The writer of this article is biased and had no proof of anything, but has written all of this to create a great story. She needs to be fired. She needs to check her resources and needs facts before trying to destroy lives.

IF the story had the facts and evidence…THEN action should be taken. The people involved are being tried in public court with no evidence. You’ve heard the saying, Innocent until proven Guilty. Just listening to the voices of teachers and their stories, doesn’t not make it true. His love for kids has been mistaken for loving on the kids. Shame on those teachers.