Scandal plagued school superintendent replaced
February 12, 2010
By KAREN VELIE
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.