Monday, February 19 , 2018, 7:03 am | Fair 47º

 
 
 
 

Teachers Air Concerns About Candidate Believed to Be Finalist for Santa Maria-Bonita’s Top Job

Santa Maria-Bonita School District educators on Wednesday spoke out against the man believed to be the top candidate for the superintendent job, urging board members not to pick the person who “brings along baggage from past indiscretions or poor decision-making.”

The board is searching for a person to replace Phil Alvarado, the district’s superintendent since 2009.

Teachers believe John Ramirez Jr. is the top candidate after learning two board members and the district lawyer visited the Alisal School District in Salinas last week. Ramirez has led the Alisal district since 2010.

Several members of the Santa Maria Elementary Education Association asked the board not to hire Ramirez. 

“The selection of a superintendent is one that affects every employee of the district,” said Segura, a fourth-grade teacher and president of SMEEA. “A great candidate can elevate the successes of a district while also moving it forward. An inferior candidate can detract from what a district has accomplished and bog it down in unwanted attention and poor decision-making.”

Segura also expressed disappointment the board didn’t include classified and certificated unions in the search for a new superintendent or the visit to Salinas.

Ramirez has been the focus of a sexual harassment allegation by a former employee, votes of no confidence from two classified and certificated employee unions in 2013, an investigation into reported misuse of a district credit card and censure of his teaching credential after pleading no contest to a charge of hit-and-run.

“A superintendent is not a person who works in the shadows,” Segura said. “He or she is the voice and face of a district. Their actions, both professionally and personally, reflect on the entire district.”

He called on the board to conduct a wider and more comprehensive search.

“A wider and more comprehensive search can bring out folks who with good moral character who are not bogged down with a history of indiscretion, allegations and poor decision making,’ Segura said. 

Santa Maria-Bonita psychologist Joel Orozco formerly worked four years in the Alisal district.

“Mr. Ramirez does have strengths to present, but far too many weaknesses for us to really consider having him as our leader and representative,” Orozco said, adding there was a reason the Alisal teachers’ union cast a vote of no confidence for Ramirez. 

Ramirez recently was a candidate for the Salinas City School District job, according to the Salinas Californian

The article noted Ramirez took the helm at a tumultuous time for the Alisal district, which had been taken over by the state and has since regained local control.

However, Salinas City decided against hiring Ramirez, who told the Monterey Herald he withdrew his application.

After the statements Wednesday night, board members went into closed session where one topic involved employment of the superintendent. The closed session discussions lasted more than five hours. The board reported no action related to the superintendent search, but did say direction was given to staff.

Before that, Jody Oliver, board president, expressed appreciation for the comments from the educators who filled two-thirds of the audience.

“We have heard this. We will take them into consideration,” Oliver said, noting the board members are made up of “Santa Maria people” who have been in the district a long time. “We want you to know that we would not do anything to hurt this school district — the teachers, the students and the people of this community. We hope that you will trust us. We’re not going to be able to please everyone, but we would certainly hope that you will trust our judgment.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >