This story has been updated.
REGION — The San Dieguito Union High School District announced Tuesday night that Superintendent Robert Haley will resign his position effective this Friday, April 30.
The move was discussed during a special meeting of the SDUHSD board on Tuesday that was posted on the district’s website only the day before. The board met in closed session. However, the decision began to take shape during a regular performance review of the superintendent at a closed session meeting on Thursday, April 22, according to a source familiar with the board’s deliberations.
Haley, the source said, formulated his resignation letter over the weekend.
In its statement Tuesday, the board says it plans “to immediately begin a search for a new superintendent and will provide additional information regarding the search process at a future board meeting. The board looks forward to finding the next superintendent to lead the district.”
The board also wished Haley well.
The release from the city included no statement from Haley, who took over as superintendent in November 2018.
Haley will receive a year’s salary along with a year of health benefits upon his official resignation.
SDUHSD is accepting applicants for the position of interim superintendent. Anyone interested in the position can send their resume to the board president, Maureen Muir, via email. More details will be posted on the district website.
The SDUHSD school board is meeting again in a closed session meeting Thursday evening, April 29, to discuss an interim replacement.
During his two-plus years as superintendent, Haley has been the source of much frustration from both parents and teachers.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of teachers felt that the district, and namely Haley, had left them open to attack by a group of parents advocating for a swift return of students to the classroom.
Haley received a strong vote of no-confidence from the district’s teachers union for his leadership during the pandemic. Sources close to members of the school board also tell The Coast News that the board itself for some time has been unhappy with Haley’s performance during the pandemic.
Given the current makeup of the board, especially following the recent appointment of Ty Humes to fill the vacant Trustee Area 5 seat, teachers are worried that the new superintendent will be even less of an advocate for district faculty, according to one district teacher familiar with colleagues’ concerns.
Ginny Merrifield, the executive director of the Parent Association, which has been the strongest advocate for students returning to in-person instruction, is hoping to see a new superintendent who shows respect for the board and the public in dealing with the many issues that the district will face in the coming months.
“There are some really excellent leaders that could do the job,” Merrifield said. “So, I think this is a tremendous opportunity for this board to think clearly and deeply about the actual needs of the district and do a serious vetting and identify a candidate that will make the entire community proud. There’s a lot of healing that has to be done in this community.”
No one from the school district responded to requests for comment. Likewise, no one from the San Dieguito Faculty Association responded to requests for comment.