Former AUHSD Superintendent Elizabeth Novack

Former AUHSD Superintendent Elizabeth Novack

As readers know, the Anaheim Union High School District Board of Trustees recently fired Superintendent Elizabeth Novack for no stated reason (but apparently no one at the district knows how to remove her from the website), and will now have to pay her a full year’s salary and pay the interim superintendent a reported $900 a day while looking for a permanent replacement.

I’ve been looking into the matter (the district PIO never responded to my inquiries) and the picture I am getting is this headhunting expedition was led by Trustee Katherine Smith, who didn’t like that Novack was a strong superintendent. [This is the same Katherine Smith who filed a complaint with the OC District Attorney against Jordan Brandman shortly before the 2012 council election, because she didn’t know why he was using his personal computer in a breakroom during breaks in AUHSD Board of Trustee meetings (Brandman was her board colleague at the time). The complaint came to nothing because there was nothing there, but her conveniently timed complaint allowed the OC GOP, the OCEA and the Tait family to hit Brandman with mailers claiming he was “being criminally investigated by the DA.”]

In any case, Novack’s supporters have been rallying. Here’s an e-mail that went out yesterday regarding tonight’s meeting of the AUHSD Board of Trustees:

AUHSD Stakeholder,

Tomorrow evening [Thursday, December 12] is a rather important meeting for the AUHSD. As many of you now know, Dr. Elizabeth Novack’s contract was terminated without cause. This termination was done at the discretion of the Board of Trustees and was executed swiftly without input of the stakeholders.

Our community has come to appreciate the tremendous efforts of Dr. Novack, and as a product of our district she was a clear example of the potential of an AUHSD education. While it is within the Board of Trustees authority to terminate the superintendent without cause it was done so irresponsibly. With Dr. Novack’s Termination, she will continue to be paid the rest of her salary and will cost the district approximately $250,000.00. As well, the board will need to find a new superintendent, and until a permanent replacement is found they are paying the interim Superintendent $900.00 per day.

The termination of Dr. Novack is a prime example of the board of Trustees failure of fiduciary responsibility. As parents, students, teachers, community members, and stakeholders we deserve an explanation behind this blatant act of irresponsibility, more so than, “The board wanted to move in a new direction”.

Tomorrow [Thursday, December 12] is your opportunity to address the board personally and demand the answers we deserve. As our elected officials, are they truly acting in the best interest of the district? No. Was the decision to terminate Dr. Novack based on empirical facts and logic? No.

Tomorrow please attend the AUHSD School Board meeting to address your concerns. When arriving you can pick up a fill out a speakers card (blue paper at the right side of the entrance to chambers), which will allow you to personally address the Board. If you are unhappy with the actions of the Board in terminating a crucial advocate for our children’s learning, please attend and show your support of Dr. Novack, and disapproval of the actions of our elected officials.

Below please find a letter to the AUHSD teacher from a AUHSD teacher.

Dear Fellow Teachers,

I sent the following and attached letter to Pat Karlak expressing my anger over the termination of Dr. Novack. If you agree, send your own letter and let’s show up the the board room next Thursday to express our concern.

Thanking you,

Paul Schiada, teacher in AUHSD for 36 years

Dear Brian O’Neal,

Respectfully, at a time when Dr. Novack and her cabinet have been moving our district out of the worst financial crisis in memory, and when we are successfully being guided to implement the new Common Core Standards, we have terminated our Dr. Liz Novack without cause.

This is a very short-sighted decision that the Board has made, and it affects every staff member, teacher, students and parents in the AUHSD community.

We now have to pick up the tab for Dr. Novack’s salary for this year and next, plus pay the interim superintendent an extra $900/day, plus an additional cost for the consulting fee for searching for a new superintendent, plus the salary of that person that eventually replaces Dr. Nocack. This is a huge waste of taxpayer money that should be spent on students in the classroom. In a time of fiduciary tightness, this seems unwise.

Dr. Novack has turned morale into a positive with the majority of decisions that she made. This is a devastating decision for our district. I know that Brian O’Neal and Anna Piercy did not vote for termination because of their wisdom and expertise. I am now asking the remaining board members to share with the entire district why you voted to terminate. We deserve an answer to this question. We finally had a team spirit back in AUHSD, thanks to the leadership of Dr. Novack.

Let’s pull together and make decisions that are good for the entire district, not just one school, Oxford Academy.

I look forward to further conversations with you, either individually or collectively at your earliest possible convenience. My phone is 714-408-0324 and can be reached at any time.

Thanking you,

Paul Schiada, Teacher

Please join us tomorrow night at The AUHSD Board of Trustee Meeting 6pm Thursday. December 12th, 2013

501 Crescent Way Anaheim

Please forward this message to any AUHSD stakeholder

Lori Dinwiddie