Should A District Superintendent Participate In School Board Member Campaigns?

Left-wing political activist Al Jabbar held a kick-off fundraiser this week as he seeks another term on the Anaheim Union High School District (AUHSD) Board of Education. Prominently in attendance was AUHSD Superintendent Michael Matsuda:

AUSHD Superintendent Mike Matsuda attending campaign fundraiser for AUHSD Board President Al Jabbar


Progressive comrades: AESD Trustee and AUHSD teacher Ryan Ruelas; AUSHD Superintendent Matsuda; AUHSD Board President and county unionista Al Jabbar

Matsuda’s presence isn’t surprising. He is a committed progressive political activist and part of a tight-knit alliance of left-wing Democrat activists in central Orange County – such as Jabbar, Anaheim Councilman Jose F. Moreno, AESD Trustee Ryan Ruelas, Garden Grove School Board member Walter Muneton and legion of others.

Nonetheless, is it appropriate for a school district superintendent to be endorse candidates for the district’s Board of Trustees, and be involved in their election campaigns? By his actions, Matsuda is trying to pick his bosses – a matter that is reserved for the voters.

Look at it this way: would it be appropriate for Orange County CEO Frank Kim to endorse candidates for the Orange County Board of Supervisors? Would it be appropriate for the Anaheim city manager to campaign for Anaheim city council candidates?  Reasonable people would answer “no.” They prefer school administrators to focus on running a good school district rather than influencing their school board elections.

This is symptomatic of how politicized the AUHSD has become since Matsuda was appointed superintendent in May of 2014. The AUHSD has become ground zero in Orange County for opposition to charter schools. In December 2015, Matsuda and his board members co-wrote an op-ed maligning charter schools, mangling history and calling for a halt to further charter schools in Orange County. Under Matsuda, a growing number of AUHSD schools offer course in racial/ethnic identity politics – aka “Ethnic Studies” – even down to the junior high level.

The line between politics and educating youth have been become so blurred in the Anaheim Union High School District that it seems perfectly normal – at least to Matsuda, Jabbar, Ruelas, Moreno and the rest of their progressive crew – for a school superintendent get involved in the campaigns of candidates for his governing board of trustees. After all, everything is political for these guys.


  1. 100% inappropriate!

  2. Definitely creates the appearance of an unethical conflict of interest.

  3. Outrageous! Where is the damn FBI??

  4. It’s very inappropriate on the surface, but when you dig deeper it’s criminal and worthy of an FBI investigation.
    Matsuda not only supports his bosses that should be trustees for the public, but he directs public money to be spent to help with their campaigns. Our former principal stood up to Ryan Rueles.. Now Anaheim High is in much worse shape as Ryan gets what ever he wants and you better believe all the resources necessary will be directed to help Jose Moreno and Annemarie Randle Trejo get Re elected. At this point it’s a free pass for Jabbar and Rueles because nobody has signed up against them.
    Brian O’Neil and Ana Piercy has it right when they originally voted against hiring Matsuda. Now that Kathryn Smith has admitted she made a mistake by voting for Matsuda it’s time this board fixes this situation before it’s too late and they all go to jail.

  5. As the next Mayor of Anaheim, I plan to proactively advocate with parents, students, and educators for smaller class sizes, school choice, school vouchers, and directly authorizing charter schools.

    I will not be a silent, unseen and nowhere to found politician that in turn is a silent supporter of doing “business as usual” for our city-government and schools districts. I will not remain silent or allow such questionable, suspicious and concerning campaigning practices by our school officials to go unchecked. Our kids, families, and teachers deserve better.

    Furthermore, as your next Mayor of Anaheim, I will offer bold, innovative and meaningful improvements to our schools, such as the following:
    1. Allow parents to vote on consolidating Anaheim’s five school districts into one single Anaheim school district to maximize efficiency, decrease costly overhead bureaucracy, and ensure genuine transparency and accountability of local, state and federal tax dollars.

    Mayoral control is one element in the larger discussion about who should run our schools. Parents and students are desperate for alternatives, choices, and solutions.

    2. Therefore I invite our Anaheim parents to begin the much-needed and wanted the public discussion on how, when, why and where Mayoral control of our school district should happen.

    3. Once we consolidated our 5 school districts, let’s utilize the former school district buildings to a fast-track new charter school openings to make smaller class sizes districtwide a reality, sooner rather than later.

    4. Together let’s make Anaheim schools the most modern, envied and safe schools in the state of California.

    5. Let’s support, training and offer more AP courses for students and faculty.

    To reiterate, as your next Mayor of Anaheim, I will proactively work day and night with our families, educators, and key stakeholders to make Anaheim the most innovative, exciting and memorable educational paradigm in California!

  6. Yes there are many people that don’t like him but he is a big thinker and through his sweat equity and connections brought the district such programs as UCI law. Partnership with Tesla Corporation, the Anaheim Pledge and now working on a new way to grade. Sorry that some are stuck on old ways and don’t get it.

  7. Wrong. Mike is a small thinker that insulated himself with yes men. The UCI law program with his failed political buddy joe Dunn has been nice for a couple dozen kids. Hip hip hooray. What about the other 30,000 students? Next the Anaheim pledge. What a bunch of bull! He promotes this idea that mike the magnificent has pulled off this wonderful life altering thing…well guess what if any student from any district meets all the qualifications, they too will get into UCI. Next the Tesla hoax. It was never the Tesla corporation. But at one time the Tesla foundation was going to help AUHSD – but they are done working with Mike and have walked away.
    Let’s face it. Matsuda is a nobody. He was completely unqualified for his job, surrounded himself even more unqualified yes men and got away with it for the past four years because he controls his “trustees” this time Anaheim has to say no way Jose, and sweep away his puppets that are supposed to be trustees of our school districts.

    • You still don't see the point boi

      Mike is an outstanding superintendent, the only person I know to be full fit to become superintendent of a district that so needed it. The district is great and the Anaheim Pledge is something that a bunch of kids are delighted about, including my cousin who is a beginning theater student at Fullerton. The only reason he’s happy to be attending Fullerton is because his tuition for the first year is free. I don’t see an opportunity like that arising with the board right wing’s such as Piercy or Smith, who needs to step down after a down hill number of years imo. But regardless, Mike is perfectly fit to be at Anaheim union and you should all do a little more research to find out what his true qualities really are. It’s what you know, not what you hear about people that is true. Good luck unintelligent human beings

      • Dear you still don’t get the point boi,

        You sound like you are in the Matsuda, Jabbar, Rueles, Moreno click. Your argument of support lacks any evidence – only the typical Matsuda line that the rest of the world just doesn’t get it. Tell me what qualifies him to be superintendent? His two years teaching at junior high? His zero years as an administrator at any campus? His complete lack of charisma? His massive ego/insecurity? You reference the pledge as an accomplishment – that’s called good marketing and self promotion. If you look into it the benefits afforded Auhsd students are really nothing different than the benefits available for a Fullerton or garden grove or any other student. So I guess I have to give him an A for self promotion and deceptive advertising!

  8. Matsuda has failed in his duties our test scores are proof.

  9. VOTE NO ON AL JABBAR. VOTE NO ON JOSE MORENO, run this whole group out of town: Al Jabbar, Jose Moreno, Mike Matsuda. Ryan Ruelas, Magcalas too. They have ruined Anaheim’s schools, look at the scores. They tried and failed to stop Palm Lane going charter, why? Look at Palm Lane’s scores – yet they want to stop the charter, to keep the kids failing? Why spend all that money and time to fail children. Why fight the law? Would they want this for their kids? The scores showed failure yet the fought to keep failing?

    And Jose Moreno is right in the middle. Look at his district, he has failed to represent the citizens he was elected to serve. He has failed Anaheim as well yet he stands up and pontificates to anyone and everyone about all he has accomplished.

    We see you all and one by one we will vote you out. We must because Anaheim is a mess.


  11. Matthew Cunningham, thank you for this post. Its very inspiring.

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