ENCINITAS, Calif. — A North County school district has officially fired its superintendent after months of controversy following racially insensitive comments about Asian families.
The four remaining San Dieguito Union High School District board members voted unanimously Sunday to terminate Superintendent Cheryl James-Ward’s contract.
This decision happened quietly in a closed session meeting Sunday, but it came after more than two months of calls for the superintendent to step down or be fired.
“I’m just happy that they arrived at this decision. The fact that they really listened, to the hundreds of parents who petitioned whether by email or showing up at board meetings,” said SDUHSD parent Allison Luo.
Ward was on administrative leave since April following comments she made during a district diversity, equity, and inclusion training that linked Asian student academic performance to the perceived wealth of Chinese immigrants.
Ward reacted to the news of her termination Monday via text message:
“I heard the news today when I landed in London and was quite surprised. I’ve put my job on the line to make decisions in the best interests of the district, standing against those with nefarious intentions. Sometimes that will cost you your job. I would make the same decisions again because my heart is with kids and our community.”
In an April interview with FOX 5, Ward believed board members were retaliating against her after filing a harassment complaint against Trustee Allman. Ward’s supporters have called for his resignation.
“I believe Michael Allman and Mo Muir created a situation for a public lynching. Right, and then I was asked to leave,” said Ward during that April interview.
Because Ward is being terminated without cause, her contract allows her to be paid a year’s salary of $288,000 as a buyout.
Interim superintendent Tina Douglas is set to serve in the position until June 2023. None of the board members returned FOX 5’s request for comment Monday. Meanwhile Ward has said she would plan to sue if the board fired her.
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