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November 26, 2022

San Benito High principal placed on paid leave

San Benito High School Principal Todd Dearden has been placed on paid administrative leave, and an interim leader was serving in the role Thursday.
“Because it’s a personnel issue, I don’t think I’m free to make any comment, just other than he’s been placed on administrative leave and for the time being the interim principal is Mr. Ramirez,” said Board President Ray Rodriguez, referring to Adrian Ramirez, who had been an assistant principal on campus before Dearden’s leave.
Dearden, who has been principal of the school since July of 2014, declined to comment when reached by cell phone Thursday afternoon.
Dearden makes $132,667 in annual salary and is being paid $603.03 per day he is on paid administrative leave, according to records obtained from the director of human resources, through a Freedom of Information Act request. 
Superintendent John Perales did not immediately return calls from the Free Lance Thursday afternoon. Shawn Tennenbaum, the district’s director of human resources, declined to comment.
Ramirez confirmed he was appointed to the role. But when asked what day Dearden was placed on leave, Ramirez responded, “That’s not something that I’m privy to.”
In 2014, trustees unanimously selected Dearden as the replacement for former Principal Krystal Lomanto after she pursued and obtained the elected county superintendent job.
At the time, the high school’s superintendent said he was informed of a well-publicized matter involving Dearden breaking up a school fight at Sonora High School. According to a Union-Democrat newspaper report on the matter, a parent alleged that Dearden struck his son in the face while breaking up the fight.
District officials did a “very, very strong background check” and concluded he was still a good match for the job and by far was the “number one choice” in a large applicant pool that involved at least 10 candidates, Perales told the Free Lance at that time.
As far as the type of this investigation, Ramirez responded that the “school site” was “not privy” to that information.

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.

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