Why Is Benito Juarez Elementary School Principal Being Transferred Against Parents Wishes?

Dr. Roberto Baeza

Dr. Roberto Baeza

This is a bit unusual for me, but I’d like to re-publish, as a  stand-alone post, this comment left early this morning by a “Heather J” regarding the decision by the brand-new superintendent of the Anaheim City School District (ACSD) to transfer the popular and successful principal of Benito Juarez Elementary School – apparently in the face of opposition from parents — barely two weeks after she arrived at ACSD.

While the commenter used a pseudonym, I reached out to others knowledgeable about Anaheim schools and corroborated what the commenter is saying.

According to the comment, there is a rally of school parents this evening at Juarez Park.

Now, for the comment itself [NOTE – in response to valid criticism from some commenters, I’ve edited the following to keep the focus on Benito Juarez Elementary.]:

Moreno asks for transparency???? What a hypocrite! He is a tyrant and a showman.

Last week, it was announced that the principal of Benito Juarez Elementary School in the Anaheim City School District would be transferred to another Anaheim school. Dr. Roberto Baeza is just now reaching his 5th year as our principal. If you look up the test scores of our school, which is the current gauge for current accountability efforts, Juarez has had an upward trend since Dr. Baeza arrived at the school. I mention test scores only because progress as measured by test scores is evident under the leadership of Dr. Baeza.

But that is not all he has achieved in his 5 years as principal. Parent engagement is up. The children love our principal. He is connected to them and it is evident as you walk the campus with him. We, the parents, trust this man to be in charge of our children’s education. His rapport with all in this community is evident in how approachable he is to children and adults alike. He has rid our school of mediocre teachers and is vigilant about our children’s safety.

Two years ago, he was told he would be opening up the second of the dual-language immersion programs in the Anaheim City School District – the first was opened at Price Elementary. Well, Dr. Baeza has exceeded the expectations because he has chosen amazing teachers and keeps a watchful eye on the instruction happening in these classrooms as well as all of the other classrooms.

However, Dr. Jose Moreno, a meddlesome and selfish Board member has an ax to grind with our principal. It was known this was true as Dr. Baeza was considered for appointment to the Anaheim Union High School Board and did not receive the support of Dr. Moreno who is suing the city for lack of Latino representation. This is interesting because the AUHSD Board doesn’t have Latino representation either, yet Moreno remained silent.

Now with the help of a new superintendent, Dr. Linda Wagner, Moreno is behind the removal of our principal. She has been superintendent of the Anaheim City School district all of 24 days. She had not been in our classrooms, knows nothing about our school, can’t remember people’s names, and had promised to “learn and listen over the next 100 days.”

Well her decision, she told us in a meeting, was that Dr. Baeza was the best principal and therefore would be moved to Palm Lane which has more needs at this time that Baeza can help fix. This was decided in less than 19 days. What happened to the 100 days?

Moreno demands that parents always be considered but now he doesn’t care about our Juarez parent community because we support a man he can’t control and has maintained a strictly academic dual immersion program rather than allowing Moreno and his allies to turn it into a Latino indoctrination program.

Dr. Moreno, we need your help in exposing this unfair action by this disconnected superintendent and we need you to stop being an evil and callous Board member who dominates the others.

We have a parent meeting scheduled tonight at Juarez Park to rally support not only for Dr. Baeza but most importantly to highlight the lack of respect and care this know-nothing woman has demonstrated towards us parents. She wrote a book entitled the SAVVY SUPERINTENDENT. Yet her reckless behavior demonstrates the opposite. How did 100 days turn into 18 or 19 days, which is when the decision to transfer Dr. Baeza was made?

While we acknowledge that Dr. Baeza may not remain with us much longer, we resent the arbitrariness and arrogance of this woman and the apparent pushing out of a principal who does what is right even when it is not popular.

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this, but it strikes me as premature and precipitous to come into a district, promise to listen and learn for 100 days and then push out a very successful principal, and judging by other sources, at the behest of ACSD Board of Education Member Jose Moreno.

37 comments

  1. Jeanette saldivar

    Want dr. Moreno to be removed from school board.

    • I was a student there in 2010-14 I started in third grade and it was an awful experience until the middle of fifth grade when I moved schools because I was the only non-hispanic girl in the entire school and I was bullied EVERY SINGLE DAY and “Dr. Baeza would not do anything about it except punish me for getting PHYSICALLY PUSHED TO THE GROUND CAUSING ME TO SPRAIN BOTH OF MY WRISTS AND I GOT IN TROUBLE BECAUSE I GOT HURT. He would tell my parents that I was “ provoking “ it but I wasn’t because I was scared of getting beaten up and the one time I tried to stand up for myself I ended up getting dumped into a garbage can head first. Here is an example of just how terrified I was of Roberto Baeza ; one time when I was trying to get to class from lunch he was coming towards the lunch area I was going around the corner already next to the girls room and when I saw him we stared at each other for a second and then I turned and not even kidding I ran into the girls bathroom just to get away from him so he couldn’t make something up just to get me in trouble.

  2. Everyone should read the first chapter titled “The First Year” (available for preview on Amazon books) in the new Superintendent’s book The Savvy Superintendent and see what a HYPOCRITE she is!!! Our children will suffer under the reigns of her dictatorship, seeing that she views her new ACSD Superintendent position as a “career advancement opportunity”!!! How could the Board allow such a woman to run our district!

  3. Sick of politics

    Sounds like the parents need to take measures to have her removed. The squeakiest wheel gets the most grease.

  4. It’s embarrassing that the other Board members are dominated by this race-baiting Board member. He only cares about getting his way and uses race to attack. Write or call the other members of the Anaheim City School District. school board. Let’s call for the resignation of this arrogant woman. She must go as she’s proven that the well-being of our children does not matter to her. And let’s recall the School Board. We need a superintendent and a School Board that puts children first, like Dr. Baeza, and is responsive to parents.

  5. I cannot be the only one here that finds that the original poster has their own agenda here. They obviously support the Jaurez principal and don’t want him to leave which ok I get that. But then you make claims about the Palm Lane principal being weak? And that this is what the bad Superintendant told you?

    You say that 18 or 19 days is too soon? Then let me pose this question to you, if this amount of time is unacceptable (in your opinion) you still expect us to believe that this same amount to time is acceptable to declare the Jaurez principal one of the best and Palm Lanes one of the weakest?

    If this the case maybe this Superintendent is great because she obviously possesses physic super powers if she can figure all that out in just a few short weeks along with all the other responsibilities she has.

  6. I am a long-time Anaheim resident (since 1965), and also the Library Media Assistant at Palm Lane School. Unlike “Heather J”, I am commenting using my real name and actually work for the Principal of Palm Lane, so do not have to rely comments from a third party or “allusions” to assure anyone interested that Palm Lane has a committed, caring, intelligent, and effective Principal. She is in no way “mediocre.”

    It has happened in the past, and will probably continue to happen, that the District moves Principals around — only they and God know why — but sometimes change is good for everyone.

    I understand that the Juarez community loves and wants to keep Dr. Baeza, but dragging Palm Lane’s Principal’s name into the fray – and anonymously, to boot – is nothing more than cyber-bullying.

  7. Sonia Ruvalcaba

    As a parent that has been in the school district for 18 years with her own kids attending this district, not including the 30 years of self attending within. It saddens me to see this happening. I have never known a principle make such a great impact not only on his students but parents. We need more principles like him in this district. Call us greedy for not wanting such a wonderful principle go, but we as parents have worked hard with our kids to make Dr. Baeza be known for his success. Our kids succeeding is a thank you to him for all the support he gives us.

    Why does this have to be all about politics? We have enough politics to deal with our government! Keeps kids education out of your career advancement!!

    p.s this is my real name

  8. Melissa DeFrancesco

    I support Terry’s comments…I am a teacher at Palm Lane Elementary and was shocked to hear the slander that is being said about our principal and school. I have worked for ACSD for 14 years and have had several administrative changes over those years. The movement of principals is not uncommon in our district. Dr. Wagner is not the first to make these changes. I ask those of you who are using slander and hearsay to fuel your movement to please stop! Change is never easy. It usually comes with resistance. However, with change comes growth. Please act responsibly with your comments!

    • No slander. The school is a mess and it is run by bad teachers who only care about themselves. I urge city officials to please help us parents. And while Mts. defrancesco asks for responsible comments I demand responsible teachers.

  9. Vanessa Ramirez

    Why must the Superintendent hire a new dual language immersion principal for Juarez when she currently has a capable, effective, and successful DLI principal in Dr. Baeza! If you look at the qualification requirements for her job listing for this open position, you will see that Dr. Baeza already possess those qualifications and requirements. Why remove Dr. Baeza when he can fully fulfill the needs if the Juarez DI program, as well as the GATE and General Ed Program at Juarez? Why place him in a school that won’t even be utilizing his DLI knowledge and experience with DLI? It just doesn’t make sense!!!

  10. As a Juarez parent, our “movement” is not to use “slander and heresay”! Our ONLY concern is for our Superintendent & School Board to act responsibly and use wise judgement. How can a serious decision be made without even trying to hear from parents and staff alike? How can anyone presume to know the Juarez family without talking to any of us after only becoming the Superintendent for less than a month? We strongly oppose and we will do all we can to make our voices be heard! Wouldn’t any parent do the same?

  11. Karen Hostetter

    I am also a teacher at Palm Lane School and I find it alarming that there are so many accusations being made about this change being politically motivated.

    It is ACSD policy to change principals every four years. I have been at Palm Lane 16 years and have worked with 4 principals. Additionally, a principal has chosen to leave ACSD which resulted in a need to shift some principals. It is my understanding that the 3 principals that are being rotated were all at their school 4 or more years (no other principals in the district have been in their spot that long). Therefore, these 3 were chosen to rotate next year. More than likely this change was in the works before our new superintendent even arrived.

    Palm Lane would also like to keep our principal and understand Juarez school’s desire to keep someone they have built a bond with. However, please remember that while you are praising Dr. Baeza you are saying horrible things about other individuals which affects them personally and professionally. Try talking to Ms Wagner and the board about your feelings rather than making this a political issue.

    • Vanessa Ramirez

      Ms. Hostetter,

      With all due respect, I have to differ with you on the issue of “routine” rotation of principal every 4 or more years. This is from the Anaheim City School District Board Policy regarding Personnel Transfers. I don’t know if the Superintendent had a chance to read this Board Policy, in the 19 days or so after arriving in our district and making the decision to transfer Dr. Baeza, but clearly, she did not follow the Board Policy!

      Anaheim City SD | BP 4314 Personnel Transfers

      It shall be the policy of the Board of Education to provide the school principals and vice principals with the experience and challenge of working in various school-community environments that exist within the district. To accomplish this purpose, the Superintendent shall reassign school principals and vice principals every six to eight years during their period of employment. A reassignment may be made in a shorter period of time if it serves to meet the best interests and needs of the district.

      The Superintendent shall annually recommend the assignment of each school principal and vice principal to a building. Assignments shall be made by October 15.

      Principal and vice principal rotation shall take place January 1. The date of rotation may occur at another time to meet the best interests of the district.

      Involuntary Transfer

      Before recommending an involuntary transfer of an administrator, the Superintendent shall confer with the affected employee and notify him/her of the intent to recommend the transfer and the specific reasons for the transfer. This conference shall take place before April 1.

      The Superintendent shall notify the affected employee in writing within 14 days of the conference, except in emergency situations. This notice shall stipulate the reasons for the transfer.

  12. So was it this the Roberto Baeza that applied for a seat on the Anaheim union High School district board and got beat out by a political candidate who came in 7th place in his run for city Council.

    IF so, it is insane that this tyrant, Jose moreno, chose someone with little or no experience in public education over a successful elementary principal.

    This is nuts! What is he and this Los Amigos groups thinking or smoking!

  13. Kathleen Heard

    ACSD has moved principals at the end of a school year and when a principal has moved or promoted to another position frequently in the last few years. This is not a move that is out of the ordinary. Bob Gardner was moved from Revere to Ponderosa when Chuck Lewis was promoted. Mr. Gardner had hoped to retire from Revere but he sucked it up and moved for the greater good. Maria Villegas was moved from Franklin to Ponderosa when Bob Gardner retired. She was very popular there but she sucked it up and moved for the greater good. These moves were made at the end of the school year and both times the principals moved before they wanted to. The problem is not the practice. The problem is in how the principal handles the move. I also am not afraid to use my name. Kathleen Heard at Roosevelt AND Ponderosa. By the way 3 years ago all librarians were given an additional school library to run and we sucked it up and did the job for the good of the children. Why is it different with Baeza???

  14. It’s different because Dr. Baeza isn’t mediocre like the rest of you and has made a difference in our community. If you read this correctly, it’s the parents that are upset not him. But then again I find it laughable that you claim librarians suck it up. We as a PTA attempted to help out in our school’s library and the “suck it up” librarian called her union to cry about it. She complains she can’t get the work done but we can’t help. How’s that for backwards?

    • For the record, the person “J.H.” does not reflect the views of the Juarez PTA. Although this principal change affects all of us, the PTA has not taken an “official” position on this change. Also, for the record, the PTA itself did not attempt to help in the school’s library – it may have been parents that belong to PTA, but not a “sanctioned” PTA activity. J.H., if you are going to mud-sling, please don’t include PTA in your statements. Thank you.

    • Kathleen Heard

      you really don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s not about parents volunteering to help out. It’s about bringing 12 of our employees back to do the professional work necessary to run a library. So we do twice as much work and you call us mediocre. Try running a library without us. Other districts have tried. They don’t have libraries any more or their libraries are only open when a professional is there. And the students suffer because of it. You are a sad commentary on the people trying to slander the hard working employees of this district.

  15. Hold it, hold it, hold it. I’m sure – or at least I hope I’m sure – that J.H. didn’t mean to imply that all ACSD employees other than Dr. Baeza are mediocre, or that all librarians are mediocre. And Kathleen Heard’s statements didn’t criticize in any way the Juarez parents who are protesting Dr. Baeza’s transfer. Kathleen’s statement about transfers is correct – many principals have been moved around – I am not in a position to know if they liked it or not — but transfers are not unusual and have occurred regularly in my 10 years at the District. I have no way of knowing if Dr. Baeza’s transfer is just another incidence of past practice, or if it is politically inspired…nor does anyone else, I imagine.

    Why don’t we all just have a look at the reality: this transfer of principals has become a political football because of differences of opinion between factions.

    As I see it, the Juarez school community has every right to petition and/or picket to keep their beloved principal. I’ll even picket with them if they do it after my working hours.

    The problem, to me, is that defamatory, untrue statements were posted anonymously in this blog about a principal from another school who has absolutely nothing to do with the political differences between the parties. This is called “cyberbullying.” I commented to this effect in a previous post, and Mr. Cunningham deleted the applicable scurrilous portion of the original post (by the anonymous “Heather”,) for which I thank him.

    Additionally, at Roosevelt school, flyers were distributed, also anonymously, that further defamed this same principal, as well as maligning the new Superintendent and Dr. Moreno (question: what does Roosevelt school have to do with the transfer of the Juarez principal? Who would do this kind of thing?)

    The principal in question has absolutely nothing to do with the transfers, Dr. Moreno, or Anaheim politics. Any attack against her can only be described as slander.

    Complaints about Dr. Wagner, the new Superintendent — I really don’t understand it. She’s only been in place a month — what can any reasonable person possibly have to complain about? I believe she serves on a contract basis — after a year or two (whatever her contract provides for) if you don’t like her, petition the School Board to not renew her contract.

    As to Dr. Moreno, I really don’t know much about him. I do know he is an activist in the Latino community, and is associated with Amin David (whose name I know because it has appeared regularly in the newspaper over the years, and also because my neighbor of 45 years, Bob B, has just as regularly complained about him…)

    We live in a democracy. It is a very powerful tool. If you don’t agree with Mr. Moreno, run your own candidate. I am not a political person, and don’t know much about the inner workings of politics, but I do vote and read the newspapers, and know it would only take 4 or 5 thousand votes to put your candidate on the School Board.

    Please, please, please, leave the schools and the kids alone. Former Superintendent Sandra Barry had a phrase that always got a great deal of applause when she said it to ACSD employee gatherings: “it’s all about the kids.”

    We at ACSD are all about the kids. Whatever political views or objectives you have, please leave us alone to do the best we can for the children of Anaheim.

    I have lived here for most of my life, and my 83 year-old mother raised 4 children and babysat most of her 8 grandchildren here. Anaheim has always been a good place to raise a family, and I hope it can stay that way.

    We are neighbors, all of us, and no matter what our political leanings are, we need to work together to make Anaheim the best place it can be for our children and families.

    Dr. Moreno is not the only member of the School Board, and does not make all the decisions. If you wish to have your opinions heard, please attend the meetings or contact one of the other Board members. The website http://www.acsd.k12.ca.us has all the Board members contact information as well as the schedule of meetings.

    One of the principals in the District has an anti-bullying motto: “Just be nice.” I highly recommend this to everyone.

    Terry O’Brien
    Loara High School Class of 1966

    • The way I see it no one at Juarez characterized the Palm Lane principal as mediocre or less than. In meetings with the new superintendent she alluded to this characterization in trying to defend her placement of Dr. Baeza there. Our question is how does she know who is good or bad in less than 18 days? So let’s not get stuck on semantics. And as for Ms. Heard, PTA or not, volunteers should be able to help out. The notion that all work done on behalf of children should be paid is simply ridiculous.

  16. RECALL on Moreno

    This is about children being affected by Dr. Jose Moreno’s problems with Principal Dr. Roberto Baeza and how he pushed new superintendent to do the dirty work.. Not about other schools, nor the PTA. this is all because Dr. Jose Moreno feels threaten by someone that is well liked by many..

    Moreno stop being a hater and make a change.. Talk to the superintendent and have her stop all transfers from all the schools.. Roberto Baez is well liked by the community and is part of our community and we will Unite.

  17. We the students also want Dr. Baeza to
    Stay at Juarez. He has always helped me
    I see the help he gives the students, parents and teachers
    6th grade student Ms. Watts

  18. Thank you, Juanito, for doing this the right way. I hope you get to keep your principal.

    Terry

  19. Hello Juanito,

    I went to the School Board Meeting yesterday and thought you might like to know what happened about Dr. Baeza and Juarez School.

    You will be proud to know that a group of students attended the meeting and held up signs in support of Dr. Baeza staying at Juarez. Also, some of the students spoke to the School Board about what Dr. Baeza has done to help them and why they love and admire him. All the students spoke in positive, respectful ways, and the Board members all paid very close attention to them.

    Also, some parents spoke to the School Board about why they would like Dr. Baeza to stay. They told the School Board how much Dr. Baeza has helped the children, and how important it is to the children for him to stay. You would have been proud of them too.

    I’m sorry to say that a few parents who spoke to the School Board (not very many, only two or three,) let their anger get in the way of what they needed to say. They were very disrespectful and said very bad things about the new school Superintendent and one of the Board Members (Dr. Moreno, I don’t know if you have ever heard of him.) The words they used and the things they said were very much like bullying, and I’m afraid that will make it very hard for the new Superintendent and the School Board able to change their decision about moving Dr. Baeza to another school without looking like they are giving in to bullies.

    Another person also spoke to the Board and asked that Dr. Baeza and some other principals who were supposed to move to new schools next year be allowed to stay at their current schools. The new Superintendent (Dr. Wagner) and the School Board will probably want to think about that for a little while, so there is still a chance that Dr. Baeza will stay at Juarez. But please don’t be disappointed if he moves to another school. I hope you know that if he goes to another school it is because other Anaheim students really need his help.

    I have never commented in a blog before. I was feeling a little self-conscious until I saw your comment. I was really glad to see what you wrote, it made me feel more comfortable, and I was very impressed with what you said and how you said it.

    Please try not to worry too much, get lots of sleep, a good breakfast, and ace the STAR tests.

    I wish you the very best for next school year in JUNIOR HIGH!

    Terry O’Brien
    Palm Lane and Orange Grove Schools

    P.S.: If you need something good to read over the summer, I highly recommend “Origami Yoda” by Tom Angleberger. The kids at my school really like that book (it’s a series, so there are several books about the same characters.) It’s pretty popular, but you might be able to find it at the Anaheim Public Library. Have a great summer.

  20. Jennifer Harrison

    It was brought to my attention that some of these posts were written by someone with the same name (or very similar) as me. For the record, I am Jennifer Harrison, a teacher at Orange Grove Elementary, not the Jennifer H. or JH from this, or any other comment thread.

  21. This superintendent, Dr. Wagner, or any superintendent for that matter that only takes days to make the kinds of decisions she is making has no credibility. She has no clue what is educationally or fundamentally appropriate for these schools. She has made decisions based on a check off list of things to do. I guess she can check off ACSD… it WAS a great place to learn and work!

  22. Superintenants have the right to make decisions for the sake of the children they have influence over. After so many years of service to the school district they have the experience needed to make hard calls that are based in the knowledge of the changes that would follow. In a world where perfect decisions are enacted with pure intentions we can expect pure and perfect results. However should the intentions not be purely for the sake of the children, or should the results not be chosen purely for the same, the decisions sway far from perfect and as such will compromise what is most important. This world is not perfect nor pure, and such is the case with every human heart and mind. As such the concerns regarding our children become heavily weighted with the need to assure the impurities of intentions and the inevitability of wrong decisions to be accounted for with efforts matching the value of who the decisions affect. Here, our children, their future, the future of the world, our future. If decisions to uproot a uniquely successful part of this most valuable aspect of society are not closely monitored, guarded, identified and appealed the worst is bound to happen. In business we have stockholders to carry this burden of corrective influence, and they have the power to do so. In our schools we leave it solely to the parents but we give them little if any power to have the required influence needed to keep things on track, as pure as possible with the perfect education of their children as the unattainable but reachable results. The results as measured speak for themselves. Here, now, the parents have spoken. But who will listen? Must we pray for this? Must we create exceptions for this? Or is there someone with an answer? Lest our children and therein us, all of us, suffer the consequences of unfair social action. -Alek M Kirstein

  23. Usually, Anaheim or Santa Ana have not really had a time out on immigration from Mexico. First generation Mexicans have the least education while 2nd and 3rd have higher education. I would say 2006 was the last peak of high immigration and now its slower which might mean less first generation Mexicans and Central Americans as parents and more 2nd and 3rd in the 2020’s. This is research based on Pew Hispanic. The 2020’s might see changes in automation or robotics that could leave to less immigrants for example cleaning machines would reduce the number of maids that are employed. More second and third generation less first means more advances in politics for Mexicans. Also, Mexico birth rate is dropping and may go to the Brazil level at 1.8 which means also less young adults coming up for jobs.

  24. Where are all the supporters now of Dr. Baeza. He has been banished by these two monsters. Is that ok with everyone? Where is the Palm Lane staff on all this? Why are two people allowed to ruin a man’s career as well as others. It seems Dr. Wagner is quite a gem and runs over employees without any hesitation or remorse. She is the wicked witch of the district and her cabinet and district board only care about their political or career standing. SHAME ON ACSD!!!!

  25. Stand for Anaheim

    Shame on Jose Moreno. He can dish it out and hide under the Los Amigos veil and terrorize others. What does Los Amigos think of his anti-Latino actions. He must be recalled!

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