By Brian Charles and Miguel A. Melendez Staff Writers
PASADENA – John Muir High School Principal Sheryl Orange will be replaced at the end of the school year, Pasadena Unified School District officials said Thursday.
Recent incidents at the school led top PUSD leadership to ask Orange to resign her post as principal effective at the end of the year, according to a district source who commented on the condition of anonymity.
Orange will remain with the PUSD in some capacity, according to the source.
The Muir principal’s position has been posted as an open job on the Ed Join educational job website.
Pasadena Unified School District spokesman Adam Wolfson declined to give detailed comments on the issue.
“Any comment right now would be premature,” he said.
Several sources close to the district said Orange was informed of the decision to remove her weeks ago.
However, other PUSD officials said Thursday that the story posted on this newspaper’s website caught Orange and others at the district by surprise.
Orange did not return calls seeking comment Thursday.
Orange becomes the second PUSD principal removed from her post since the arrival of Superintendent Jon Gundry in July.
Hoori Chalian was reassigned from her principal’s post at Jefferson Elementary in the fall.
Ranking officials within the PUSD said more principals could be moved before the end of the school year.
Orange took the reins at Muir in 2008 in an effort to
turn the underperforming school around.
Muir underwent a so-called reinvention. The school was divided into separate small learning communities called academies, and the district invested an additional $2.8 million into instruction at Muir.
The results were below expectation, according to PUSD board member Scott Phelps. The district “spent $2.8 million, and we didn’t get the improvement we expected,” he said.
Additionally, Orange’s administration has been mired in controversy during the past year.
A fight between Latino and black students broke out last April, leading to a district investigation into racial tensions on the campus.
In September, Muir football coach Ken Howard allegedly assaulted a student during a bag search.
Howard was told by a Muir administrator to conduct the search, even though he was employed as a security guard and therefore was not authorized to search students.
Howard was placed on administrative leave after the incident. The school has since advertised for a walk-on football coach.
Recently, the boys varsity basketball team vacated all it wins because of the participation of Andre Frazier, who was deemed ineligible to play.
Basketball coach Gamal Smalley and athletic director Robert Galvan were temporarily relieved of their duties pending an investigation into what led the boys basketball team to forfeit 20 games and miss the playoffs, district officials said Thursday.
PUSD hired an independent investigator to look into the matter involving Frazier and the basketball team.