Letters to the Editor: Readers call on Councilwoman Nury Martinez to resign
By Mary P. Sullivan
The following letter to the editor of the Orange District Times is excerpted from a letter to the editor published Aug. 24, 2017.
I’d like to comment about the situation at the Orange District School District. The school board voted 6-1 to fire the superintendent as a result of an investigation that revealed she was providing inappropriate gifts and gifts from her family and the district’s Board of Education president, who is married to a member of District President Barbara O. Martinez’s family.
I have been a long-time school board member and served on the District’s planning and budget committee throughout the years and witnessed firsthand the level of concern and disappointment the community had when former Superintendent Karen Atherton was appointed.
It was hard to understand why the district did not make the process of selecting a new superintendent more transparent and open. But ultimately the district got what it had bargained for from the state and local lawmakers.
Karen Atherton is a good educator and a good person. However, the board of education did not conduct a thorough background check of her. They voted to hire someone with a reputation as a controversial figure who did not have the experience to manage the district.
I would like to request that the Board of Education do their due diligence and seek the advice of legal counsel in making this decision.
I am not surprised that people feel betrayed. When you see politicians doing shady things, a lot of times because they are afraid of the backlash, it is easy to think “Hey, they must be crooked!”
I ask the Board of Education to ensure that they conduct a thorough background check of the superintendent in this decision and to consider more transparent and open selection procedures.
In a matter of weeks and months, the school board and their leader, President Barbara Martinez, the district’s elected mayor — the same person who is a member of the Board of Education and serves on the Orange County School Board — have already done enough damage to the Orange County schools.
They have damaged trust between teachers and parents, between the teaching and student support staff, between educators and the community — a trust that is vital to the success of the Orange County schools and to the education of all students.
I am very concerned that the Orange County officials responsible for the well