Sudden change: 2 superintendents resign abruptly and 2 others are fired

As the year draws to a close, several leaders elsewhere have either switched districts or announced their retirement.

Superintendents resigned abruptly in Sonoma, California, and Judson, Texas, in recent days, according to local news reports.

Adrian Palazuelos on Nov. 18 stepped down suddenly from the superintendent’s post at Sonoma Valley USD in Northern California. The move came as he reached a separation agreement with the district’s school board, according to The Press DemocratThere was no reason given for Palazuelos’ departure.

Near San Antonio, Jeanette Ball resigned suddenly as superintendent of Judson ISD, receiving $140,000 in severance, Texas Public Radio reported. The reasons for this change were also unclear.

Five Broward County school board members appointed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made national headlines earlier this month when they fired Superintendent Vickie L. Cartwright, who had defied DeSantis on mask mandates while leading the district through COVID.

“Leading the nation’s sixth-largest school district required a hands-on leader and someone that will make real change,” the board said in a statement reads. “Based on recent systemic issues, the Board decided to go in a different direction. … It’s time for reform and healing, and we will do that with a seasoned educator who will lead our district, make tough decisions and engage with all stakeholders.”

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Deon Jackson, the superintendent of the Berkeley County School District in South Carolina, was also fired suddenly earlier this month by a slate of Moms for Liberty-backed school board members. No cause was given, but the board immediately hired Charleston County School District administrator Anthony Dixon to replace Jackson.

Here’s a look at some other recent shifts in K-12 leadership:

  • Bonita Coleman, who has served as superintendent of Ocean Springs School District in Mississippi for the past 10 years, will retire at the end of the school year, reported.
  • King Philip Regional School District Superintendent Paul Zinni announced Tuesday he will retire at the end of the school year after 36 years in education, The Sun Chronicle reported.
  • Superintendent Ben Drati is leaving Santa Monica-Malibu USD to take the same position at Bellflower USD, the Santa Monica Mirror reported on Nov. 22.
  • Superintendent Steve Dionisio announced on Nov. 22 that he will resign from Charlotte County Public Schools in southwest Florida at the end of the 2022-2023 school year, reported.
  • Robert L. Walker was appointed superintendent of the Red Lion Area School District in Pennsylvania on Nov. 17. Walker is currently an assistant superintendent in the Conewago Valley School District.
  • Coldwater Community School Superintendent Terry Ann Whelan will retire from the Michigan district in June, according to WTVB.
  • Superintendent Robert Scott will retire from Avon Lake Schools in July, as announced on

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Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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