Why was this superintendent fired by her board during social studies clash?

The Temecula Valley Unified School District's board—which is being investigated by California education officials—fired Superintendent Jodi McClay.

With students and teachers protesting Tuesday over the narrowing of a social studies curriculum, the Temecula Valley Unified School District’s board fired its superintendent, Jodi McClay.

Temecula Valley Unified School District Jodi McClay
Jodi McClay (Photo: @TVUSD)

The move came just a few days after the state of California announced it was investigating the Southern California school board in the wake of its rejection of a social studies curriculum that contained supplemental material covering assassinated LGBTQ civil rights leader Harvey Milk, The Press-Enterprise reported.

In an attempt to explain the ban earlier this month, School Board President Joseph Komrosky called Milk “a pedophile,” according to CBS Los Angeles. Milk was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California.

On Tuesday, Komrosky was joined in a 4-1 vote to oust McClay immediately by a slate of newly elected conservative school board members, The Press-Enterprise reported. Three of those members were already the target of a recall effort sparked by the controversial social studies decision.

McClay became Temecula Valley Unified School District’s superintendent in June 2020 after having worked in the district for more than 20 years, The Press-Enterprise noted.

Joseph Komrosky
Joseph Komrosky (Photo: Temecula Valley Unified School District)

Assistant Superintendent Kimberly Velez is now serving as the interim superintendent, ABC7 reported.

Earlier on the day of her dismissal, McClay and her achievements as a leader were endorsed by the Association of California School Administrators.

Under McClay, the Temecula Valley Unified School District was among the only four districts in vast Riverside County school to reopen for in-person learning in spring 2021, the Association’s Executive Director Edgar Zazueta wrote in a letter he sent to the school board this week.

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“As superintendent, she has demonstrated a deep commitment to meeting the needs of all students and ensuring that they have access to a safe, supportive learning environment,” Zazueta asserted. “Dr. McClay’s focus on innovation, collaboration, and community engagement has been instrumental in driving positive outcomes for students and improving the lives of families in Temecula.”

As for the recall effort, organizers have collected 243 signatures. Only 90 are required to initiate a recall, the Daily Beasted noted. 

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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