(February 5) Two different superintendents in two of San Bernardino County’s High Desert school districts have been accorded far different treatment as those districts have been met with challenges.
In the Barstow Unified School District, Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Academy Principal Mark Hassell was arrested last month by Barstow police on suspicion of having sex with a 17-year-old student. Hassel resigned. This week Barstow Unified board members lavished praise upon superintendent Jeff Malan for how he has managed the district through the controversy.
At the time of Hassell’s arrest, Malan offered only minimal information and virtually no comment beyond saying that the district would “follow proper protocol” in dealing with the matter.
On February 3, Barstow Unified board member Barbara Rose publicly thanked Malan for his calm and steady leadership, a sentiment that was echoed by other board members.
“Thanks for all you do for us,” said board member Ben Rosenburg.
In Victorville’s Excelsior Public Charter School District, superintendent Bill Flynn did not fare as well this week. He and assistant superintendent of student services Minda Stackelhouse were abruptly placed on leave February 2. No reason for that action by the board was publicly disclosed. Peter Wright, the assistant superintendent of educational services was temporarily upgraded to acting superintendent to replace Flynn.
The action was taken by the Excelsior School Board minus board member Felix Diaz, who was not in attendance at the meeting.
There has been no explanation given as to what the grounds for the board’s action was.
Excelsior Charter Schools is a public entity, chartered under the authority of the Victor Valley Union High School District. It consists of five schools, two in Victorville and one each in Phelan and Barstow as well as in Norco in Riverside County.