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Former AUHSD Superintendent Elizabeth Novack

Former AUHSD Superintendent Elizabeth Novack

As readers know, the Anaheim Union High School District Board of Trustees recently fired Superintendent Elizabeth Novack for no stated reason (but apparently no one at the district knows how to remove her from the website), and will now have to pay her a full year’s salary and pay the interim superintendent a reported $900 a day while looking for a permanent replacement.

I’ve been looking into the matter (the district PIO never responded to my inquiries) and the picture I am getting is this headhunting expedition was led by Trustee Katherine Smith, who didn’t like that Novack was a strong superintendent. [This is the same Katherine Smith who filed a complaint with the OC District Attorney against Jordan Brandman shortly before the 2012 council election, because she didn’t know why he was using his personal computer in a breakroom during breaks in AUHSD Board of Trustee meetings (Brandman was her board colleague at the time). The complaint came to nothing because there was nothing there, but her conveniently timed complaint allowed the OC GOP, the OCEA and the Tait family to hit Brandman with mailers claiming he was “being criminally investigated by the DA.”]

In any case, Novack’s supporters have been rallying. Here’s an e-mail that went out yesterday regarding tonight’s meeting of the AUHSD Board of Trustees:

AUHSD Stakeholder,

Tomorrow evening [Thursday, December 12] is a rather important meeting for the AUHSD. As many of you now know, Dr. Elizabeth Novack’s contract was terminated without cause. This termination was done at the discretion of the Board of Trustees and was executed swiftly without input of the stakeholders.

Our community has come to appreciate the tremendous efforts of Dr. Novack, and as a product of our district she was a clear example of the potential of an AUHSD education. While it is within the Board of Trustees authority to terminate the superintendent without cause it was done so irresponsibly. With Dr. Novack’s Termination, she will continue to be paid the rest of her salary and will cost the district approximately $250,000.00. As well, the board will need to find a new superintendent, and until a permanent replacement is found they are paying the interim Superintendent $900.00 per day.

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The Anaheim Union High School District’s public information officer has yet to respond to my e-mail and voice mail requesting additional information on the Board’s dismissal of AUHSD Superintendent Elizabeth Novack, but here is the OC Register article on the subject:

The superintendent of Anaheim Union High School District was terminated after three years on the job, prompting the Board of Education on Tuesday to launch a search for a replacement.

Elizabeth Novack will be paid her $245,000 annual salary as compensation, along with health and welfare benefits for a year, according to the terms of her employment contract, set to expire in 2015.

A memo issued Monday afternoon to Anaheim Union employees stated that Novack’s employment was terminated. An interim superintendent was not immediately announced, but the school board is expected to hire an outside firm to help search for Novack’s permanent replacement.

A majority of the school board didn’t like Novack’s management style, said school board member Anna Piercy, who opposed the superintendent’s termination. Piercy declined to say which school board members disapproved of Novack’s performance.

“No manager is going to be liked by everybody, but a majority of the board didn’t feel they could handle having her as superintendent any longer,” Piercy said. “I think she’s done a good job in managing the district and bringing the community together, but some people didn’t like her.”

Novack, a 1971 graduate of Anaheim High School, could not be reached for comment.

School board president Brian O’Neal declined to discuss Novack’s performance. But he did confirm that she was terminated.

You can read the rest of the article here.

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