Antioch School Board holds closed session for performance evaluation of superintendent but takes no action

The Antioch Unified School Board held their first in-person meeting in 20 months inside the Deer Valley High School theater on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. Video screenshot.

Rocha attempted to table it; Householder consults with district’s attorney, says use of performancevaluation is “kind of a catch all term”

Large police presence in parking lot for beginning of meeting.

Seven Antioch police officers and six cars were in the parking lot of Deer Valley High during the beginning of the Antioch School Board meeting Wednesday night, Oct. 27, 2021.

By Allen Payton

Before the Antioch School Board could go into closed session to discuss the performance evaluation of Superintendent Stephanie Anello-Cantando, Trustee Mary Rocha made a motion to table the matter and fellow Trustee Gary Hack seconded it. But the motion died on a 2-3 vote.

The meeting was held in the Deer Valley High School theater, so that the board and staff members could socially distance and with the expectation of a larger than usual turnout. It was the first in-person meeting in 20 months and the first one ever for Board Vice President Clyde Lewis and Area 1 Trustee Antonio Hernandez, Board President Ellie Householder pointed out.

A police presence of seven Antioch officers and six vehicles was in the parking lot before and during the closed session, and the beginning of the regular meeting. Asked if something had happened at the school, one of the officers replied “we’re here to make sure something doesn’t”. They had left by about 8:00 p.m.

First, a few public comments were heard all in support of Anellog, including from Teacher of the Year Crystal Van Dyke who spoke in favor of “a glowing evaluation” for the superintendent. “She shouldn’t even be evaluated on test scores. Teachers aren’t evaluated on test scores,” Van Dyke added.

“Why are we really having this evaluation?” asked Velma Wilson. “Ellie, what really have you done?” She then gave a list of negative things she claims Householder has done.

“You need to step down,” Wilson concluded.

Rocha then made her motion to table. Although no discussion is to be held on a motion to table, Householder allowed it.

Asked by Hernandez if it was a motion to table or postpone, Rocha responded, “We’re tabling this. To not come back.”

“Why should we be doing a closed session evaluation when we have on the agenda on 12.E. a consultant to help us? Rocha asked, offering her reason for the motion.

“We are tabling it because it mirrors the conversation of 12.E.?” Lewis asked for clarification.

“Yes,” Rocha replied.

“So, what I will say is they are different. There’s two entirely separate things,” Householder said. “After consulting with our district’s attorney this is what he suggested and it’s kind of a catch all term.”

“Regardless of what you’re saying I’m still tabling it. So, if you’d please take the vote,” Rocha said.

The vote failed with only Hack and Rocha voting yes. The board then adjourned into closed session at 6:20 p.m.

When they returned from closed session at about 7:20, Householder said, according to the agenda she didn’t have to report out but, did state “there was no reportable action”.

While the meeting continued, questions were sent via email to all five trustees asking if the closed session really wasn’t the annual performance evaluation of the superintendent, why wasn’t one done in June as is required by her contract, and when will it be held, this year?

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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