Stockton Unified School District Superintendent John Ramirez Jr. has resigned after just over a year in the job.
The district said Ramirez has found it necessary to care for his elderly parents.
Dr. Francine Baird, assistant superintendent of Student Support Services, will run Stockton Unified's day-to-day operations until a new superintendent is appointed, the district said. Baird has been an educator for more than two decades and has served as a district administrator, principal and teacher.
Ramirez’s resignation, which came during a special Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, was discussed under agenda item 2.1 titled discipline/dismissal/release. However, details or documents regarding this portion of the board’s special meeting are not presented on their online agenda since it was discussed in closed session.
When the board reconvened, board Vice President and Trustee Ray Zulueta announced the board voted 4-2 in favor of accepting Ramirez’s resignation. AngelAnn Flores and Alicia Rico voted against, and Maria Mendez was absent from the vote.
Ramirez was named interim superintendent in February 2021 and hired officially in May 2021 after former SUSD superintendent and current candidate for county superintendent Brian Biedermann abruptly resigned to focus on his health.
Biedermann was selected by the Board of Trustees to serve as interim superintendent after John Deasy stepped down April 21, 2020. In 2018, Deasy became the district’s 12th interim or full-time superintendent over the past 30 years. Deasy succeeded current Stockton City Councilman Dan Wright, who took over as interim superintendent in August 2017 for Eliseo Davalos, who lasted 13 months. Carl Tolliver served two stints from Sept. 14, 2005, to June 30, 2006, and from July 2010 to June 2012.
“It’s been a pleasure and great opportunity to serve as superintendent of the Stockton Unified School District,” Ramirez said in an email provided by the district. “I will be serving the students and the Stockton Unified School Board in different capacity. I look forward in doing all that I can to support the district.”
“I wish Mr. Ramirez Jr. the very best and wish good health for his family," board President and Trustee Cecilia Mendez said. "I would like to thank him for the hard work he has put in for the district and students."
The board met for a short notice special board meeting June 1 to evaluate Ramirez in closed session.
The meeting, which lasted nearly four hours, ended with nothing to report — meaning no action was taken — out of closed session.
Two district band teachers and an arts director spoke during public comment to support Ramirez and thanked him for supporting their programs. Another member of the public said the district violated the timeline specified in the superintendent’s employment agreement by not finishing the employee evaluation by the end of May.
According to Ramirez’s employment agreement, the board and he shall evaluate his employee performance, “no later than every May of each year, and shall develop goals for Ramirez for the following fiscal year,” per a screenshot of his employment agreement provided by Melinda Meza, director of communications for the district.
Ramirez bounced between the closed session room and the board room where the public was sitting. Board members could be seen entering and exiting the room where the closed session was taking place. Stockton Unified staff turned on music in the boardroom where the public were seated to drown out the board members arguing in the next room.
“This is crazy,” board clerk and Trustee Alicia Rico exclaimed in front of the public with a frustrated look on her face.
A public employee evaluation for the superintendent was also listed as a closed session item at the May 10 Stockton Unified board meeting. Public employee evaluations are typically done once or twice a year.
The next regular district board meeting is scheduled for June 14.
Record reporter Ben Irwin covers Stockton and San Joaquin County government. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @B1rwin. Support local news, subscribe to The Stockton Record at https://www.recordnet.com/subscribenow.
This article originally appeared on The Record: John Ramirez, Stockton Unified School District superintendent, resigns