Students and parents upset over CVUSD administration firings

Coachella Valley Unified School District offers few answers to why top administrators dismissed

POSTED: 04:37 PM PDT Mar 11, 2013    UPDATED: 12:01 AM PDT Mar 12, 2013 
THERMAL, Calif. -

Coachella Valley Unified School District superintendent Darryl Adams held a meeting with parents and students Monday night - but parents said he didn't answer any of their questions.

According to parents, Adams held the meeting to address the student protest Monday morning that happened in response to alleged administration cuts. Students and parents at Desert Mirage High School protested the alleged firings of their principal and vice-principal today.

While the firings are not yet confirmed by the school district, multiple sources tell us principal Mario Walker and vice principal Max Freidman have been fired. Parents tell us this is the fourth principal to be fired in four years.

About 100 parents and students were at Desert Mirage High School Monday night.

Parents said superintendent Dr. Darryl Adams kept talking about the district's community involvement and effort to better student education -- and dodging their questions about administrative cuts.

One parent told us Dr. Adams didn't say why, but he said "unfortunately, Mr. Walker and Mr. Friedman are not here anymore." Those are the principal and vice principal, respectively, of Desert Mirage.

We are told he said the same thing about the Coachella Valley High School principal.

Parents said Dr. Adams wouldn't give any specifics, as they were personnel matters.

Monday morning, students and parents at Desert Mirage High School protested the alleged firings of their principal and vice-principal today.

While the firings are not yet confirmed by the school district, multiple sources tell us principal Mario Walker and vice principal Max Freidman have been fired. Parents tell us this is the fourth principal to be fired in four years.

A local parent said: "I was for the students doing that because of the right to peaceful assembly and this is their chance to have their voice heard."

We have also obtained an email sent by the Coachella Valley High School principal to her staff confirming she had also been fired. The email read: 

"I was informed last Friday that the superintendent and the school board has decided to go in a different direction and leadership with CVHS. I will remain in my position to end this school year. 

In my 11 years as a CVHS administrator, I have seen CVHS evolve into a collaborative community that works to create a well-thought out plan that clearly outlines goals and action steps for improving student achievement. I am confident that you will continue to challenge our students and support their growth. CVHS has positioned itself on top and has been characterized as 'the flagship of CVUSD.' I trust that you will stay true to your commitment our CVHS students and community. 

We will continue to move forward as a staff and utilize our knowledge and experience to ensure our students are prepared to be productive and informed members of society. It is a pleasure working with a dedicated and hardworking staff.

Thank you for your support and the great years at Coachella Valley High School!

Mary Valesco
Principal"

In response to the protest, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Darryl Adams released a statement saying:

"The Coachella Valley Unified School District's single most important goal is to provide all students with an excellent education.  To achieve this goal, we rely on a team of strong administrative leaders, outstanding education professionals and a dedicated support staff.  While I cannot speak to an individual's personnel situation, as I am obligated to help protect employee confidentiality, I can tell you that all personnel decisions are driven by the Board of Education's unwavering commitment to build the strongest possible team, a team that shares the vision of collaboration, innovation and instructional excellence."

We will be bringing you updates on this story as they become available.