That’s how the attendance of the N-MUSD’s two top administrators was described to me in a recent e-mail. Here it is:

Hi Steve,
I am not sure if you have heard the latest in what is another example of poor leadership.

On Thursday evening, the Newport Mesa Schools Foundation had their annual dinner to give out grants to desperate teachers who need to obtain supplemental materials for their students. It is also the night that the Teachers of the Year are recognized. This annual gathering has been going on for years (20?).

Anyway, Fred did not show up on Thursday. It was a slap in the face to every volunteer who worked tirelessly for the teachers in our district. It was also a slap in the face to every teacher. [Associate Superintendent and Chief Academic officer] Russell [Lee-Sung] was there but he left as soon as he ate dinner so when his name was called to present some of the grants, someone else had to step in.


I have not been able to corroborate this account, however, it has come from a reliable source and I have no reason to doubt its veracity. Though I haven’t been able to confirm it, the unsettling part is that the recap is entirely in line with what I would expect of the top brass, particularly the part about Supt. Frederick Navarro not appearing.

For as long as I can remember, we’ve heard nothing but praise for our teachers from Bear St., right until it is time to negotiate union contracts. Then, it seems, there’s no money to give those teachers what they deserve. Funny how there always seems to be enough dough to hire more chiefs or to pay someone hundreds of thousands of tax dollars not to retire and to extend benefits far beyond what is customary.

There is always the possibility, of course, that Navarro was ill.

Or it could be that he was out conducting “district business,” which was the term that former Dept. Super Paul Reed used to describe Navarro’s time spent at a deposition for a lawsuit filed by former district spokeswoman Laura Boss and former Asst. Supt. Ann Huntington, who are “…alleging that he created a workplace culture of fear and intimidation that compelled them to leave their jobs after the board of education failed to investigate their claims.” – Daily Pilot, 1/29/16

Apparently, whatever he was doing instead of attending this important show of support for teachers, he did not send any regrets.

Perhaps he was too busy conducting more district business.

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD