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San Diego Unified Administrator’s Leave Stirs Controversy

The San Diego Unified School District's decision to place an area superintendent on administrative leave drew both criticism and support from employees, parents and other members of the public at Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting.

Brenda Campbell, who oversees southeastern San Diego schools, was placed on administrative leave with pay because of a "personnel issue,'' said the district's Linda Zintz, who could not legally elaborate.

The board did not discuss the subject during open session.

Lawyer Dan Gilleon told 10News Campbell was accused of signing off on the work of an independent contractor who was writing grants. Campbell told 10News she did nothing wrong.

The issue of Campbell's leave was brought up during non-agenda public testimony.

Edith Smith, advocate and parent of former district students, said no one else in the district had "the will and the skill'' of Campbell.

"Dr. Campbell is a very skilled professional and she knows how to raise achievement and that's what Area 1 community members want for their students, their children, their grandchildren, for their neighbors,'' Smith said.

Parent Philip Liburd said no one could argue with results from the Area 1 schools, where students previously performed at a lower level.

Teacher Dan Camacho applauded the district's decision.

"Area 1 deserves someone that will respect everyone, to help come up with decisions that will improve education an will be a true leader by working together to achieve greatness,'' Camacho said.

Bill Freeman, president of the San Diego Education Association, said although the union did not necessarily take a position, he praised the district for doing whatever it did during the investigation.

"We support your actions because we think you're capable of doing what you were hired to do,'' Freeman said.

A half-dozen area superintendents administer clusters of schools in a given geographical area of the district, the state's second-largest.

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