RSF schools chief makes ‘sudden’ exit

RSF schools chief makes ‘sudden’ exit
David Jaffe is shown with his predecessor as superintendent, Lindy Delaney, when he took over in 2016. Jaffe recently announced he was stepping down. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene

The board of the Rancho Santa Fe School District announced on July 9 that it accepted the voluntary resignation of Superintendent David Jaffe. The District posted the announcement on its website.

While Jaffe’s effective date of resignation is July 31, 2018, he was not present during the district’s regular board meeting on July 12.

Board members provided no information about Jaffe’s upcoming departure, which was described as “sudden” by RSF Faculty Association President Amanda Valentine during public comment.

“The sudden resignation of our Superintendent David Jaffe has shocked and concerned the teachers of the Rancho Santa Fe School District,” Valentine said. “As a leader, David provided much-needed transparency and open communication between the administration and staff.”

She told the school board that Jaffe created relationships with all staff members. “As our superintendent, he ensured all the stakeholders in our district had a voice by implementing surveys that were sent to both parents and faculty,” she said. “He wanted to listen to everyone before making decisions.”

Valentine went on to highlight how Jaffe championed evaluations for teachers and parents, which branched into different evaluative committees such as LCAP, safety and technology.

“These teams are in the middle of addressing the strengths and weaknesses of our school district with the goal of leading to overall efficiency of our programs and improved safety of our campus,” Valentine said. “We are grateful for the (RSF) Foundation and the hard work achieved in the past two years by David.”

In her statement, Valentine said the RSF Faculty Association was grateful for the board’s understanding and insight to hire Jaffe in the first place. Jaffe was brought on in 2016 after the retirement of Lindy Delaney, who served as superintendent for 13 years and worked for the district for three decades.

Valentine said she appreciated how the school board reached out to the parents and staff wanting their input in what they wanted in a new leader of the district.

“I feel that they listened to our concerns and made a phenomenal choice in David, which is why I’m standing before you here tonight,” Valentine said. She added, “We need a leader who through a practice of distributive leadership makes good use of all the talents and experiences our staff brings with them to work daily. We ask that you take the same time, care and consideration as you did two years ago by including faculty in the hiring process to find a capable candidate with administrative experience to continue on our path to excellence.”

Teachers in the audience broke out into applause.

Board clerk Sarah Neal said she empathized with how people were concerned with the suddenness of Jaffe’s resignation. Neal said while she believes in transparency, in this situation the board wasn’t at liberty to talk about the details.

Neal then addressed Valentine regarding her request for process and inclusion regarding the search for a new superintendent.

“I, for one, am completely committed to continuing on with that mindset, so I’m grateful that has been beneficial to the staff,” she said. “I know that we all at the board level are working very hard as well as the foundation staff and see this as a top priority.”

Neal called the district a special place with lots of special people.

“One person, as much as he or she can be missed, is not going to break it,” she said. “We’ve got a great team here.”

The school board then unanimously approved a request for proposal for a search firm to assist them in finding a new superintendent. 

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