A big announcement was expected Tuesday night at a special board meeting of the San Dieguito Union High School District, which serves the families of many North County communities.
NBC 7 confirmed late in the afternoon that Superintendent Robert Haley was no longer working with the district, nor would he return in that role in the future.
Haley's contract expired June 1.
NBC 7 was told the reason for Haley's departure is not related to anything illegal or improper.
The San Dieguito Union High School District Board of Trustees issued a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying it "has approved a voluntary resignation agreement with Dr. Robert Haley, and his last day as superintendent is April 30, 2021. The board wishes Dr. Haley well."
Haley is being compensated on his way out the door -- the district said he would receive a year's salary and that the district will "maintain his health and welfare benefits until April 30, 2022, or until he obtains benefit coverage elsewhere, whichever occurs first."
Also in the statement, the board said it would begin a search for a replacement immediately and was looking for applicants to find someone to serve as an interim superintendent while the search was conducted.
Haley was asked for a comment by NBC 7 regarding his departure and on Wednesday received the following statement that he addressed to the school community:
It was an honor to be the superintendent of San Dieguito Union High School District. I enjoyed my time serving the students, families, staff and community. I will always be a student- centered leader and decision-maker, and I truly love the students of SDUHSD. The creation of our student summit, although in response to tragedy, allowed me to have great insight into our students’ thoughts, concerns, hopes and questions. This guided my work and led to our district to have a statewide reputation for caring about the daily experiences of our students.
I thank the leadership team I had the privilege of working with on a daily basis. They are as strong as any team in the state of California. I thank the support staff who were always amazing and dedicated, and were there every day we needed them when we entered the COVID-19 period of time. I thank the teachers and faculty who were also always dedicated to their profession, who pivoted in response to COVID-19 and were flexible to ensure all students received an education, regardless of their circumstances of learning at home or at school. I thank our families who are so supportive of not just their own students but our schools, foundations, parent teacher organizations, athletic and extracurricular programs. All of this combined together makes for a truly supportive school community.
This past year has been one with many challenges impacting our community and our nation. For many families and students, I know this past year has been hard on them and, for many, learning at home was, and is, not ideal and has caused stress and harm. I worked as hard as I could to ensure those families were supported and their students could return to campus. It is my fervent hope that the district and the state continue on this path. At the same time, we must remember the students at home and ensure they are supported as well.
I enjoyed spending as much time as possible on school campuses interacting with students, teachers and staff to truly have an understanding of how district decisions impacted their daily lives. I will miss that time tremendously. Although it was my desire to finish my career at San Dieguito Union High School District, that is not to be. The district is a great one and can be a lighthouse for the state and nation. I hope the board of trustees is successful with any positive initiatives it has in the future. I truly hope the vision stays in place that all students are entitled to a successful education, we are a team, engaged, inspired, prepared, and that continues to guide the path forward.
The district reopened for in-person learning on March 16, a day before it planned to reopen and before the county moved into the red tier, when state guidelines would allow schools to reopen for in-person instruction.
Students and parents had been urging the district since last year to get students back for in-person instruction. Ultimately some parents in North County filed a lawsuit against the state, and on March 15, a judge ruled that schools that had not been able to reopen while the county was in the purple tier could reopen, without regard to when the county would move to the updated red tier.