By EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
Scores of parents kept their kids home from Belle Haven Elementary in Menlo Park yesterday (April 4) to protest the superintendent’s removal of its popular principal.
Todd Gaviglio, who has been critical of Ravenswood City School District Superintendent Gloria Hernandez-Goff, was transferred to work in the school district’s office last month. Gaviglio had been principal of the school for just under three years.
The district said yesterday that Gaviglio will not be returning to the school.
East Palo Alto Mayor Ruben Abrica, a critic of the district, said that more than 100 parents kept their children home from school though some claimed the number was higher.
“Although we are always supportive of the right to protest, the district disagrees with the idea of stripping away valuable classroom time from our students as each day is critical in the pursuit to prepare them for success,” district spokesman Rolando Bonilla said in a statement.
A post on the Facebook group “Support Our Principal Mr. Todd Gaviglio” claims that 214 students did not show up to school yesterday.
“Mr. Todd Gaviglio, principal of Belle Haven, is being persecuted for speaking out against Ravenswood’s corrupt Superintendent! Mr. Gaviglio is passionate about our children, our families and our community,” the
group’s description says.
Gaviglio, who was a board member of the district from 2002 to 2006, has spoken out against Hernandez-Goff’s leadership.
Gaviglio is one of the teachers who signed a letter last year asking the superintendent to resign. The letter from the teachers union was signed by 143 of the district’s 184 teachers.
The push for the superintendent to resign came after she and other administrators allegedly told parents where teachers would be assigned for the next year before the instructors were notified. That created an “air of distrust,” her opponents said.
Calls for Hernandez-Goff’s contract to not be renewed have come back because of the district’s financial difficulties and the board’s February decision to close a preschool.
Gaviglio and Abrica have both accused Hernandez-Goff of corruption, with the mayor pointing out that her son, John Denos, is on the district’s payroll.
Denos is a data quality support technician who is paid $86,696 a year in salary and benefits. Gaviglio has accused her of using the district’s funds for pet projects and not fulfilling employees’ requests. He said people who want to see the superintendent leave will speak at the board’s April 26 meeting.