Last October I predicted what would happen if a new board majority took over the Orange Unified School District Board of Education. My only miscalculation was not predicting how quickly it would happen.

Rick Ledesma and his three acolytes, John Ortega, Angie Rumsey and Madison Miner took just one month after being  sworn in to begin the dismantling of the district by terminating the well-respected and award-winning superintendent, Dr. Gunn Marie Hansen. 

By also putting the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, Cathleen Corella on leave pending a yet-to-be-defined “academic audit”, Ledesma and the board majority are now in position to create a vision for OUSD modeled after their own extremist views on public education.

As predicted, the book scrutinizers were the first to come to board meetings. Books that have been in the OUSD school libraries for years are now being questioned. Next, we will see the curriculum “police” question what is being taught in the classrooms throughout OUSD.

So, what’s next?

To quiet the public outcry against the board majority’s reckless behavior, a consulting firm to help select the new leader for OUSD will be approved at the April 13 board meeting.

The fact remains that the best available candidate with public school leadership experience was Dr. Hansen, but the Westminster School District quickly hired her.

Regardless of the charade in hiring a consulting firm, the Ledesma majority will make the final choice, which will be someone supportive of the board majority’s anti-public education views.

Who then is this board going to hire?

No public-school administrator wants to meet the same fate as Dr. Hansen. You may also remember the very capable superintendent prior to Dr. Hansen, Michael Christensen surprisingly retired early in 2017 the last time Ledesma served as board president. 

A likely choice for Ledesma and his board majority is Mr. Stefan Bean who has local experience as a superintendent, principal and director of charter schools. He also serves as a director of the charter school, Orange County Classical Academy where Ms. Miner sends her children.

Bean’s views are so extreme, even the Orange County Register Editorial Board did not endorse him in his unsuccessful run for OC Superintendent of Schools in 2022. His failure to substantiate his outrageous claim that public schools are teaching “inappropriate sexual matters” at the kindergarten level was a “red flag” for even the OC Register’s editorial board.

The hiring of Mr. Bean would be a perfect fit for Ledesma and his new board majority. Bean would march lockstep with the board in their efforts to continue dismantling our Orange schools while helping to spread an anti-public-school doctrine within our community.

This prediction must not come true.

Dr. Barry Resnick retired after 42 years as a professor of counseling with the Rancho Santiago CCD. He has resided with his family in Orange for 35 years and served as an elected trustee on the OUSD board from 1989-1993 and president from 1991-‘92.

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