Anaheim Parents to Protest Over Transfer of Benito Juarez Elementary Principal

Categories: School Daze

The new supe
The Anaheim City School District (ACSD) finally selected a new superintendent after an interim merry-go-round, but the honeymoon is already over for some parents. Linda Wagner, who only started her new position last month, has already made a move to transfer Benito Juarez Elementary School principal Roberto Baeza, angering parents to the point of even organizing a protest march set for Friday morning!

Wagner was appointed by the ACSD in early March by a unanimous vote, coming from a stint as superintendent at Monrovia Unified School District. She brings to Anaheim with her a background loaded with experience in bilingual education.

Sounds good for a school district with a heavily Mexi student body and a lot of English learners, ¿que no?

Whatever her credentials, angry parents are wondering why the new supe is so quick to have Principal Baeza, who has been at Juarez for five years, transferred out to Palm Lane Elementary if she is still new to the game? Those ready to protest the move suggest Wagner is serving as a proxy for ACSD board member (and Weekly Scariest People 2012 Issue honoree) Jose Moreno.

Could the alleged putsch be under the pretext of high stakes standardized testing and failing annual Academic Performance Index (API) Report goals? Scores increased in 2012 from the previous year so that can't be it. Is the matter over the issue of dual language immersion (DLI)? Principal Baeza has overseen the program that offers alternating instruction every other week in English and Spanish to students for the past two years so that can't be the reason either. Or can it?

"Dr. Baeza is one of three principals who are being moved at this time," Superintendent Wagner tells the Weekly. "It is fairly common for principals to be relocated after a period of time at a school site." As for who will be replacing principal Baeza? "We will be seeking a highly qualified principal for Juarez," Wagner says. "We hope to find a candidate who has knowledge of dual immersion, preferably speaks Spanish, and has an excellent track record as an educator and leader."

But is there more to the story than a simple routine rotation? Our sources say there is, indeed, an axe to grind between Moreno and Baeza and that it does, in fact, concern dual immersion. They tell the Weekly that a California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) fundraiser, partially for the DLI program at Juarez Elementary, was held last weekend at Moreno's home, but with a selective guest list that included Anaheim mayor Tom Tait, Los Amigos Chair Emeritus Amin David (Moreno is David's successor), and the new supe herself--but not Baeza, originally (he did eventually make an appearance). Meanwhile, parents whose children are actually enrolled in the program weren't given an open invitation to the event. ¡Que huevos!

Those who want to see Baeza stay at Juarez Elementary are planning a protest march Friday morning at 7:45 a.m. starting at Boysen Park (on the corner of Vermont and State College Boulevard) and ending at Juarez's library. The action is timed with a scheduled visit to the school by Wagner who wants to solicit input for a new principal, but did no such thing in terms of transferring the outgoing one.

The group of concerned parents will follow up by voicing their message at the next meeting of the Anaheim City School Board, specifically to Moreno, Anaheim's supposed Great Brown Hope.

Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz

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Parts of this article are wrong. I was at the CABE fundraiser, and it was exactly that, a fundraiser. You had to purchase tickets. Nobody was excluded. And, Dr. Baeza was there, he showed up on time, gave a speech, and  mingled with the people. He is a good man, as are all these people in the program. They just have different views on what the program should include. That is the story that few people do not know, this is just all "Chisme".

 What I do not like, as a parent, tax payer, home owner, and voter of this school district, is that they are taking away a very successful principal who interacts with the families of this school on a level unseen these days. Dr. Baeza truly shows his devotion to the school, and the people. I have never seen the man shun someone on, and he always makes time for every parent. He is a very interactive person, and he does not think twice about getting the kids up and dance. He grabs your attention and gets you motivated about school. Exactly what we need these days, and the parents do not want to see that change! 

The next principal has some big shoes to fill, these parents will not stay quiet if he/she is anything less than outstanding. 


It is a disgrace that in the way of a successful and popular Latino principal is the hypocrite Latino of the county, Dr. Jose Moreno!!!  Is this a one-man board?

Oli Magui Rios
Oli Magui Rios

This is great! The community should be and is influential in retaining teachers/administrators who serve in their best interest! :) this makes me happy and I hope they are successful!

gabrielsanroman topcommenter

@autophysn I said Dr. Baeza was there. I also have talked to more than a few parents who said they weren't invited. Well connected politicos who could afford to pay above and beyond the price per ticket sure showed up, though! The word on CABE is that it was/is a bourgeois organization. North OC CABE proved to be just that. Not chisme, just what's really real.


@Oli Magui Rios They are successful, Very successful! My daughter is in the program, and it is AWESOME! There is a political game being played out here, that no one is talking about. Dr. Baeza is a great Principal, and the next school who gets him should be very thankful. I just hope the new principal is just as good or better. Because these parents are very involved, and they will not be quiet if the new principal is anything but better. They have HUGE shoes to fill. 

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