Michael Halt, the former principal of the San Clemente High School declined to comment on what recently happened to his career, while hundreds of residents have stood in team spirit, supporting the former principal, despite his departure from the institution.
Halt explained that he was required to refer any inquiry to the district, surrounding his departure from the high school, when asked about the cause of his departure from office, including his reaction to the widespread support shown by the community.
On May 13, about 400 community members, staff, teachers, parents, and students turned out for a board meeting of the Unified School District. The attendees offered testimonials to the exceptional job that Halt has done at the high school. They described the school as having accountability and an elevated campus culture throughout Halt’s administration, while asking the district trustees for the principal’s reinstatement.
The board members also explained that the confidentiality rules prevent them from giving any comment. John Alpay, a trustee member had been amongst the unanimous votes, not renewing the contract of Halt months ago. Alpay called for a separate investigation surrounding the matter.
On the same day, Alpay said that his earlier vote was influenced by what the district staff told trustees at that time. However, he was able to see information, which he believes should have not been presented to the board, questioning why it was not.
During an open meeting, Alpay asked the board of trustees to consider hiring a separate investigator so as to probe into the circumstances of Halt’s dismissal from his school position.
During the board meeting on May 13, Wendy Washington, the Unified’s High School teacher of the year submitted a letter to the board, a group testimonial signed by 75 members of the staff and faculty, she said.
The Register’s office was able to obtain a copy of the letter. In that letter, the staff and faculty of the school stated that Halt is perhaps the “finest principal” in the 50-year history of the school. In the letter, it was also indicated that under Halt’s leadership, the student suspensions had reduced dramatically, truancies and tardy issues. His leadership had also boosted the morale of the school’s staff through clear expectations, positive feedback, leaving the campus clean both after lunch and after school hours, the writers said.
Despite the restricted reactions and comments from Halt, the letter likewise indicated that the former principal had a positive and a regular presence around the campus, including in individual classrooms, and during extracurricular activities. The dismissed principal had been engaged in student conversations frequently, the letter said.
The staff and faculty also expressed how honored they were working with Halt, who, according to them, was an exemplary man and a school leader, transforming the campus both physically and spiritually through his leadership.
The letter finally indicated that the institution has become a better school, which was a result of Halt’s leadership, although the authors expressed their enthusiasm and unconditional recommendation for any position as a principal.