Community Commentary: We are all innocent until proven guilty

Editor's note: This letter was sent by Newport-Mesa Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard to his staff after the teachers' union decided to take a vote of no confidence in him. The letter, which was addressed to Hubbard's colleagues, was sent by the school district to the Daily Pilot, and the newspaper has chosen to republish it here.


Recently, Kimberly Claytor, president of the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers (NMFT) shared with me that NMFT leadership met on Oct. 19 and held a "no confidence" vote regarding me as NMUSD's superintendent. It is a disappointment. As a former teachers' union president and supporter of collaboration, I would have liked to have had the opportunity to meet with NMFT leadership and be a part of the discussion about any concerns and issues.

It is my understanding that NMFT leadership circulated ballots among the entire NMFT membership. This action was not unexpected. As has been shared in public meetings, NMFT leadership has appeared to not be completely satisfied with the outcome of the last contract. Any remaining issues that NMFT leadership feels were left unresolved by their ratified contract will need to be addressed among the future negotiating teams.

I am, however, deeply proud that over the last few years, despite the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression, we have been able to maintain high levels of compensation (No. 2 in the county), kept class sizes much lower than the county and state averages, avoided furlough days, protected the integrity of our instructional programs, and our focus on learning has resulted in greater student achievement.

I assure you that it is terribly frustrating for me, and I am sure for you too, that I cannot address or respond to the media or anyone else regarding the allegations or anything associated with my legal case. As you know, the legal process bars me from addressing these issues until they are resolved in a court of law. I have and continue to appreciate your support of the American ideal that, in this country, we are innocent until proven guilty.

I know that justice will prevail in the legal issues I am facing. My goal in sharing this with you is to remind you that I continue to be impressed every day by your achievements. Your focus and work is about and for the 21,000 students. I have never seen that commitment waver.

Our status as one of the best school districts in Orange County and the state of California is due to the greatness of our teachers, classified, and administrative staff. In my 30 years as an educator, I have never been part of a finer group of dedicated professionals at every level of an organization.

Bless you for the amazing work you do each day. It has been and continues to be the greatest honor of my life to be your superintendent.

JEFFREY HUBBARD is superintendent of schools for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District.

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