Valencia High School will have a new principal to finish the school year after Stephen Ford announced his resignation plans in an email Monday.
William S. Hart Union High School District Superintendent Mike Kuhlman confirmed the announcement Monday, adding Ford was stepping down at the end of next month and taking a position outside the district. Kuhlman did not state where Ford was headed.
“As it stands right now, it looks like he’ll be working with the district until Sept. 30,” Kuhlman said Monday. “We wish him the best. We appreciate the work that he has done with us.”
The move did not appear to be one anticipated by the district, which had interviewed Ford as Foothill League president for a July 23 interview on SCVTV’s “Community Corner” about the future of Foothill League sports. (Watch here: https://bit.ly/SCVTVinterview.)
The move leaves the district in search of a fourth principal in six years for Valencia High, following the retirement of Paul Preisz, who was the school’s first principal, from 1994-2014.
He was followed by John Costanzo, who retired after being principal from 2014-18, and then Ford.
Kuhlman declined to comment as to whether a recent social media post that spurred an online petition calling for Ford’s resignation played a role, saying only Ford was leaving “of his own accord.”
The post cited in the petition compared Holocaust victims to people who are blindly obeying what’s going on during the COVID-19 pandemic, under the words: “OBEDIENCE IS NOT A VIRTUE.” The petition had 600 online signatures toward its goal of 1,000 as of Monday.
Finding a replacement is a top priority, Kuhlman said.
“Valencia High School is personally and professionally of importance to me,” Kuhlman said, “and we’re going to make sure we have exactly the right person to lead that school moving forward.”