Newark Unified school board appoints new superintendent

Penelope DeLeon

NEWARK, Calif. — The Newark Unified School District Board of Education unanimously appointed Penelope DeLeon to the position of superintendent on Thursday.

“Our schools are truly the heart of the community and together, linking arms as a family of stakeholders, we can move mountains for our students and ensure that every single child thrives both personally and academically in our schools,” DeLeon said. “I am truly honored to be your superintendent and look forward to our work together to ensure powerful futures for the students of Newark Unified School District.”

The board announced on Monday that it was planning on appointing DeLeon to the role at its regular board meeting, but a representative of the school employees’ union said the process lacked transparency. Maria Huffer, with the California School Employees Association, said a quick internet search on DeLeon uncovered some red flags and it was important to have a thorough vetting process for the next superintendent.

“CSEA has always asked for better communication and transparency from the … board members,” Huffer said, “and by the looks of things, it seems that this is not the case in this appointment.”

Earlier this year, Mark Triplett, the former superintendent of Newark Unified School District, was dismissed by the board on a 3-2 vote. Students and community members had voiced their opposition to the decision beforehand and complained about the lack of transparency surrounding Triplett’s departure.

DeLeon is set to receive a base annual salary of $270,000 per year and to begin her new position on May 15 for a three-year period.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the appointment had not yet been made. We regret this error.

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