Starting today, Weston Ranch High School Principal Joe Fregoso will be working as the top administrator at the Stockton campus until the end of the school year in June following his resignation on Tuesday.
Under the resignation agreement that was approved by the Manteca Unified Board of Trustees in closed session Tuesday night, Fregoso will be placed on leave with pay during the 2015-2016 school year.
“This is an entirely new agreement,” Superintendent Jason Messer said of the contract that was made between Fregoso and the school district.
In anticipation of Fregoso’s departure in June, the district will be advertising the opening for a new principal and will be hiring a permanent administrator to take over the vacancy, Messer explained.
Board president Deborah Romero announced after closed session that the board, by a vote of 5-2, voted down Fregoso’s resignation, with the majority vote cast by board president Deborah Romero, and Trustees Michael Seelye, Nancy Teicheira, Alexander Bronson, and Evelyn Moore. Board vice president Sam Fant and Trustee Ashley Drain cast the dissenting votes.
Former MUSD trustee and two-time board president Dale Fritchen, speaking during the public comment portion of the meeting, said he does not blame Fregoso for taking the action of resigning from his Weston Ranch High job because of the “bullying” he has received from some members of the board, clearly referring to the actions of board vice president Sam Fant and Trustee Ashley Drain during the board’s closed session meeting in January. At that meeting, Fant made the motion which was seconded by Drain, to have Fregoso reassigned. However, the motion failed with Fant and Drain voting yes, Alexander Bronson and board president Deborah Romero abstaining, and Trustees Evelyn Moore, Michael Seelye, and Nancy Teicheira voting against the principal’s reassignment.
Addressing Fant and Drain, Fritchen said that “what you have done to the Weston Ranch High School principal is, to me, despicable.
“Using your position and power against someone – that’s the definition of bullying. Bullying other people to do what you want, that’s not right,” Fritchen said, looking at Drain.
He and several parents, some of whom, like Fritchen, have children who have already graduated from Weston Ranch, came before the board in February in support of Fregoso in an effort to keep the school principal on the job. The supporters who spoke during the February school board meeting included San Joaquin County Board of Education board member Janet Dyk who also read a letter from Rex Holiday, whose seat was succeeded by Sam Fant, speaking highly in support of Fregoso, and other parents of current and former Weston Ranch High students.
“I’m proud of Weston Ranch. I’m proud of the principal, Mr. Fregoso. He is a fair man, a strong man, a firm man,” said former WRHS Athletic Boosters president Ralph Dominguez whose children have since graduated from the school but took the time to be at the meeting to add his voice to those of Fregoso supporters.
A graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, Fregoso took over the post of principal at Weston Ranch in 2009. He was the third to hold the post since the opening of the campus.