Parents, teachers, students voicing support for outgoing principal

SCHS Principal Michael Halt. Photo: Jim Shilander
Former SCHS Principal Michael Halt. Photo: Jim Shilander

By Jim Shilander

The Capistrano Unified School District announced Wednesday that San Clemente High School principal Michael Halt will not finish the school year at the school and that Halt will not return for the 2015-2016 school year. Deni Christensen, the school’s assistant principal for guidance, will finish the year as interim principal.

“The District has rigorous standards for principals and other administrators as well as a fair and relevant system for evaluating their performance, the release stated. “Principals or administrators who are not meeting the district’s rigorous standards are provided assistance to improve their performance… The district does not take the decision to non-reelect administrators lightly. … Due to the privacy interests of employees, we are unable to comment further regarding specific employees.” The standards used by the district can be found here. 

Current Aliso Niguel High School Principal Chris Carter, a San Clemente resident, was announced as the new permanent principal, effective at the end of the school year. Christensen will then take over at Aliso Viejo for the 2015-2016 school year.

“The CUSD community will have many opportunities in the coming weeks to meet these extraordinary leaders who will help steward our students’ success,” CUSD superintendent Kirsten Vital said in the release. “The Board of Trustees, as well as myself and our district leadership staff, are confident that Mr. Carter and Ms. Christensen’s previous successes, in addition to both of them being parents and community members of the district, will provide for a seamless transition in leadership.”

In an email sent to parents at the same time as the decision, Carter said he was looking forward to the opportunity.

“San Clemente is my home, and my family and I are Tritons,” Carter wrote. “I share your passion and commitment to excellence in all that we do. I will focus on leading a rigorous instructional program and enhancing systems to support all students to elevate our school to the highest levels of achievement. Serving as your principal provides me with the unique opportunity to lead the school that I entrust to my own children’s education. As a Triton parent and now, as the new leader of our school, I look forward to supporting the academic, athletic and artistic excellence of San Clemente High School students. I look forward to being on campus in the coming weeks to meet with students, staff, and parents during this transitional period and to work together in preparation for the start of the 2015/16 school year.”

Halt, who parents have reported had not been on campus for several days, has been supported on social media and in other arenas by a group of parents, who met earlier this week to discuss rumors about the principal’s future with the district. An email has also circulated to parents asking them to contact Capistrano Unified School District administrators and trustees in support of Halt.

Attempts have been made to contact district administrators for comment, but those attempts have not met with success.

One parent, Carter Mudge, said Halt, who has been at the school the last two years, has been a force for good at the school. Mudge is also a board member of the San Clemente Education Foundation.

“I have two sons there, a sophomore and a junior, and another who’ll be a freshman next year. In the time Mr. Halt has been there, I’ve noticed a turnaround, not just in the appearance of the campus, but the pride in which the teachers and staff take in the facilities, and in the way students react to the school,” Mudge said. “My kids express continually the respect they have for Mr. Halt and his integrity, and it doesn’t surprise them that he is a Marine colonel in the reserve, because he engenders that type of respect.”
In addition to the mood around campus, Mudge said he’s seen an increase in student participation in advanced placement and international baccalaureate classes and a lower truancy rate.

“His personality and his skills have had a substantial impact on the school,” he said.

Mudge said he and other parents were frustrated with what they saw as a lack of communication from the district regarding the issue.
A group of parents who recently had an issue at the school regarding a movie shown by a teacher, along with other issues raised by parents regarding the same instructor, stated in a release that they felt Halt handled their situation appropriately.

“When these concerns where elevated to him less than one week ago, we feel that he reacted appropriately and was engaged in ensuring it was handled correctly,” the release stated. “He welcomed parents and students to address any concerns they had and meet with him personally–fully committed to transparency. Essentially, he showed why he has highly regarded by parents and students alike at SCHS and we are 100 percent confident that he would have managed this situation correctly, given the opportunity.”

Halt issued a statement Wednesday evening.

It has been both an honor and a privilege working at San Clemente High School, and I have loved living and learning in this community. The students and staff at SCHS are second to none, and I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished together; our record of success speaks for itself. If I could share one final thought with my students, parents and staff it would be this: please do not view this parting of ways as a discount against the amazing work we have done together. My departure is not based on your lack of achievements or results, so each of you should be proud of what you have accomplished and contributed to this school.

The support of the community I have received since day one has been sensational, and the support I have received since the day I left has been truly validating. I feel that if this support is evidence of anything, it is that I have done my job and served my community in a way that I can be proud of. In terms of meeting standards, I think our recent record of achievement at SCHS and the overwhelming support of the community shows that we have set a new standard for what this school can achieve. I truly hope that the students and faculty can continue to capitalize on the upward trend we started together.

Unfortunately, in complex situations like this, the loss is often greatest at the student level. I am deeply saddened that I will no longer have the pleasure of serving these amazing students and this community moving forward. It has been so gratifying to see the climate and culture on the SCHS campus evolve into what it is today, and I feel nothing but pride when I look back on our time together. My leaving SCHS is not the result of any disagreement or turmoil within my student body, staff, or administrative team. My views on integrity and professional standards dictate that I go no further than this: Thank you for the opportunity to learn and grow together. GO TRITONS!

About The Author Staff

comments (73)

  • So he didn’t pander to the school board? Had his own opinions? Or some other “crime”? We’ll probably never know.

    • I am very shocked, what news at graduation! I last saw Mr. Halt at the cheerleading banquet and was pleased to see him at the event. I hope this does not make for a dismal graduation. This is our second granddaughter graduating from SCHS and two grandsons coming. Please, the children are #1, this is where our focus should be and not on other agendas.

    • “You encourage an “us vs. them” environment because you support your staff too strongly.” LaPatner.

    • If you want to get involved in helping Bring Mike Back, please visit this web page!

      http://www.bringmikeback.org/

      There is also an online petition to help keep Michael Halt at SCHS:

      http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/michael-halt-should-continue-as-principal-of-SCHS

      Let’s get this rolling, San Clemente.

      • I’m pretty sure this is the correct principal. My history teacher is his wife and I asked her today if she’s going to teach any AP’s in the coming future, and she said she wasn’t going to be at my school next year. Here’s the thing: first and last year teaching at our school, so I’m not completely sure how far that petition will go but I hope it goes far.

  • I agree 100%. I think it is interesting that the school board already has a plan in place – moving people. Does the community have any say? I am sick and tired of the way this board takes care of business. Enough with the backroom politics!

  • The school board is sketchy. Halt was great for my school. I want answers!

  • Please look into the truth of the story. When two students out of 33 complain about a performance art movie one should ask… why?? And why now when the movie was shown two weeks ago? Any political reasons behind this all??

    • So apparently Mr. Halt was notified he was not going to return to the school as Principle next year as of March 15th. The allegations about the inappropriate video in class was brought up last week. This all does not jive.

      • If Halt is being non-renewed for this AP Class incident, of which the timing is suspect, then why is the District elevating the Director of AP Guidance over this teacher – Deni Christensen, to be the next Principal for Aliso Niguel? This is the same administrator run out of Laguna a few years back – and is now elevated to Prncipal in CUSD while Mike Halt is shown the door. Just google it.
        It isn’t too hard to figure out what happened. Find a reason to run Halt out, find a willing administrator to assist, reward said admin with principal job as replacement and new school as reward.
        Why isn’t Christensen also being held accountable for the complaint? This whole thing stinks.

      • My history teacher is his wife, I’m pretty sure. I think you’re right because the other day she said that this year wasn’t the best. She kind of explained why, I can’t remember most of it now, but I think your missing like one important detail that made them stressed.

  • Unbelievable!! Do not trust this school board, please voice your concerns and vote them all out in the next cycle. He was by far the best principle for our school! Do not believe what the school board is stating for a reason.. we will not be fooled, he is a man of the highest integrity and honor, always putting the students first. You are correct, he probably did not pander to this horrible school board.

  • Mr Halt seems to have been a great addition to the school. He is respected by parents and students alike. I too want answers. Mr Halt thank you for your service to both this country and to my son who is a student at SCHS. My son also respects you a great deal. Folks the superintendent of CUSD will be at Cafe Calypso Friday at 8 am for beach side chat if you have questions .

    • This is a great example why the current education system is just another casualty infected with the tyrannical disease of politics… “hey, this man is doing a great job and making a positive impact in the community like he’s not only supposed to, but exceeding typical expectations, let’s get rid of him!”

  • It is imperative for the School Board and Superintendent to be frequently reminded that they are public servants, working with and cooperating whenever possible with those stakeholders whose trust they seek and require. When communication regarding their decisions that affect all those stakeholders is absent, such as the release and transfer of school leadership, rumors proliferate: confusion results; trust is betrayed.

    Why should SCHS faculty be learning about this change of leadership today? How can they not be more informed than parents or students about this most significant issue? The staff and district spent a year searching for a new principal. Why do members of the faculty feel now that the District does not either require or desire their input on a matter such as this that affects faculty morale, students’ confidence that they are in a safe environment, and parents’ willingness to support an effective curriculum built around “rigorous District standards.” Many members of the faculty feel that Mr. Halt’s job performance was at the very least, quite satisfactory. What is lacking here is truth and communication. Since these decisions radically affect the school community, they should be addressed by District staff in the presence of faculty and parents in a community forum. Answers should be forthcoming.

  • Isn’t it funny that they already have a new principal and that the asst. principal is taking his position….. looks like some shady backroom deals to me!

  • This is a critical time of the school year, with AP tests, prom, new state testing and senior ceremonies. Our school will not be better off, nor will “rigorous standards” be as strongly supported, without Principal Halt’s leadership on our campus. After two days where office attendants literally explained by phone that “we are in the dark about this situation,” the Superintendent and school board say in a press release that he has been “non re-elected for the 2015-2016 school year.” ??? Their weak attempt at empathizing that “change is a natural part of moving a system to the next level and essential when ensuring the futures of our students,” should only make our school community more upset. As a neighbor of the school for 12 years, and now a Triton parent, I can attest that SCHS has greatly improved its standards and safety under Principal Halt’s guidance. The main stakeholders in this situation, parents and students, had no voice in this. Sad that our community lost such a great asset.

  • Carter Mudge – Laguna Beach attorney and spokesman (former?) for St. Mary’s. The same day that CUSD announces these radical decisions, Mr. Mudge happens to standing next to the reporter who wrote this article, playing the part of random parent giving an “person on the street” perspective. Then another group, also happily standing next to this very same reporter, issues a ready-made press release concerning the satisfactory resolution of an issue associated with an allegedly rogue educator. Mr. Halt was an asset to the San Clemente High School community. He was approachable, positive, even-handed, humble, hardworking. On what qualities was he assessed upon? What metrics? Have the folks who got their people booted off the school board in the last election taken a new approach? Guerrilla tactics, getting rid of people who don’t “fit in”? The only thing transparent in any of this are the political intrigues. Have the same bolsheviks who brought us the Ed Alliance insurgency returned to haunt the hallowed halls of the CUSD head office, like opportunistic zombies shuffling through an open back door?

    • @Mary:

      I’m not sure you understood my comments as quoted in the SC Times. I am in full support of Principal Halt. I think the decision not to renew his contract was a mistake because I have seen the tremendous job he has done at SCHS and the various objective improvements he has made in morale, pride, safety an accountability, just to name a few items.

  • Principal Halt has managed a complete 360 in morale at SCHS. The students love him. He acknowledges them by name and typically knows something about them that he can infuse into his greeting to them. We are a military family and have seen numerous principals over the last 20 years. Mike Halt is the first that truly puts the students first and not the politics of the local board. If you had wanted a local to be principal, you should have made that decision two years ago and not waited until the “new principals” were ready to make their moves. This is a true shame and black mark on this CUSD board, in my opinion. What’s wrong with infusing a little Marine Corps integrity and discipline at our school that receives all of that extra funding because we have military students at our school? If you are going to release someone for cause, at least “man up” and state the cause, not just release some bogus vague statement. Mr. Halt should be reinstated.

  • The Trustees act on recommendations from the administration. Principal Halt’s direct supervisor is Dr. Michelle Le Patner and her supervisor is Superintendent Vital. If people have complaints and questions they should e-mail or meet with these two people. Let them know how you feel as parents and community members. People should also e-mail the Trustees with their complaints and questions. Also attend a board meeting and speak. The public can speak on anything (agendized or not) at the beginning of the meeting. The next meeting is May 13 at 7:00 at the Admin. building in San Juan Capistrano. Here are all the e-mails for the administration and the Trustees. mblepatner@capousd.org, kmvital@capousd.org, ahanacek@capousd.org; gpritchard@capousd.org; jmalpay@capousd.org; jmreardon@capousd.org; gijones@capousd.org; lhatton@capousd.org; mamcnicholas@capousd.org

  • The Trustees act on recommendations from the administration. Principal Halt’s direct supervisor is Dr. Michelle Le Patner and her supervisor is Superintendent Vital. If people have complaints and questions they should e-mail or meet with these two people. Let them know how you feel as parents and community members. People should also e-mail the Trustees with their complaints and questions. Also attend a board meeting and speak. The public can speak on anything (agendized or not) at the beginning of the meeting. The next meeting is May 13 at 7:00 at the Admin. building in San Juan Capistrano. I have included all the e-mails on a second post but it is “awaiting for moderation”

  • Please parents show up to Calypso Cafe this Friday at 8am and parents and students to the CUSD Board Meeting on May 13 in CUSD Admin Building in San Juan Capistrano to voice your concerns to this dishonest board.
    They will not take our calls directly at CUSD, in fact the “gate-keepers” laughed at our calls to voice concerns, we need to show them the community standing together on this injustice that just took place at SCHS to Principle Halt and our Students.

  • I am just shocked that the board thinks they can push through their agenda with no accountability whatsoever to teachers, parents and students. I’ve seen myself the improvements Mr Halt brought to the campus, and he earned the full respect of my son. I do not know what the real story is, but rumors have it that Mr Halt stood up for what he thought was best for SCHS and didn’t play the silly power games his superiors required of him. In other words, he wasn’t interested in feeding their egos and showing exaggerated deference to them, so they fired him. Very short sighted indeed as I will vote against each member at the next election.

  • John Q Public teacher schs Reply

    The Capistrano Unified School District made an enormous mistake in terminating the contract Principal Mika Halt of SCHS. Mike Halt was a rare gem in the position of principal so often in today’s educational climate dominated by “yes” men and people who are more concerned about their next promotion than in doing the job they have been assigned to do. In two years as the leader of SCHS Mike’s leadership and discipline policies saw a huge reduction in the number of truancies, saving the district thousands of dollars with improved attendance. SCHS also experienced dramatic decreases in the number of tardies, suspensions and even simple things like trash around and near campus. Unlike some administrators (in my 20+ years of teaching) who I have seen “lead” from behind the doors of their closed office, hiding behind a computer and communicating through waves of email, Mike was a visible presence on campus and a frequent visitor in all of the teachers classrooms, observing, complimenting and encouraging those who did their job well and pushing those who didn’t to improve. Mike was a positive influence and a visible leader for the kids of SCHS. He could be seen every day, interacting with the kids constantly walking and talking, encouraging and joking with the student body at breaks, between classes, in the class rooms, during assemblies and on the athletic field. He was popular with the faculty and the students loved him for all the right reasons as Mike was fair and yet a disciplinarian when he needed to be, he was consistent in his leadership style and yet could adapt to any and all situations that called for flexibility. He was respected by parents, faculty and most importantly the kids of SCHS, I should know as I teach 150 of them each day. Mike did a tremendous job of promoting the school and the city of San Clemente but never himself, maybe therein lies part of the problem? Though not from San Clemente, Mike truly embraced the unique “one town, one school, one team” philosophy that makes this city and this school such a unique and special place.

    Perhaps it was the things Mike was not and did not do that ultimately got him fired by those who were not in the class room and did not see him daily on campus doing all of the things described previously. Perhaps what he didn’t do caused the rift between our principal and those at the district who didn’t bother to recognize all of the things Mike did do so well. Perhaps it is because Mike was not willing to listen to and implement tired, retread, recycled, failed educational flavor of the month ideas proposed by either our elected representatives on the school board or district officials. Perhaps Mike wasn’t the type of person who is more concerned about the district instruction manual of “how to be a good principal” more so than the reality and complexity of how actually to be a good principal, which Mike was. Perhaps it was because Mike held his ground when convinced that some decisions he was making for the school were better than the suggestions others not familiar with the school culture, climate or educational atmosphere were forcing on SCHS. Perhaps it is because Mike wasn’t a robot, he was a leader. Perhaps it is because Mike refused to play along with the politics of the modern educational climate and world we live in. Perhaps it is because Mike said no at times to the wrong people above him instead of the standard expected answer of “yes”. If that is the case we will have to forgive him as most Marines who reach the rank of Colonel don’t get there by saying yes all the time. I guess we will never know for sure why Mike was terminated because the standard district press release about the termination of Principal Mike Halt said nothing as to the reasons for the change… which is understandable, it must be difficult to state the reasons for his termination when there are a thousand more reasons he should have been rehired.

  • Just some things to think about regarding the School Board meeting on May 13 at 7:00: Only 20 minutes are allowed at the beginning of the meeting for non-agendized items. Each speaker is limited to 3 minutes. If each speaker uses less than their 3 minutes, more can have the opportunity to speak. Ideas: demand that the school board reverse the decision, threaten a recall of the board members, ask to be placed on the agenda for the next meeting, etc.

    Also: Beachside Chat, Friday, May 8, at 8 a.m. at Café Calypso, 114 Avenida Del Mar. CUSD Superintendent Kirsten Vital will be this week’s guest.

  • My comment with the dismissal of SCHS principal Halt, the school board has created a mistrust in them without any answers to the question , why. Behind the curtains politics doesn’t place trust in the school board or the district. Ask their lawyer to speak for the board. I love SC and you all need to voice your vote and attend the next board meeting.

  • It is a sad day when the good of the many is sacrificed for the egos of the School Board few. Let’s not forget this when it comes time to vote again!

  • I am sure that if San Clemente parents ask the CUSD for straight answers about key, lingering issues regarding SCHS, it’ll point back to areas that Mike Halt championed for the betterment of our school and students. Unfortunately in this day and age the squeaky wheel no longer gets the grease. If you rock the boat, you get thrown overboard. We’re San Clemente. Let’s make some waves and ask the difficult questions. Here’s a couple. Add based on what you know:

    – When will CUSD finally approve the long overdue improvements to SCHS, attended by most Talega students (90%) who’s parent still did not get a satisfactory resolution over how their mello-roos dollars are spent. It is time to make SCHS the priority, not San Juan Hills.

    – With the biggest ever influx of freshmen, why is SCHS still not getting more academic advisors?

    The CUSD continues to make decisions in a vacuum, without any meaningful consultation of the parents and a total lack of transparency. Don’t say you listen if every decision you make is contrary to what you’re being told by your constituents.

  • This is all about LePatner, every single last bit of it and Vital and the Board better wake up soon.

  • SC Resident Mom of 2 Reply

    If you feel strongly that this decision was made as a result of the atrocious politics of the CUSD Board, as my family does, please get involved…reversing the decision is not the only “win” here. CHANGE in the broken CUSD system — even a small step toward change — would restore hope to the community. Hope that our voices do matter, and that we DO have a say in what our tax dollars support. Attend the chat at Cafe Calypso on 5/8 at 8:00 a.m., and email the administration and Trustees (as previously posted): mblepatner@capousd.org, kmvital@capousd.org, ahanacek@capousd.org; gpritchard@capousd.org; jmalpay@capousd.org; jmreardon@capousd.org; gijones@capousd.org; lhatton@capousd.org; mamcnicholas@capousd.org.

  • Former Supporter of Board Reply

    My family, friends, and I are so disappointed in this board and superintendent. We campaigned for them, donated money, and voted for them. Their actions are appalling and vindictive. Kirsten Vital and Michele LePatner have shown their true colors this year. No one treats employees as unprofessionally as this. The rest of the county is watching and we are once again the laughingstock. Our district is a punchline. This board is no better than the board we recalled. They need to be accountable.

  • I wonder if the Board read this article before hiring:
    http://alamedasun.com/news/flight-capistrano-hard-swallow

    • Concerned student Reply

      really, that’s who they hired?! This is what the community’s money is going towards? We’re busy grovelling for some measly infrastructure updates while the district is lining this woman’s pockets. Budget crisis my #*^!!

  • ASB Students @ SCHS Reply

    The students of ASB at San Clemente High School were subjected to an hour of Disctrict rhetoric today during ASB class. We heard how our respected principal was “fired because of a pattern they noticed in his performance”, that the district “didn’t want to fire him, but they had to”, and that “unfortunately they had to let him go before the end of the year “. They wanted us to know that they “understand our frustration” and to make up for it they are offering to “pay for a welcome back to school DANCE at the beginning of the new school year”. LOL. What a pathetic attempt to appease the students. Was the District expecting us do go forth and spew this !*#^~% to the rest of the student body? Unlike many of the back room deals that go on at the district, it will take more than a dance to bribe a student body that has more respect for our Principal Mike Halt than the pencil pushing executives at CUSD can ever hope to achieve.

    “O Captain! My Captain! – Dead Poets Society/Walt Whitman

    • So, Halt is out and the interim principal, Deni Christensen is in charge of SCHS until year end and running Aliso next year as Principal. The same administrator who left Laguna under a cloud of suspicion behavior just a few years ago.

      So, if Halt is (allegedly) eing run out due to issues in an AP class, why is the Director over AP guidance (Christensen) being rewarded while he is punished. Parents for students in this class have already said Halt was handling to satisfaction and answering his concerns.

      Did he get throw under the bus by a fellow admin? Doesn’t take much to figure out who is working with the CUSD Super and Board to push their agenda on San Clemente.

    • This gives me hope for our future generations!! Bravo!!

    • Performance my foot ….

      “Principal Halt worked collaboratively with all stakeholders to build a more inclusive school culture. Halt increased AP and IB enrollment by 24% and reduced truancies by 40% and suspensions by 20%.

      Parents need to show up to tell the Superintendent that we cannot accept that Principal Halt, a retired and highly decorated (Bronze Star & Legion of Merit) Marine Colonel (also a USC Graduate), did not meet CUSD requirements.”

      Source – https://plus.google.com/102469684603371581598/posts/ZUXS35RkXse

    • Not only that but Halt is the principal for that year and the seniors shouldn’t tolerate that.

    • Triton Mom - We are San Clemente! Reply

      Way to go ASB Students! So proud of you for speaking up. Keep speaking up and keep supporting exemplary leaders like Mike Halt. Clearly Vital underestimated how important SCHS is to this town and what a terrific job Mike Halt did leading our HS. #onetownoneteamonefamily

  • Please, if you are angered by this, keep the conversation going here on Facebook.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/CUSD-Has-Problems/955041417869237?ref=hl

    We are all angered by the serious problems of the district which have recently erupted into the current dangerous status.

  • Why does CVHS’s princpal get to stay through the school year? He wasn’t asked back for next school year and he has employee grieveances filed against him!

    • Because he was hired by Irvine. He could see the handwriting on the wall. He was smart to get out, just like Sara Jochim the asst. sup. for special ed and Julie Hatchel the asst. sup. communications along with at least 10 other directors, and principals, not to mention all the executive secretaries, board secretary and senior staff secretaries that are leaving.

      • Phyllis, you couldn’t be more right. The Le Patner/Vital regime is definitely the reason for many of the quiet departures within the district office, and no one seems to be stopping her. She has managed to push everyone out with the blessing of personnel and the superintendent. People don’t matter to them, and this is what is running our district.

  • Wow!

    http://alamedasun.com/news/flight-capistrano-hard-swallow

    So Kirsten Vital who was chased out of the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) and publicly reviled gets to decide over the ‘performance’ shortcomings of a principal that is also combat-experienced and decorated colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and highly respected by parents and students and holds himself to the highest standard of conduct.

    Read some of the remarks regarding Kirsten Vital’s performance:

    “few AUSD teachers would disagree with her proposed timeline.” about her departure.

    “Capistrano trustees claimed to have conducted a nationwide search, “guided by a detailed list of leadership criteria. Was this “leadership criteria” distilled from the Florentine treatise on management principles as codified in The Prince?”

    “Vital and other administrators routinely withhold information from the board”

    I think this deserves a little more scrutiny.

  • I was a 2014 graduate of that school… I had two years of principal Duarte and two years of principal Halt. The change was incredible. Class was very easy to ditch amd teachers weren’t as strict. Not only that but us kids did not care enough about studying, participating, or going to school. Not that Duarte was bad at being a principal it was juse his style wasn’t able to keep up with the SCHS student body. Halt came in my Junior year with a different way of handling things and it was great for our school. He really got people to like the school again. Rather than all of a sudden slamming down a bunch of rules he gradually moved us in to them. For my senior year being the first closed campus at that school was a bummer. Halt became close with the students. He would ask you for your name if he didn’t know it and adress you for anything that needed to be adressed. He got us involved and was our friend, but you didn’t want to disappoint him. He also regularly visited teachers and classrooms unannounced. From someone who was a trouble maker at that school, Halt changed it for the better and I utterly can’t believe this. If anything they should of waited for the year to end and for him to be there at the graduation. Geting my diploma holder from him was a great privilege. Too bad incoming students won’t get to experience what a great guy he is… at least they are experiencing what he did for that school.

    • Sorry, not 2 years of Halt, but 1 year of halt, it seems I just woke up. Senior year was very different. While junior year was a start for a change at that school, the real change started with Halt

  • I’m a senior at SCHS. I need Answers.! He was the best principal we ever had. Why would the even do that to him.? The school year ends in less then 2 months. Couldn’t they wait.? Who will be speaking at my graduation.? A stranger that we don’t know.? Who’s the one that going to shake are hands and say “u did it”? Some that doesn’t even know what we been though.? That so stupid.! I hate this.

  • Why would CUSD let such an effective leader go? This school board is not representing the citizens of Capistrano Unified. The kids love and respect him and appreciate the changes he’s making. I respect this principal immensely! Seems like he is shining a light back on the incompetince of the school board and they are not liking it!

  • I have talked to the district before about another issue concerning the schedule change, and just like this, they did nothing. As mentioned before by someone else in the comments, they told ASB they will provide us with a dance as a replacement for our principal. NOTHING will ever take his place. A dance won’t give us the same high percentage test scores and grades that we got this year. How about, from me, a sophomore at SCHS: “give us our summer and our principal back, then you can give us the dance to make up for all the crap you’ve put us through these last couple months.”

  • If Laguna Beach can have it’s own school district with four schools, why not a San Clemente School District? Then, the board would be focused on San Clemente and the community would have a greater influence about who is leading our schools and how teachers are evaluated.
    Creating a separate school district could be a long-term goal for real change. I assume that a new district would need to be addressed with the Orange County Board of Education if there is real interest in doing this. Their next meeting is scheduled for June 17, 11 am, in Costa Mesa. In the meantime, if there is a way to get CUSD to reverse course and reinstate Mike Halt before this year’s graduation is over, it would mean a great deal to this year’s senior class and everyone else invested in SCHS!

  • If you want to get involved in helping Bring Mike Back, please visit this web page!

    http://www.bringmikeback.org/

    Let’s get this rolling, San Clemente.

    • I’m liking the valiant efforts to reinstate Mr. Halt. However, your suggestion to copy links to Glenn Beck, Megyn Kelley, and Bill O’Reilly creeps me out. Why such extreme right-wing inFoxinators? Copy links to the OC Register, the LA Times (perhaps Steve Lopez, in particular). And if you’re going to go the national media route, include MSNBC. By only including the Fox News wing for inclusion, you are clearly trying to define this as a “conservative cause” which it is not. See, now I am suspicious of what you are doing!

      • I’m with scmom: this is definitely a nonpartisan issue. And why would national media care anyway? It would be perfect if Steve Lopez would write about it. About time he did an OC story. 🙂

  • Should SC ban together to create its own school district?

    • It’s time to go to the next level. Some of the speakers at the meting are lawyers. Would one of them file a complaint with the California Department of education. See http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cp/uc/ for complaint form and Procedure. Discrimination, harassment, intimidation and/or bullying are grounds for a complaint. We have taken it to the local district and they have stonewalled and lied to us we need them to intercede. If the state won’t help the next step would be U.S. Department of Education – Office of Civil Rights. See http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html. Finally reach out to all the district’s school PTAS and let them know what will happen to them if we don’t stick together.

  • I am a resident of San Clemente. I do not have a student at SCHS, but I have been following the articles relating to Mr. Halt and the decision of Capistrano Unified School District to terminate his employment for “not meeting the Districts rigorous standards”. What more rigorous standards could be had than those of the Marine Corp.

    According to the accolades this man has received from his supporters, there is evidence that he has done a good job as principal of the school. Although I don’t know a lot about being a principal, I was a Marine and know the quality of a person selected to be a Colonel in the United States Marine Corp.
    It sounds like someone in the Capistrano USD had the good sense to hire him. Was he too much of a leader in today’s permissive society? Did he ruffle some self important feathers among the parents?

    This man was taught to be a leader of young men and women and to teach them the skills that would allow them to survive in combat, let alone in a high school environment. I seriously doubt that the CUSD will find a better man (or woman) for the job.

    Very Sincerely,

    Harvey Tedford

  • Remove the Board of Trustees!!! Bring Halt back!!!!

  • The District just posted that there will be a special meeting this Thursday, May 21st at 7:00 p.m. to discuss the issue of hiring a private investigation firm to look into Mike Halt’s firing. Please help get the word out around the District to show up in support of this action.

    • Update on 5/21 special meeting: After 4 hours in closed session, the board came back without a decision, and scheduled another special meeting for June 4th to continue discussion. The item is still on the 5/27 regular meeting agenda, so please come & ask the board to vote YES on the investigation. #ilikemikehalt

  • Two years ago when Mike Halt was hired there was no site visit to his school on Martha’s Vineyard. Calls were made to his immediate supervisor & some other crony references. That’s it! If the committee had done the proper vetting they would have unearthed the real story about Mr. Halt’s abilities at the school where he was principal – quite incapable. He would have been shoved out if he didn’t get the job in CA. I was an educator for many years on Martha’s V

  • I don’t know much of this issue but reading the comments about how this is “all politics” and how there are back room deals going on is pretty funny. I think everyone commenting has been watching too much “House of Cards”

comments (73)

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>