After hearing community members’ support for principal Tag Pimentel and their concerns regarding the handling of his recent resignation, Weed Union Elementary School District trustees went into closed session during a July 21 special meeting and appointed Alisa Cummings as the new principal, effective Aug. 1.

Cummings, a lifelong Weed resident, has 10 years teaching experience at Weed Elementary, where she has been involved in the Leadership Team, the Five Year Strategic Plan, the Single Plan for Student Achievement, acting principal in charge and has 10 years of involvement with the basketball program.

“I love it. I love it here. It’s my community. It’s my home,”?Cummings said the next day. She said she looks forward to working with incoming superintendent Kathi Emerson, who previously served as principal at the school.

“We are pleased to have hired such a talented and dedicated local educator who will provide a smooth transition for our students, staff and parents,” Emerson said in a press relase from the District. “In addition, with Mrs. Cummings’ leadership, the district will continue to focus on the Board-adopted aims of maximizing student achievement, safe schools, and increased operational effectiveness and efficiency. We welcome her to the team.”   

Approximately 30 people attended last week’s special meeting; most were WES parents. Before the board adjourned into closed session, parents Mike Duchi, Alisa Scholeberg and PTO?president Darcy Lee made statements expressing their concerns about the resignation and appointment of a new principal. At the conclusion of each statement the audience applauded.

Duchi suggested that the appointment of a new principal be set aside until “some critical questions are answered”?about Pimentel’s resignation.

Lee said, “We had a great principal, and for what appears to be very vague reasons, he has now resigned. The circumstances, timing and speed at which this has all happened have seemed incredibly suspicious to our community.”

Board president Deborah Goltz said that trustees’ “hands are tied by ed. code” as to what can be discussed in public session. “I know that it is very frustrating. I was in your seat and that’s why I ran for the board ten years ago.” She went on to say, “We represent you. We represent the community. We are not educators.”

Goltz said she was the last person to run for election to the WUES board, and that was 10 years ago. All the other current board members have been appointed. “Consider that if you want to make a difference and when you are in this seat you will see what it’s like when you have to make decisions with a lot of information,” Goltz said.

In an interview after the meeting, Goltz said the board couldn’t postpone the decision to appoint a new principal because it’s almost August, and the person hired would leave a vacancy that would require time to fill. They also wanted to give the new principal time to prepare for the coming school year.

After the meeting, Emerson said of the response by the parents, “This community cares about their school.”

Board members attending the meeting were Goltz, Jeff Repass and Gaustad. Tim Frisbie and Mike Carpine were absent as was superintendent Gary Lampella was absent.