San Benito High School Principal Submits His Resignation

Todd Dearden had been on paid administrative leave for nearly a month

Todd Dearden, the principal of San Benito High School who since just before Thanksgiving has been on paid administrative leave pending an investigation, submitted his resignation Dec. 9 to the school district, according to Superintendent John Perales. Assistant Principal Adrian Ramirez will continue to serve as interim principal while the district begins the process of recruiting and hiring a new principal.

Benitolink contacted Dearden, who declined to comment. Ramirez could not immediately be reached for comment.

SBHS Trustee Juan Robledo declined to make a specific comment about the resignation because he had been advised not to do so, but said, “Anything I know is not open to discussion because I’m a board member and we need to protect Mr. Dearden’s rights.”

Robledo said he didn’t want to jeopardize Dearden’s future job search opportunities.

“That might mean a liability for the school,” Robledo said. “I’m sure he’s going to pursue other areas and I don’t want to hurt him in any way. I will say I enjoyed the times we worked together.” Dearden was hired as principal in 2014.

According to an email from Perales, the district "will make every effort" to hire a new principal as soon as possible. The superintendent said the district "wishes to reassure all its students, parents, guardians and staff that the District’s first priority will continue to be the provision of the highest quality education to its students, and leadership to the community, throughout this transition."

On Nov. 19, the district announced that Dearden had been place on paid administrative leave pending an ongoing investigation. The district declined to comment on details of the investigation, only to say that it was not criminal in nature.

This is not the first time Deardoe has faced scrutiny at a school where he served as principal. In 2012, as principal at Sonora High School, a parent accused him of striking her son while breaking up a fight on campus. No charges were pursued, according to the Tuolumne County District Attorney, citing “insufficient evidence.”

He was unanimously approved as principal by the board of trustees in 2014.


John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a freelance photojournalist with additional experience as a copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter, and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer, having worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John worked as a scriptwriting consultant, and his own script, "God's Club," was produced and released in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime, which are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected]