Fontana Unified superintendent agrees to step down amid controversy – San Bernardino Sun

Randal S. Bassett, superintendent of the Fontana Unified School District Superintendent for the past five years, has abruptly agreed to step down from his position on Aug. 1.

Following a two-hour closed session meeting of the Board of Education on Wednesday, July 20, President Jennifer Quezada announced that the board voted 4-1, with member Mary Sandoval dissenting, to approve Bassett’s resignation agreement “for the purpose of retirement.”

Bassett, a district employee of more than 24 years with more than 30 years of management experience in education, was making $250,000 in base pay and $328,231 in total compensation as recently as 2020, according to Transparent California, a public pay database.

His retirement package includes 11 months of salary and benefits, plus medical benefits for eight years, the district said Thursday.

Quezada did not respond to multiple emails requesting comment Thursday.

Monica Mankiewicz, the district’s associate superintendent of teaching and learning, will serve as acting superintendent following Bassett’s retirement, subject to approval of an employment contract at the next board meeting, according to the district. Mankiewicz has been with the district since November 2020 and has 27 years of education experience, according to the district.

Under Bassett’s leadership, the district expanded its career technical education program, providing students with cutting-edge experience in bio animatronics, aviation, and mechatronics, and launched the district’s 1:1 technology program. Last year, Bassett’s leadership was recognized by the UC Davis C-STEM Center, which named him its 2021 Superintendent of the Year, according to the district.

Bassett was appointed to the district’s top position in December 2016. He began his career at the district in April 1998 as a media services assistant, working his way up the ladder to internet information coordinator, director of technology, chief technology officer, associate superintendent of business services, interim superintendent and, finally, superintendent.

Bassett’s resignation comes amid an administrative investigation into allegations that Fontana School Police Detective David Wibert has been insulated by his superiors and school district administrators against allegations of violent and inappropriate conduct involving students and fellow officers spanning more than a decade.

Wibert, who started as an officer at the department in 2008 and earns more than $103,000 a year, has been on paid leave since April after the allegations surfaced in an April 8 letter by Officer Christian Shaw to Bassett, citing multiple incidents of alleged misconduct involving Wibert.

Wibert is the son of former Fontana City Councilwoman Lydia Salazar Wibert, who works as a liaison in the district’s child welfare attendance office. It is Wibert’s mother and his close friendship with his immediate supervisor, Sgt. Dennis Barnett, that his current and former colleagues believe he has been shielded from discipline.

David Wibert’s wife, his two sisters and his sister-in-law also work for the district.

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