Former superintendent Mancha placed on administrative leave in Natalia

By Linda Sherrell
Staff Writer, Devine News

Monday night, October 13th the Natalia I.S.D. School Board of Trustees held a special meeting in the District conference room at the Junior High School. Following a brief call to order and approval of the minutes, they retired into executive session to discuss the following three agenda items:

A. Pursuant to Texas Government Code section 551.071, Consultation with attorney regarding legal issues related to the Superintendent evaluation, employment, duties and possible resignation agreement.

B. Pursuant to Texas Government Code section 551.074, consider and discuss the Superintendent evaluation, employment, duties and possible resignation agreement.

C. Pursuant to Texas Government Code section 551.071, Consultation with attorney regarding legal issues related to the possible appointment of an interim Superintendent.

The board retired into the closed session at 6:35 p.m. and didn’t return in to open session until 8:34 p.m.

Walsh Anderson Law Firm Attorney Tony Resendez was present at the meeting and during the executive session to advise the board concerning the action.

Upon returning to open session, Board Trustee Emilio Flores made a motion to place Dr. Guillermo Mancha on administrative leave immediately and to relieve him of all of his duties and to proceed as discussed in executive session. The motion was seconded by Board Secretary Matthew Kempf. The board approved the motion by a vote of 5-2.

Those favoring the action were President Eric Smith, Vice President Tiffany Rodriguez, Secretary Matthew Kempf, Trustee Emilio Flores and Trustee Jack Bradley. Trustee Paul Almendarez and Trustee Gloria Vasquez voted against the action.

The next item concerned possible action regarding the appointment of an Interim Superintendent. Trustee Jack Bradley made a motion to name current Assistant Superintendent Alexandro Flores the Interim Superintendent with a $50.00 per day increase from his current daily rate of $377.99 to $427.99. Board Vice President Tiffany Rodriguez seconded the motion, which was approved by a vote of 6-1.

Trustee Paul Almendarez cast the lone vote against his appointment.

During 2014, the board has considered the Superintendent’s evaluation and employment in seven different meetings out of the 17 special and regular meetings they held this year going back to January. On at least two occasions board members have questioned Mancha about job performance issues including once during the September meeting when Smith questioned the lack of action to amend deficiencies in emergency preparedness following a report to the state.

“At this time, all I can confirm is the fact that Dr. Mancha has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately,” Smith said. “I really can’t go into any further details other than the fact that Mr. Flores has taken over as Interim Superintendent and as a district we will move forward.”

Interim Superintendent Alexandro Flores commented that the district was moving forward.

“Although our district has been recently experiencing changes in key leadership positions, we continue to make tremendous progress towards our ultimate goal which is to deliver high quality instruction to our students,” Flores said. “Regardless of the circumstances we will continue to stay on course and keep focused on the task at hand. This is a resilient organization which has overcome many tough situations in the past and will continue to do so now and in the future.”

The future of Dr. Mancha’s employment is unknown at press time. Mancha began his employment with the district in summer of 2010 after serving as superintendent in Van Horn, Texas.