Assistant Superintendent Resigns from SB Unified

By the edhat staff

A second administrator from the Santa Barbara School District has resigned within the last month.

Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Schools, Dr. Stanley Munro is no longer with the district as of July 31. 

Munro took the position in May 2022 after resigning from the superintendent role at Wisconsin’s Beloit School District in January 2020. He was facing a formal investigation into alleged “bullying” conduct, although it did not proceed following his resignation.

Three employees filed complaints against Munro alleging retaliation, harassment, and improper disciplinary action. Additionally two administrators filed complaints over staff retaliation, reports the Beloit Daily News.

Stanley Munro (courtesy photo)

Former Santa Barbara Unified Superintendent Cary Matsuoka said at the time of Munro’s hiring that Munro had gone through an extensive vetting process, was completely transparent, and would be an asset to the district. 

Santa Barbara Unified will combine Munro’s role with the Executive Director of Elementary Education, now held by Denise Alvarado. 

A week earlier, on July 21, Santa Barbara High School Principal Dr. Elise Simmons resigned to take on the role of Coordinator of Student and Family Services at the Santa Barbara County Office of Education.

Longtime district employee Fred Razo has taken on the role of interim principal at Santa Barbara High while a search is underway for a replacement. The district is reportedly paying Razo $739 until a permanent replacement is found, according to The Independent.

Last month it was confirmed Santa Barbara Unified Superintendent Hilda Maldonado would have her contract renewed through at least 2026 in a 4-0 trustee decision. 

According to online statements from former employees, over 30 district management employees have exited since Maldonado’s hiring. 


Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

What do you think?


11 Comments deleted by Administrator

Leave a Review or Comment


  1. From reading edhat commenters, I had assumed the only school problems locally were a nutty conservative lady that ran for school board and a principal up in Santa Ynez who painted over the rainbow crosswalk in front of the high school.
    Given recent reading comprehension scores, I am not surprised that a Santa Barbara Unified employee did not know what the phrase “extensive vetting process” means.

  2. A resignation this time of year is usually something else. Hearing from those that have worked closely with him, he was inept. So his “voluntary” (or not) departure is a good thing for the district.
    Unfortunately, those that work closely around Hilda feel the same about her leadership skills. Sure, she is able to speak well and impress board members (enough to get a multi-year contract renewal), but they don’t really look too far to understand her weaknesses. It is possible to sound smart and dedicated to a cause, but be a clueless and poor leader.
    Meanwhile at school sites, leadership and teachers (however short-staffed) soldier on and are committed to your kids…

  3. Hi Sacjon
    Thanks for including the link
    “In the past three years, the number of 3rd to 6th grade students meeting or exceeding grade-level standards for reading grew from 44 percent in 2021 to 47 percent in 2023. ”
    This is 1% per year
    “The overall English language proficiency of emergent multilingual learners, who make up 1,900 of the district’s students, has grown from 11.68 percent in the 2020-2021 school year to 19 percent in 2021-2022, above the state average of 15.45 percent. However, only 10 percent of the students tested were proficient in reading. ”
    only 10% were proficient in reading. Ouch. Plus not sure “proficient” means, well, proficient.
    “the school board is considering new approaches that center on “phonemic awareness” or “science-based learning,” in which students are taught how to sound out words based on the sounds of the letters.”
    Considering? Three years with a 3% improvement, old system was in place for 15 years. Hmmmm, lets think about it some more.
    “In math, test scores have slightly decreased from last year. In June 2021, 23 percent of students met or exceeded standards, which grew to 32 percent in 2022 and is down to 30 percent in 2023.”
    Is it too much to ask them to do both of these things (reading, math) well?
    “High school graduation rates rose from 90.9 percent in 2018-2019 to 95.2 percent in 2021-2022, and the number of graduates meeting university requirements rose from 48.12 percent in 2018-2019 to 61.6 percent in 2021-2022. Those numbers are also higher than the averages in Santa Barbara County and statewide.”
    If proficiency in math and english is abysmal upon graduation, then what is the benefit to having stayed in school? You could argue that it would have been better to enter an apprenticeship program at 16 and be two years ahead of your peers at 18

  4. Blame part of this fiasco on the propensity to hire out of the system. I can tell you from personal experience in hiring that agencies trying to get rid of a problem will absolutely lie to you about the qualities of the candidate they want gone. When this happens with people in distant locations it is almost impossible to verify the truth and criticism of the candidate is explained as sour grapes or gossip. Hiring in house give you the advantage of local reputation and acceptance. And a candidate that knows the community.

  5. It seems like the Board has completely given up on running an organization, at least from a personnel standpoint. They rubber stamp hiring for people with little actual managerial experience, people who jump around from district to district, or people who were shown the door at a prior job (as is the case with Munro). All of Hilda’s direct reports save Becchio have left for greener pastures so we can kiss that institutional knowledge goodbye, Hilda is wildly unpopular at all levels of district staff, and good teachers are retiring early or are quitting in droves as more and more programs are shoved down their throats by district admins, and no one wants to be a sub or an aide. I don’t know what the Board does but they had better get their act together before everyone good has left.

  6. It would be healing and impactful to have a leader that is not afraid to talk about the unmet needs of our students particularly the 5 groups namely (EML, emergent multi-lingual learners, foster youth, homeless, student with socioeconomic hardship and students with learning differences) that are not proficient in reading or college ready. At State of Schools, Maldonado raved about our 90% graduation rates obfuscating our dismal A-G’s percentages for thousands of struggling students. The A-G’s are required high school courses needed to apply to a 4 year university. In 21/22 only 5.7% EML and only 12% of students with learning differences took A-G’s . A transparent, effective leader would have been talking about remediation and interventions for these students. Summer of learning was only for 540 students but 6,500 students need interventions to close the gap. Students with learning differences are not offered interventions until they are in the bottom 25% and even then are not given the intensity and duration they need to close the gaps. Sadly only 8% of EML and only 11% students with differences are reading proficiently by end of third.. This is a “wait to fail” culture that hurts our students and teachers.
    The new science of reading curriculum is a welcome change, something advocates fought for, for years but it will only work if it is implemented well by someone who has already done it and is knowledgeable . Maldonado’s roll out ignores this by leaving implementation to principals who do not have experience in this.
    Public schools need to work well for everyone. If we had a proactive culture, we would have 70% less students in special ed and we could have 90% reading proficiency for all students by end of 3rd. Change the culture from “doing too little, too late” for our struggling students to a proactive one , that includes universal screening, intensive interventions for reading, smaller class sizes, teacher training, more prep time for teachers, and competitive pay for teachers and para educators is what is needed. None of this will change until our community and school board push hard for it . Remember when people smoked on airplanes and indoors even overseas flights…. It took years but the tipping point was reached. How much worse does it need to get before we as a community reached our tipping point ?

  7. If we had better education in this country, and students learned just a modicum of critical thinking skills, we wouldn’t have the people you see here who unthinkingly parrot and support fascist demagogues like trump, desantis, elder, caldwell, greene, gaetz, thomas, jordan, and the other clowns trying to subvert our freedoms for their own personal gain.

  8. Stanley was just a manifestation of low expectations, poor leadership and resistance to the public that is now the norm in the bureaucracy that is SBUSD. When they dumbed down the mission statement to “We prepare students for a world that is yet to be created,” they let the school board and the administration completely off the hook. No goals that can be evaluated, no specifics, no nothing. That inane statement requires nothing of any of them. And this is the previous one: “The mission of the Santa Barbara Unified School District is to ensure the educational success of all students through high expectations and a commitment to excellence and to empower them to reach their full potential as responsible, ethical, and productive citizens in a diverse and changing world.” The only good news is that they printed the new one on paper in the board room, covering up the beautiful tile display. We can only hope some truly enlightened superintendent will tear down the paper and rebuild the district from the mission statement on. But , unbelievably, we have to wait three more years.

    • : “The mission of the Santa Barbara Unified School District is to ensure the educational success of all students through high expectations and a commitment to excellence and to empower them to reach their full potential as responsible, ethical, and productive citizens in a diverse and changing world.”
      Apparently a less than 50% success rate is “ensuring success of all students”.

    • TRANSPARENT – Not sure anyone is defending the status quo and saying it’s just fine now. I’m saying it’s not as bad as some doom and gloom cons here make it out to be. We need LOTS of improvement in our public schools, but a large group of politicians and their followers (name rhymes with “Mudflupicans”) push back on any increased spending for these critical institutions and instead insist on privatizing. Look at privatized healthcare to see the flaws in that thinking. Our education is woefully behind the rest of the developed world, it’s time to work TOGETHER to improve the public’s education system.

    • Hi again Sacjon
      I agree with you that Republicans don’t have any deep insights to offer. I’m not one (a Republican) despite everyone insisting that I must be merely because I’m so unsatisfied by our system.
      I disagree with you in that I feel (and evidence supports) that SBUSD’s status quo is quite horribly bad. Basic math is even worse than basic reading. These are indeed “doom and gloom” results for families that trust the public system for their fruits and veggies. You and I seem to have other resources for our families, so I guess we shouldn’t be upset?
      You say let’s do better together. Sure. But who would disagree with that?
      Most importantly, our per-pupil funding is quite adequate. That’s not what’s holding us back. (Kind of like health care… “spend more” isn’t quite a useful answer.). Like health care, the money isn’t getting to people… teachers, families, and students. If classes were capped at 20 kids, each teacher would have about 1/3 of a million per year to meet those needs. Yet when you tell teachers this, they’re shocked. Where does all the money go?
      [ The simple math of ~1/4 billion dollars per year divided by ~14k kids and scaling left to the reader as an exercise.]

    • This is how that happens – I worked happily for years in a school district until a new superintendent came along. Talked a good talk – exceptional social skills and expressed care about all children constantly. The board was smitten. However, once things got going, this supe loved to attend conferences, did not visit schools, did not talk to those at schools, made decisions from the top down with no consideration for what was in place, would bite the head off of any questioners and made it clear that the supe was the only one to speak to the board. This supe cared more about saying things people wanted to hear rather than facts or data in the public eye. Internally, turned out to be a dictator and even an intimidator of any one who questioned or had a divergent thought. The staff around and admin feared this person and the work climate was awful. The board did not see this but admin and those closest around the supe began to take other jobs. The supe would tell the board that this was a part of building a stronger team with a unified vision. Friends were hired. Eventually, the board began to talk those who had left or were leaving and learned that they had been viewing an alternate reality skewed by the supe. Much of what they were told was not true. They were appalled at the awful management, but they never thought to really talk to those around the supe. The supe was fired (resigned in the public eye) and the district had to pay off the contract. So, it happens and it severly damaged that district.
      I know they spent money to “retrain” Maldonado (pretty weird), but did it really change anything?
      Does district staff, admin, site admin etc, have confidence in Maldonado? There is only one way to find out…

  9. Sad, really sad.
    Celebrating the fact that over 50% of kids tested, not every kid participated in testing, can’t read at grade level is really sad.
    Less than 30% can do math.
    In 2021 per the Independent 3rd to 6th grade was at 46% for reading. We have a 1% increase which could be just different kids showing up to test, not an actual measure of “success”.
    These stats of over half the kids not being able to read at grade level are decades old with no real progress in increasing education. Let’s be real here, don’t celebrate.
    And how is it that SBUSD has over a 90% graduation rate when over half the kids can’t read at grade level, 70% can’t do math at grade level?
    SBUSD has several types of diplomas. One such diploma given to the over 50% who cannot perform at grade level will not allow kids to go onto higher learning. That’s right even our local community SBCC will not take these students. Ask SBUSD yourself. It’s not something they talk about freely.
    Is that success in education? So sad.
    SBUSD has a policy to “kick the can down the road”.
    Ever ask yourself how a child who cannot read & write, over 50% of students, and who cannot do math at grade level, over 70%, manage to move up grades each & every year despite the teacher & administration knowing that the child cannot keep up in class.
    That’s real confidence inspiring, think about the 6th grader who can’t read a menu. They can’t read “hot dog, Mac n cheese, hamburger, soda, etc… “
    But that’s “success” in SBUSD’s eyes.
    A big part of helping is identifying where help is needed. None of these reports state who needs help, are there common denominators for the over 50% who can’t read at grade level?
    The elephant in the room, everyone knows the common denominator & then they say education is racist, all the teachers are racist, the kids don’t have the same access to the teacher, to the books, the public school provided iPad, the public library, etc… as other kids. But every kid of age has a smart phone.
    So are our teachers racist? Is SBUSD Board & Admin racist? For decades there’s been an education deficiency and zero progress. Yeah a 1% increase is not progress & over half the kids not being educated is no reason to celebrate.
    But the excuse is “we’re beating the state average”.
    When did SB become complacent & ok with failure, mediocrity at best?
    Be involved in your kids education, make sure they’re doing their homework. If the kids need extra tutoring there are plenty of free or low cost programs out there.
    It’s the parent’s responsibility. SBUSD & CA has shown they need your help because they obviously can’t get past the 50% mark.

  10. My sources inform that until there is school choice, the one-sided dominance of the teachers’ unions politics will continue to virtual signal and shame any employee, who is even mildly conservative, so they are silent, fearful of losing their jobs, or they are leaving. SBUSD is more about mind-control than education. Thinking out loud is ‘forbidden’!

    • @LoisLane – there is a lot that disturbs me about your comment. A lot of your statements seem to stem from conspiracy theories that are not based in facts or reality that drum up uneducated Americans to yell at admins during public meetings. First, no one should ever know if a teacher is conservative or liberal or moderate or whatever. They are in the classroom to teach and to help children. And that includes ALL children. If a child is a minority, if they’re gay, if they’re trans or nonbinary, the teacher should only meet that child with love, acceptance, and a desire to help them learn. That is it. This BS you spew about “thinking out loud is forbidden” is complete nonsense and teachers worried about this should seek other professions.

    • Please look into and read up on the concept of school choice, your comment shows you have a gross misunderstanding of the program. You mentioning this be a “cons against public school” thing and bringing religious schools into, same for the rant @ 2:01 indicate you two are too deep in the propaganda spoon fed to you by the people and institutions that benefit from the current public education monopoly. It doesn’t take money away from public schools and actual saves the state money for each student that participates. And wow, the “choice” doesn’t work for everyone, yeah, that’s why it’s a choice! A choice is something most families don’t currently have. Why are you so opposed to giving families without financial means a choice in how their kids are educated?

    • VOICE – “too deep in the propaganda spoon fed to you by the people and institutions that benefit from the current public education monopoly. ” – Bullshit. We’ve been over this. The only school (maybe 2) that people could afford with a voucher are RELIGIOUS schools. Not everyone wants that. It’s seriously mind-blowing how you think cold hard facts are propaganda. I’m done with your conspiracy addled mind.
      Why can’t you tell us where the money for vouchers comes from? Are you willing to pay more taxes to pay for these vouchers or will you admit the money will come from public school funds. Go on, tell us.

    • @Voice, parents can choose to send their children to private schools where they teach them the Bible is nonfiction and Jesus rules all if they choose to. That is their school choice. While I do agree that teacher unions and admins have neglected to put the children first, the concept of school choice is not feasible. Studies show that school choice pilot programs had some of the largest test score drops ever seen in the research record. And that doesn’t even begin to describe the host of issues for taxpayer funded schools that are religious and ban kids for being gay when there’s supposed to be a separation of church and state. This happened in Florida btw.
      Read more here:
      I know I’m wasting my breath because you come on here to argue and your mind will never be changed unless Joe Rogan or Ben Shapiro tells you to but for others who may not be completely aware of the dangers of school choice, do your research. It sounds like an easy fix, but in reality we’d be opening up a massive can of worms that could have harmful impacts on our youth.

    • VOICE – how is it so hard for you to understand that there are no more than 1 or 2 (religious) private schools in our town that are affordable using only a voucher? The “choice” doesn’t work for everyone. Why can’t you grasp that simple concept? And how are you paying for these vouchers? Taking any tax payer funds away from public schools would be awful. You then leave people with NO choice. Not enough money for private school of their choice or a terribly underfunded public school. Sounds bad to me.
      Why are you cons so hellbent against spending more on public schools? The rest of the developed countries (and even some developing countries) are miles ahead in education. Why? Because they prioritize it. They’re smarter, more advanced and have a better quality of life because of it. Getting sick of being dragged into the mud in this country. Our kids deserve better. Fix it or stop the whole “USA, USA, USA” “We’re #1” bullpucky. We’re not.
      Stop insisting on defunding public education!

    • Ok 1) you bringing left/right politics into this is why my propaganda comment isn’t BS, this isn’t, and shouldn’t be, a partisan political issue. 2)I don’t know why your hung up on religious schools and this is where the Econ 101 would be helpful. When demand for private alternative educational opportunities increases, new providers will step in to increase the supply. In addition, you’re ignoring the home school / private tutor aspect someone mentioned earlier. 3) let’s do some math! Public School A has 100 students and receives $18k per student = $1.8M. Next year, 20 students decide to take the school choice option 20 x $7.5k (for an example voucher amount) = $150k. 80 students remain at school A, which received exactly the same per student from the state as the prior year 80 x $18k = $1.444M. The total of the two combined equals $1.59M for those same 100 students, a savings of $210k per year the state could use elsewhere or send back to school A effectively increasing the amount of funding they receive by $210k/80 = $2,625 per student – a 15% increase school A was receiving per student.

    • It is absolutely astounding to me how there isn’t massive support for School Choice. It’s a testament to the political clout of the teachers unions and the ease at which the politicians they support can convince their followers that the current monopoly on public education is really the best way to educate our youth. Since when has a monopoly yielded better results for the consumer?

  11. For those who advocate voucher (i.e. taxpayer) – funded school choice as cure-all for public schools’ problems, I am OK with that provided that private schools that take taxpayer dollars educate EVERY kid that walks in the door. Special ed, non-English speaker, disabled, crazy parents, whatever. They MUST educate all of them to the letter of the law, they cannot deny any kid an education, and they must adhere 100% to ed code. As long as they can cherry pick their kids, I don’t want them to get any of my tax dollars.

    • An opportunity this program would open up would be schools/education providers, either typical or alternative like small group guided homeschool, that cater specifically to the special needs of those groups. The state could also increase voucher amounts for special needs students. In addition, with savings the state makes by providing vouchers (see example below) the state would have additional funds they could direct towards special needs programs. And it case it wasn’t already obvious, there would be income limits, it makes no sense to provide a voucher to wealthy families who could easily spend $20K+ a year on tuition.

Environmental Groups Win Legal Fight to Preserve Agricultural Heritage in Santa Ynez Valley

Rep. Carbajal and Lompoc Mayor Highlight Over $11M in Funding for Infrastructure