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Pleasanton school district superintendent placed on administrative leave

Personnel matter being investigated, board says

Less than six months into his tenure, Pleasanton school district Superintendent Rick Rubino has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into an unspecified personnel matter.

The school board, in a statement released Tuesday, said its decision to place Rubino on leave "demonstrates that we place the highest priority on creating and maintaining a professional working environment for all employees."

The board announced that deputy superintendent of business services Micaela Ochoa has agreed to serve as the district's leader for the time being. She becomes the district's fourth leader since spring 2015.

"We are confident in her familiarity with the district, our programs, people, and parent and community partners, will help to ensure stability and a continued focus on student achievement," the board said in its statement -- which district spokesman Patrick Gannon emailed to PUSD employees, families and news media on Tuesday.

Board president Joan Laursen declined to comment further on the matter. Rubino had not returned calls for comment as of Tuesday afternoon.

Gannon said he could not elaborate further since it is a personnel matter, adding that it's not known at this time how long the investigation will take.

"The board's intent is it will be as expeditious as possible," he said. He added that the district is in the process of hiring an independent investigator to handle the investigation. That person will report to the school board.

Rubino was officially placed on leave Monday after a special school board meeting at 8 a.m. that day in which the board was scheduled to take action on disciplining an unnamed employee in closed session. The meeting was noticed on the district's website on Friday evening.

The board "reached consensus" on the decision during its closed session meeting, Gannon said.

Rubino started as PUSD superintendent on July 1 following four years as the superintendent of Gridley Unified School District in Butte County.

The school board approved a three-year contract for Rubino in May with an initial annual base salary of $256,000.

Rubino was hired after a five-month search. He replaced former Amador Valley High principal Jim Hansen, who stepped out of retirement to fill the superintendent seat for the 2015-16 school year while the district searched for a permanent successor to Parvin Ahmadi.

Besides PUSD, Rubino has worked as an administrator for school districts in Fremont, San Leandro, Concord and Martinez.

Ochoa was promoted to deputy superintendent of business services last December. She previously worked as the chief business officer for the Santa Clara County Office of Education.

Gannon said he did not know if someone would be filling in for Ochoa as deputy superintendent.

"We're really grateful Micaela Ochoa agreed to serve as leader during this time," he said. "We're going to continue to focus on doing what's best for students."

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