Ryan Hagen, The (San Bernardino County) Sun
Posted: 10/27/2011 03:16:03 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – After accepting a top administrative post with the school district, Diego Ochoa has changed his mind.

Ochoa was hired Oct. 18 to fill a newly created position of administrative director curriculum/instruction and accountability and research (secondary education).

Ochoa announced he was bowing out in a letter that San Bernardino City Unified School District officials received Wednesday.

“The district respects Mr. Ochoa’s decision and wishes him the best in his future endeavors,” district spokeswoman Linda Bardere said. “The district will continue to work on filling the newly created position of administrative director, curriculum/instruction and accountability and research (secondary education).”

The position, created by a recent reorganization, pays between $102,431 and $124,507 per year. Ochoa had not yet started work.

Controversy surfaced only days after Ochoa accepted the job when it was learned that he resigned from his previous position as a principal in Chula Vista-based Sweetwater Union High School District after admitting to grading irregularities and becoming caught up in accusations of mishandling more than $90,000 in school funds.

San Bernardino City school board members said they had heard only great things about Ochoa when they hired him in a closed-door meeting Oct. 18 to develop curriculum for the district’s middle and high schools.

That points to serious problems with the hiring process, board President Danny Tillman said Thursday.

“We can’t divulge what we hear in closed session, but I can guarantee you we didn’t hear anything pertaining to what has been written in the paper,” Tillman said. “We can’t just take that on face value, but that we didn’t even hear the story – I’ve already spoken to our assistant superintendent of human resources, Harold Vollkommer, and I’m sure we’ll do more in the meetings coming up to make sure this type of thing doesn’t happen.”

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