The Merced City School District is investigating its leader, Superintendent Terry Brace, after reports of an inappropriate sexual relationship with one of his subordinates surfaced over winter break.
The school board announced Tuesday night that "a district administrator has been put on paid administrative leave," but declined to elaborate.
Several sources outside the meeting confirmed that it was Brace who was put on leave, and some suggested why.
A district employee, who would only speak on the condition of anonymity for fear of being fired, said Brace was caught having sex with a female administrator in his district office by a member of the janitorial staff over winter break. That lasted from Dec. 22 to Jan. 3.
The source added that the nature of the sexual relationship was unclear and would be included as part of the school board's investigation, which began after the board meeting Tuesday. The Sun-Star is withholding the name of the female administrator because she couldn't be reached for comment or confirmation. She was promoted to a district office position in fall 2008, according to sources.
Neither Brace, nor his secretary, could be reached at the district office Wednesday.
Greg Spicer, assistant superintendent for personnel services, said he didn't know when the school board's investigation would conclude.
"At this point, there isn't really much more I can tell you because these confidential personnel matters take time to look into," Spicer said. "He is on leave until further notice."
Associate Superintendent of educational services, RoseMary Parga-Duran, has stepped in to fill Brace's role for the time being.
Spicer will also take on some additional responsibilities.
"The board did give us direction last night on how to move forward and pick up the pieces during the absence," Spicer said.
This is not the first time Brace has been in hot water since he took reins of the district in fall 2005. Last April, the Merced City Teachers Association issued a resolution of no confidence about Brace's ability to lead the district.
The list of grievances attached to the resolution was a full page long.
Brace's salary in 2008 was $173,568.
His employment contract with the district was extended in October to last through 2012 by the school board. At that time, the board found that Brace's performance had been rated as "very good to outstanding" within the six categories of his performance evaluation.
Reporter Danielle Gaines can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.