Trustees Move Embattled Fresno High Principal Into a New Job
Linda Laettner, who has been principal of Fresno’s oldest school through some of its more turbulent recent times, has a new job with the district.
Starting July 1, Laettner will be the executive officer of engagement and external partnerships. Under the district’s salary schedule, her starting salary will be $134,626 annually.
But her appointment was not unanimous, which is somewhat unusual among Fresno Unified School Board personnel votes.
Board president Veva Islas and Trustee Elizabeth Jonasson-Rosas abstained, while board clerk Susan Wittrup and Trustees Andy Levine, who represents the Fresno High region, Valerie Davis, Keshia Thomas, and Claudia Cazares voted for Laettner’s appointment.
Islas and Jonasson-Rosas said they could not comment on their votes to abstain. “It’s a personnel issue discussed in closed session. I cannot comment,” Islas said in a text message.
Laettner did not return a phone call Wednesday seeking comment.
School Known for ‘Baby-Making’ Stairwell
Laettner’s tenure as principal began July 1, 2018, and has been marked by a series of controversies.
In recent months, Fresno High officials have come under fire from staff, students, and parents for security lapses, such as open and unguarded gates, and for the apparent knowledge by Laettner and other officials that one poorly supervised stairwell is nicknamed a “baby-making area” because of student trysts there.
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In 2020, a dispute over changing the school’s mascot rocked the school and resonated across the city. The school’s mascot name is Warriors and was previously represented with a cartoon image of a Native American man that many people said was racist and offensive, but which supporters lobbied to keep as the school’s longtime tradition.
Opponents of the mascot change, who flooded School Board meetings with public comments, said that they had not had sufficient opportunity to air their views about the mascot change, which occurred during the pandemic when meetings were held virtually.
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While Warriors was retained as the nickname, the old logo was replaced by the line drawing of Royce Hall as the main logo and the letter F for sports fear, and was removed from signs, floors, and other facilities at the central Fresno high school campus.
One parent reports that the main logo now is the letter F, not the Royce Hall line drawing.
Fresno High was founded in 1889. It is an International Baccalaureate high school.