Sweetwater Union High School District Superintendent Dr. Ed Brand announced at a May 28 press conference that he is officially re-retiring from the district.
“I’ve decided I’ve had enough fun,” Brand said.
He said one of his greatest accomplishments was forming a partnership with San Diego State University in creating Compact for Success, a program that gives students in the Sweetwater district guaranteed admission to SDSU if they complete certain requirements.
Since the program launched 14 years ago, more than 11,000 students have been admitted to SDSU.
Brand, 60, said he feels he was successful in getting the district back on the right fiscal track and helped the district reach new heights in academic gains after he returned in 2011.
He said the district is in good enough shape for him to walk away.
“I’m particularly excited about leaving at this time because I think the district is going to be in extremely good hands,” he said.
With Brand retiring at the end of his contract on Oct. 1, and a potential new school board being elected in November, the Sweetwater district can start moving forward from a corruption scandal that has left the district with a black eye.
Board President John McCann said he plans to have discussions with the four temporary trustees to appoint an interim superintendent.
McCann did not mention any names of candidates who could be an interim superintendent.
A November election will determine new board members who will be in charge of searching for and appointing a permanent superintendent, Brand said.
Brand said he made the decision to leave about four months ago, even alerting previous board members of his decision.
However Bertha Lopez, a suspended board member who has had a tumultuous working relationship with the superintendent, said she was never notified about Brand’s retirement plans.
“I was not aware that he had plans to retire and that does not surprise me,” she said. “I was always kept out of the loop.”
Southwestern College governing board member Humberto Peraza has been outspokenl in his criticism of Brand’s leadership at Sweetwater. Peraza said he is embracing Brand’s decision.
“I had my feelings known about the direction in his leadership in the past year,” he said. “And I don’t think it is good practice to beat on him as he is walking out the door.”
Brand said he had to postpone his announcement because of board members’ court hearings that were associated with a corruption scandal.
Brand said his retirement plans include traveling, playing tennis with his wife and “ultimately manage property that I recently acquired.”
“I never wanted to be the richest man in the graveyard but anyhow, I do look forward to the next chapter of my life.”
Brand is adamant that he is retiring for good.
This not only ends Brand’s second go-round as superintendent but it ends a career in which he has served the district in a variety of capacities since 1975.
Brand earned an annual salary of $252,000.
He said he is not receiving a severance pakage as part of his retirement.