Tim Walker, deputy superintendent of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, has suddenly resigned from his position with the district.
In closed session at the school board meeting May 1st, the board voted 6-0 to approve a $193,000 settlement agreement with Walker, which included his resignation, effective June 30th. Board member Kathy Wisnicki abstained.
Walker was not present at the board meeting, which was held at Malibu City Hall.
“Both the school board and Mr. Walker believe it’s mutually beneficial for his resignation to occur,” said school board president Oscar de la Torre.
The resignation comes shortly after the results of an independent evaluation of the district’s controversial Special Education Program, which Walker helped institute about three years ago and which has a policy of requiring parents of special needs students to sign confidentiality clauses in their settlement agreements. Currently there is a moratorium on the policy.
The policy has been met with opposition, and the audit of the Special Education Program made it clear that the district needed to make changes to its current plan.
“The end result of the change we’re making is to have a better program for our students with learning disabilities,” said de la Torre. “To Mr. Walker’s credit, there were many accomplishments in the Special Education Program. The program is better and we want to build on that success.
“We’re going to keep our eyes on the prize and create a culture of inclusion where students who have disabilities are seen as part of the mainstream instead of being marginalized. That’s our ultimate goal with every change that we’re making in our district.”
Walker came to the Santa Monica-Malibu district in 2005 as the assistant superintendent of special education and then became assistant superintendent of educational services.
During a search for a superintendent in 2006 after John Deasy resigned, Walker served as interim superintendent and after Talarico was hired as superintendent, Walker became deputy superintendent.
“After over three years of dedicated service to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, I find that it is time for me to pursue other opportunities and part ways with an organization that has been a very important piece of my life,” Walker said. “I value the incredible employees of the district that I have had the pleasure to work with. They are committed to making a difference in the lives of children every day.”
Talarico, who is currently developing a new organizational structure for the district, praised Walker for his years of service.
“I thank Tim Walker for his leadership, his compassion and his commitment to helping the teachers and children of our district,” she said.
Santa Monica Malibu Classroom Teachers Association president Harry Keiley said, “It’s time to move forward. We wish Tim Walker much success in the years ahead and thank him for his service to the school district, but the time has come for us to turn the page and look ahead and redirect our energy — our focus — to the children that we serve everyday and to continue to strive to provide all children with a quality public education.”