Antioch school board votes not to remove superintendent amid bullying claims against supervisor

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

The majority of the crowd at Wednesday’s Antioch Unified School District meeting expressed frustration after the school board voted to not remove superintendent Stephanie Anello.

“The vote was 2 to 3 and the motion did not pass,” said Antioch school board president Antonio Hernandez.

NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit recently reported on the bullying claims by Antioch Unified School District Director of Maintenance, Operations and Facilities Kenneth Turnage. The Investigative Unit confirmed several employee complaints about Turnage, including an incident where he directed workers to move an employee’s desk to a rooftop to publicly humiliate him.

Employees who are making the claims believe Turnage’s close relationship with Anello and her husband, former Antioch police chief Allan Cantanado is why he wasn’t disciplined sooner. A school board member recently confirmed that Turnage was not put on administrative leave until three days after NBC Bay Area’s report.

Kim Atkinson spoke at Wednesday’s meeting and was one of the district employees, who came forward with bullying claims in NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit report. She feels the board is sending the wrong message to the community by keeping Anello in her position.

“I’m very disappointed, nervous. I mean, I feel like our district is in chaos right now,” Atkinson said. “There’s no value in the staff, the community or the students.”

Hernandez agrees and was one of the two members who voted to remove Anello.

“I think our board needs to understand the community is angry, we need to rebuild trust, the district is not moving in the right direction,” he said.

Board member Gary Hack was one of the three trustees who voted against removing Anello as superintendent.

Hack said he doesn’t know the details of the bullying claims and based his decision on his working relationship with Anello.

“She’s helped me become a better board member and is also a teacher. I think she’s a professional,” he said.

Anello was not at Wednesday’s meeting. NBC Bay Area reached out to her and the school district for comment on Wednesday but have yet to hear back.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.