Pleasanton Unified School District leaders appointed vice principal Nimarta Grewal to serve as interim principal at Amador Valley High School effective Monday.
PUSD spokesman Patrick Gannon told the Weekly that Grewal will "help provide stability at the school during this time" -- after first-year principal Alberto Solorzano unexpectedly took a personal leave of absence for unspecified reasons starting Feb. 20.
In a statement to the Amador community announcing Grewal's appointment last Friday, district leaders thanked those "who have stepped in to support the AVHS community," including district human resources director Mike Williams who provided temporary head administrative support at Amador during the initial days of Solorzano's absence.
Williams, who served as Amador's principal for a little more than two years before being promoted last year, will now return to his duties at the district office.
Solorzano's leave is still considered indefinite. District officials have not commented on the reasons behind the principal's absence, citing personnel confidentiality restrictions.
In the meantime, the principal reins have been handed on an interim basis to Grewal, who has served for the past five years as an Amador vice principal. She was one of four vice principals assigned to Amador this school year.
To help provide more administrative stability, PUSD has hired former California High School principal Mark Corti out of retirement to serve as acting vice principal to fill Grewal's position. Corti, who retired from San Ramon's Cal High in 2014, has held various temporary positions since, including serving as interim principal at Benicia High School in 2015.
Grewal becomes the fourth principal at Amador since the 2015-2016 school year.
Solorzano, who started his first year with the Dons in August, has not responded yet to any request for comment on his personal leave or potential return date. Before his arrival in Pleasanton, Solorzano worked for the Dublin Unified School District as director of secondary education and prior to that was principal in Livermore.
His departure came the week before a campus visit from Western Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation officials. Amador and Village High are both undergoing a regular update of their accreditation, according to the district.
Solorzano also left several weeks after a district investigation found that unnamed administrators violated state law by purposely removing a completed course from a high school student's transcript. Another course was found accidentally removed, but the investigator concluded both incidents were isolated and not indicative of a systemic problem with PUSD's student record management.
The Amador leadership debate even made its way into the Pleasanton City Council chambers briefly Tuesday night
Solorzano's abrupt absence has a left a void at the school and the instability is palpable among many students, Amador senior Marina Abreckov told city officials during non-agenda public comment at the regular council meeting.
Expressing disappointment at the unexplained leave of absence, Abreckov praised Solorzano for his guidance at Amador, especially around student mental health initiatives, and urged the city of Pleasanton -- a separate governmental agency from PUSD -- to intercede and help solve Amador's principal turnover problem.
"We are so shocked by the fact that overnight we just found out he's gone and no longer part of our community," she told the council. "And that's why I'm here today asking the city to get involved because it's really concerning and frustrating, and the students are the ones who lose the most from this."
The council members were prohibited from discussing the Amador issue because it wasn't on their posted agenda for Tuesday, but Councilwoman Julie Testa said to Abreckov, "With your being here, a lot of people have heard you."