Dr. LaFaye Platter, interim HUSD superintendent Photo by J.P. Crumrine
Dr. Stephen Lowder formally resigned as Superintendent of the Hemet Unified School District. The resignation, effective June 30, was tendered Tuesday, May 1, at a special HUSD board meeting preceding the board’s regular meeting Tuesday evening.

At the beginning of the regular meeting, HUSD President Bill Sanborn announced that the board and Lowder had signed a mutual separation agreement. Although the district will continue to pay Lowder through June 30, his final day of work was Monday, April 30.

Last week, the Stockton Unified School District board voted to offer Lowder a contract as that district’s superintendent.

The mutual separation agreement was adopted 6-0, with Director Paul Bakkom, who is out of the country, not voting.

Also, the board appointed Deputy Superintendent Dr. LaFaye Platter to be the temporary interim superintendent.

On Wednesday, May 9, the board met to further discuss a permanent appointment of an interim superintendent and also began the process for finding a permanent replacement for Lowder.

The process or approach for seeking a new superintendent will not change, according to Sanborn, who is now involved in his fourth search process. He also noted that several of his colleagues have been involved in prior superintendent searches.

The district will use a search firm to identify candidates. Sanborn expects much of the summer and fall will involve meetings and interviews with prospective candidates.

“I’m sorry we’re going through this,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll be asking prospective superintendents if they will make it a long-term commitment. I know we can’t make it seven or eight years, but I hope it’s more than a year and a half.”

Lowder remains in paid leave status through June 30 without any assigned duties. HUSD will continue to pay his health and welfare benefits through that date, but has discontinued paying for his long-term disability, life insurance and automobile allowance.

If Lowder begins work at SUSD prior to July 1, he is supposed to inform the board and “all compensation and all fringe benefits of employment of any kind shall cease immediately,” pursuant to section 2d. of the signed agreement.