Kleinrock Fills Role of SMUSD Interim Superintendent

Loren Kleinrock
Loren Kleinrock

Loren Kleinrock, a familiar face in the San Marino Unified School District for decades, was tabbed as interim superintendent by the Board of Education this week.
Kleinrock, who served as superintendent from 2011-2014, will take the place of his own successor, Alex Cherniss, who submitted his resignation in August after accepting the superintendent position at Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District.
Most recently a temporary assistant principal at San Marino High School, Kleinrock has worked in a variety of teaching, coaching and administrative roles with SMUSD since 1975. Since retiring as superintendent in 2014, he has remained available in consulting and place-holding roles since. The Board of Education named him the interim superintendent at its regular meeting on Tuesday.
Cherniss will move on to the Palos Verdes district after more than four years as SMUSD’s chief, during which the district soldiered on as the state’s top-performing school system and a number of academic programs debuted. He will receive a salary of about $280,000 annually after making $242,259 with SMUSD.
Those new endeavors for SMUSD schools include a collaboration with nearby Caltech to have San Marino High School students take lab research classes related to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), a similar collaboration with the Huntington Library for the honors humanities course at SMHS, the construction of the Barth Athletics Complex at Huntington Middle School and the expansion of STEM-related classes at Carver and Valentine elementary schools.
The district also began work on an all-inclusive student wellness initiative that will open mental health education and wellness care to students at each of the district’s schools to address academic pressure and stress.
Cherniss’ exit also comes as lawyers for the district work to wrap up settlement terms for a lawsuit filed by board member Chris Norgaard, who accused Cherniss of defamation and rights violations in connection with an investigation the superintendent had launched regarding allegations of improper conduct and sexual harassment by Norgaard. The school board member denied the allegations, but after the investigation was finished the district asked him to undergo training on professional conduct.
It was noted between the start of the investigation and the tentative settlement agreement that Norgaard had nominated Cherniss for the Los Angeles County superintendent of the year nearly a year ago.
Norgaard’s lawsuit also named the other four members of the board and Assistant Superintendent Linda de la Torre as defendants. Tentative settlement terms were reached after a court-ordered conference in August, but the parties have yet to finalize the agreement or comment substantively on the conference.
The Palos Verdes job was listed in July, and interviews of the finalists began in the first week of August, according to that district’s website.

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