Jim Goddard reassigned to district office as 'principal on special assignment'

Jim Goddard, principal of Santa Rosa High School, has been reassigned to a position in the district office. His last day as principal at the Mendocino Avenue campus is Friday.

He will begin as "principal on special assignment" Monday at the district's Ridgway Avenue offices. The announcement was made to Santa Rosa's teachers Wednesday afternoon.

"We will be starting our search immediately to find someone new," Superintendent Sharon Liddell said.

Goddard said the move was not his idea.

"I was asked to accept the position and I did," he said after the meeting.

Superintendent Sharon Liddell would not elaborate on reasons for the reassignment. "The taking of this position is not a demotion," Liddell said.

But veteran teachers at the school described the relationship between staff and students and Goddard as strained from the start.

Goddard, who was in his third year as principal, encountered controversies almost from the beginning. They included teacher dismissals that were subsequently reversed, elimination of a popular woodshop program that was later saved and preferential parking places for students who scored well on state exams.

"I'm glad he's gone because I think he's a detriment to the school," said John Cortopassi, a history instructor at Santa Rosa and teachers' union representative.

"He immediately lost the faith of the staff because of his lack of candor. No one really trusted what he had to say," Cortopassi said.

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