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Big Changes For Columbia Elementary

Columbia, CA — Both the Superintendent and the Principal will be leaving Columbia Elementary later this year according to a letter sent to parents.

Dr. John Pendley has made it official that he will be retiring as Superintendent. Pendley will finish out the school year at Belleview and Columbia, his last day will be June 30, 2015. The Columbia Union School District Governing Board says they have “begun the difficult task of replacing a man who has selflessly provided 16 years of dedicated service to the Columbia Union School District.” And added, “We wish Dr. Pendley the very best in his retirement and this well earned time with his family.”

Columbia Principal Ed Pelfrey also gave notice to the Board that he has accepted a position as Assistant Principal for Ceres High School beginning next school year. The Board’s letter says, “We know that Ceres High School will benefit from Mr. Pelfrey’s enthusiasm and we wish him great success in his endeavors.”

The Board’s letter says it is preparing for future challenges, “The most pressing issue at hand is that Columbia Elementary School is in a trend of declining enrollment which has a direct effect on our school and budget. The Governing Board has made the proactive decision to restructure administration as a cost savings to the district.”

The Board is hiring an outside consultant, Debra Pearson, Executive Director for the Small School Districts Association, to assist in selecting one person for the both the  Superintendent and Principal jobs. The Board says they have met with Pearson to go over the hiring and search process.

It has not always been a smooth ride for Dr. Pendley, who made headlines in 2011 during the fallout that occurred following his son’s arrest for unlawful intercourse with a minor. Pendley’s son was an after school aide at Columbia, and also briefly worked at Belleview. The victim was a student at Columbia Elementary.