California Department of Education official backed by Tony Thurmond resigns

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – A senior California Department of Education official resigned after a report showed he raised more than $ 160,000 on the taxpayer’s dime while living and working primarily on East cost.

California’s first-ever deputy superintendent of fairness, Dr Daniel Lee, has resigned, a spokesperson for the Department of Education confirmed on Wednesday.

The resignation comes after Politico first reported that Lee was a Philadelphia resident who had been friends with California Superintendent Tony Thurmond for more than two decades.

Lee is a psychologist, published author, and member of the board of directors of the New Jersey Psychological Association.

He is shown on video of an October hearing before the California Assembly education and health committees discussing improving mental health services in schools.

“We need to change the climate and the space in schools,” Lee said. “We’re dealing with grief, with wildfires, and that’s a whole level of environmental trauma we need to think about as we roll out these projects.”

The nonprofit affiliate of the Department of Education hired Lee for the role when it was formed in July 2020.

The deputy superintendent of equity focused on equity in counseling, socio-emotional learning and other student programs, according to the Education Department. The work earns up to nearly $ 180,000 in taxpayer-funded wages.

Politico reported that Thurmond was instrumental in hiring Lee, the job was never posted, and Education Department officials couldn’t tell if anyone else had been interviewed for the. job.

Lee’s resume showed no previous experience in California or any relationship with the state’s school districts.

In a statement on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Department of Education said: “Following updated guidance from CalHR, Dr Lee proposed, and we have accepted, his resignation. We thank him for his work in developing and promoting education equity and mental health programs for CDE students.

Assembly Member Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, is the vice-chair of the Assembly Education Committee.

“It’s good that he resigned because apparently it was against the law that he was hired in the first place,” Kiley said. “But we also need an investigation to find out exactly how he got the taxpayer’s penny in the first place.”

The Education Department said it would begin searching for candidates to fill Lee’s post in the coming weeks.


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