Superintendent Steps Down Amid Recall Efforts

With all Hacienda La Puente Unified School District board members recalled, the superintendent steps down


Cynthia Parulan-Colfer takes notes as Martin Medrano gives his board comments on Aug. 22. Photo credit: Joshua Sanchez/SAC.Media.

Two months after Hacienda Heights resident Fernando Solis asked for the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District board members to reverse course or resign in order to save district residents the effort of recalling them, the superintendent of the district gave her notice of early retirement on Oct. 21.

Solis had also confronted Superintendent Cynthia Parulan-Colfer at that Aug. 22 meeting by implying that board member Gino Kwok and she had engaged in illegal activity by discussing real property in closed session without revealing it to the public.

“To those that are lawyers, your actions are criminal,” Solis had said at the meeting.

Regardless of allegations, it is unknown at this time why Parulan-Colfer opted for early retirement. A statement was released in an email by her executive assistant, Nancy Ruiz, stating that Parulan-Colfer’s last day will be Jan. 8, 2020.

The email read:

Dear Members of the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District Community:

After much reflection, I am informing all of you that I will be exercising my option to the District’s Early Retirement Program and will be retiring from the District, with my last day as January 8, 2020. This retirement provides me with an opportunity to pursue new and exciting endeavors in education, law, and beyond.

When I came to the district over 19 years ago, I could not have imagined how impactful and meaningful my experience here would be. Over the last six years as my tenure as Superintendent, the District has addressed many challenges and have turned these into opportunities for our students and the community to work together and celebrate. With your dedication and support, we have together welcomed the collaborative efforts of many stakeholders as we crafted a very strong school/community partnership. Moreover, not only have I been the Superintendent, but I am also the proud mother of two fantastic alumni of HLPUSD.

As I reflect on the past six years of rewarding, yet challenging work, I feel an enormous sense of pride and satisfaction in the progress the District and community have made in better serving the diverse needs of our students, ranging from Pre-K all the way through to our accredited adult program.

With the untiring support of my Cabinet and administrators, as well as the uncompromising professionalism and dedication of the entire certificated and classified staff, we have been able to accomplish many impressive and beneficial programs over the last six years of my service to the District as Superintendent. Together, with the Board of Education, we have accomplished a great deal and I am confident that the District will continue to prosper because of the unwavering spirit of commitment that every individual has toward success – students, teachers, staff, administrators, and stakeholders. Whether it was weekends or evenings, in the heat or a deluge of rain, the unflagging spirit of “Can Do or Si Se Puede” permeated everything all of you have done.

Over the last six years, we have accomplished a lot. They are too numerous to list, but we can all share in the progress we have made to make HLPUSD the best school district. Some of these accomplishments include the following:

I want to thank you all for entrusting me with the special gift of leading this District. It has been a true pleasure to watch over 30,000 Pre-K to adult students meet success across a wide spectrum. I am proud that we have instilled a sense of pride and spirit in our students and community that with hard work and dedication they can accomplish anything,

I will forever be indebted to this community for the time, trust, and care you have shown me, From the friendly “hellos” to the stories about how your children are doing, to the laughter and the hugs, I will miss these, but most of all the friendships you have privileged me with, However, I am confident that together we have created a solid foundation and culture for the next leader of this amazing district,

Yours in education,

Cynthia M. Parulan-Colfer, Esq. Superintendent of Schools

Her early retirement comes as the community remains divided over the Wedgeworth project. The entire district’s board has now been officially recalled, as Jeffrey De La Torre has now also been recalled alongside the other four board members. De La Torre’s recall came at the Oct. 10 meeting where people in favor of the Wedgeworth project recalled him for his position on the project. The other board members were recalled for voting in favor of the Wedgeworth project by the other side.

At this time, it is unknown who will replace Parulan-Colfer as superintendent, and she will retire having served in that position for over six years. She was previously a deputy superintendent for the district from July 2012 until October 2013 and had also served as an associate superintendent from July 2007 to June 2012.

The next HLPUSD board meeting, where this early resignation decision may be announced before the public, is on Oct. 24.