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REALMS hires Ernie Bell as the new Chief Executive Officer

By Patricia Farris News Review Publisher–  The governing board at Ridgecrest Elementary Academy for Language, Music, and Science (REALMS), at a special meeting on February 2nd, initially voted 4 – 0 to terminate Chief Executive Officer Dr. Patric Traynor.

Board member Travis Reed recused himself from the vote.

The board voted 3-0 to rescind the termination and accept Traynor’s resignation at a special meeting on February 12th.

Traynor came to REALMS after serving as superintendent of the Lone Pine Unified School District for five years.

Traynor has been on paid administrative leave since January 8. The board voted unanimously to place him on administrative leave at a special meeting on December 20th. They then authorized an investigation led by Board member David Ericson.

Governing Board President Elsa Hennings stated that the Board could not provide details on Traynor’s departure due to its obligation to protect the privacy rights of its employees.

Hennings stated, “Nevertheless, the Board would like to assure the REALMS family that its actions are guided by what is lawful and in the best interests of the school, its students, and its stakeholders.”

She told the REALMS family that although the Board cannot provide details, there are no concerns about students’ safety.

Apparently, Traynor told the Board that he could not work with the school unless it supported professionalism and honesty.

Traynor said, “There are no safety issues. There were safety issues when I got here. Students were unsafe. The thoughts about bullying were that they were given the library so the kids could escape it.” He said, “There are no administrators out there making sure people did their jobs, making sure paraprofessionals were supported in their jobs, making sure bullying was addressed proactively. They need strong, strict supervision, and I made sure that happened. Safety is a top priority.”

Ernie Bell

At the February 12th Board meeting, the Board approved hiring Ernie Bell to serve as CEO for the remainder of the school year. Bell had previously served as Sierra Sand Unified School District Superintendent and on the Kern County Board of Education. Hennings said, “The board was overjoyed that he offered his services to fill the administrative gap that resulted from Traynor’s departure.”

Hennings said, “The REALMS family has been overjoyed to have his level of educational experience, knowledge, and connections within our community. It makes him an ideal choice to provide the leadership to help REALMS thrive.”