Students at Justin-Siena High School in Napa staged a brief campus protest on Monday morning as news spread that Principal John Bordelon had been fired late last week, while the campus was closed due to the Napa fires.
Approximately 90 Sonoma Valley students currently attend the Catholic high school, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
In a letter to parents distributed to the school community at 5 p.m. on Monday, President Robert Jordan said that Justin-Siena has decided to part ways with Bordelon, effective immediately. Jordan stated, however, “that this decision was in no way the result of any wrongdoing on the part of Mr. Bordelon or any liability related to Justin-Siena.”
He did not give a reason for the dismissal saying only that, “This change was made following due diligence and consultation.”
Jordan announced Vice Principal Heidi Harrison will serve as Chief Academic Officer, and Vice Principal Robert Bailey will serve as Chief Operations Officer.
The letter makes it unclear if Bordelon will be replaced.
“I will consult with the Board of Trustees regarding the future of the Principal position,” said Jordan in the letter.
Bordelon had served as principal for just two years. He came to Justin in 2015 from the Christian Brothers High School in Memphis.
He and his wife Lauren have two children, who attend Presentation School, where he also sits on the board of directors.
A Sonoma Valley parent, who didn’t want to be identified, reached out to the Index-Tribune confused about Bordelon’s dismissal.
“Everyone loves him,” said the parent. “Students, parents and faculty. We’re confused and upset.”
Parent comments began cropping up on Facebook using the hashtag, #WeWantBordelon.
The parent also noted that a petition is circulating demanding Bordelon’s reinstatement, and offering up a vote of no confidence for Jordan, entitled, “Reinstate John Bordelon and Relieve Robert Jordan of duties at Justin Siena High School.”
“The timing is selfish given the vulnerability of our community after the fires,” reads the petition. “The seniors are in the middle of the really stressful college application deadline season. The sophomores and juniors will be having national testing day on Wednesday with major implications on their futures academically. Teachers are trying as best they can to reestablish a sense of normality within their classes after such tragic events in our community. Finally, this was not the way to kick off our much needed and anticipated homecoming celebration.”
A letter writing campaign is also being organized to present at the high school’s next board of directors meeting.
The letter to the community includes a brief statement from Bordelon.
“Students and colleagues: I believe in you, I love you, and I always will. Your influence has profoundly shaped me, Lauren, and our children, and we are forever grateful for you,” he writes.
Email Lorna at firstname.lastname@example.org.