Sunday, June 04, 2006

School District Fires Popular Fil-Am Principal

This news is devastating for us who are aspiring for professional growth. What happened to Mr. Tim Suanico could happen to all of us Pinoy Teachers, that when a similar case happens to us we'll not be given due process hearing which is a right of everyone accused of any case against him. This is unfair and unjust, where are his rights?

We in the Pinoy Teachers Network ( would want to know the procedures for a fair trial for Mr. Tim Suanico. The process could be different in every state here in the US, and I am sure that someone in the higher ups, higher in position than the Superintendent would be willing to look into this and investigate the case.

We need to make our stand for Mr. Tim Suanico, the unfairness and injustice that happened to him could happen to us, though could be in a different case.

School District Fires Popular Fil-Am Principal

For trying hard to improve the school's standards, Tim Suanico, the Filipino-American principal of Heritage Elementary School in Chula Vista, California was fired by the Superintendent of the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD). The dismissal of Suanico was to take effect June 30, 2006 when the current school year ends.

Another newspaper account quoted Anne Clayton -- a member of the school's parent-teacher board and president of the neighborhood homeowners' association -- as saying: "The district is letting go a principal who supports the parents and is doing great things for our school."

In a letter to the editor of another newspaper, the author said, "Just when we thought there was some hope for significant improvement with an enthusiastic, passionate, results-oriented principal..."

Timothy Lee Suanico, born in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, came to San Diego, California with his parents and his two older brothers when he was eight years old. Suanico holds a Bachelor's Degree in Visual Arts and a Master's Degree in Educational Administration. He rose from teaching assistant to principal and earned the distinction of being the youngest principal in the school district at the time of his appointment in November 2004. He is also the first Filipino-American principal in the history of San Diego City schools. Truly, he is a role model in the community.

Situated in an affluent neighborhood, Heritage had a high leadership turnover -- three principals and two interim heads in five years. Evidently, the school already had major leadership problems long before Suanico was appointed. Or could it be that the leadership problem is at a higher level than the principal? (PerryScope is available online at


evi said...

for sure the superintendent saw Mr Suanico's strong and excellent leadership and found it a threat. so, decided to hinder the possibility of greater opportunites for Mr Suanico before it happens.

the parents should file a petition if they so believe that Mr. Suanico can do the job well and beyond.

Major Tom said...

This is really disheartening. I guess the PTN should see how the case of Mr. Suanico goes, and give him all the support he needs.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Suanico's firing may not have to do anything with his being Fil-Am. I also gather that Mr. Suanico is an American citizen. With this in mind, we must stop meddling and let Americans sort out their own business.

ate beth said...

T. Sol, can we have a position paper and let the teachers sign in support to Mr. Tim Suanico? I dont know if that will work here but that's what we do in the Phil. Let us make a stand against such unfair treatment. Let our voices be heard. Let us not just keep quiet.

Ate Beth

Anonymous said...


Other than Mr. Suanico himself, we think the parents/members of Heritage Elementary School PTA in Chula Vista, California have the right to protest against the school administration if there was alleged wrong doing committed in the firing of Mr. Suanico. I don't think the Filipino nation has anything to do with this at all. We are born in the States and we don't want Mr. Suanico to be embarrased because he is not asking for anyone's help.


Malou Wang, grade 6 student
Roger Dagdagan Moore, grade 7 stude

( Thank you Teacher! Hi to everybody!)

Fel A. said...

This firing is a critical reason why Filipino Americans like so many APIAs (Asian Pacific Islanders) fit the bill of "last hired, first fired."

The "glass ceiling" exists in America. When one successful APIA reaches some pinnacle of power, the oppressors or competing forces would like to derail that one minority and make an example of him or her as to why he or she cannot be someone "in charge."

The Wen Ho Lo case is a case for instance of why APIAs cannot be portrayed anymore as
"timid, shy, powerless." Perhaps the perception we have as that can be justified by our reluctance to register to vote or even vote.

I was out registering citizens to vote today. It appears among our kababayan community, the reluctance to vote comes from a mindset that politics is "bad, corrupt, and not worth our time. Moreover, if one registers to vote, then one's name will be picked for jury duty."

What hogwash!

Jury duty is more a factor derived from your DMV and criminal records. No one wants a DUI
on a jury determining a driving negligence case or other related incident?

We need to overcome this attitude and lack of involvement in politics. Our respect comes from political empowerment. When we are oppressed and neglected we will be terminated without recourse.

This principal may have upset the teachers union, and perhaps the political pressure of that
union on the trustees of the school board was too much. The trustees are accountable to
the voters. Therefore, voting by each one of us will add up and the total voting power of our group will matter in the end.

So I recommend the large Fil-Am community in Chula Vista and San Diego wake up and
start campaigning. Perhaps a Fil Am should run for a trusteeship and make a difference.
When the board sees one of us competently representing our community, there will be
second thoughts about terminating one of our own.

Please vote on Tuesday and pick the candidate who will make a difference in our lives!


Political columnist- ASIAN JOURNAL, Pinoy Journal, Phil Am Press Publishing
PAPC Sec'y

Any questions, email or call 650-616-4115

from: Perry Diaz's Balita-USA egroup


Ms. Malou Wang & Mr. Roger Dagdagan Moore,

Hello to both of you! Thank you for sharing your thoughts here in my cyber-classroom.

I understand where you are coming from. We in the Pinoy Teachers Network are coming from a different perspective but share the same sympathy as yours towards Principal Tim Suanico.

I don't know if you are aware that thousands of Filipino Teachers are now teaching globally and most of us are in the US (aren't we globally competitive?). Some of us have the aspirations of going up the educational ladder like Principal Suanico, and what happened to him could happen to us too in the long run. It is in this light that we would like to know the due process hearing for a fair trial for his case. Maybe you, who is directly involved in the case, could tell us?

Please let Principal Suanico that he has all the support of the Filipino Teachers globally through the Pinoy Teachers Network. Thank you both and please update us on this case.

brown_expat said...

Fine - but what have Filipinos in the Philippnes or the Filipino nation have to do with the problem in Chula Vista?

Anonymous said...

This is a case of another "misplaced priorities" where we shout foul without even understanding the situation. Do we have to defend every man with Pinoy blood in his veins? Let Mr. Suanico, an American citizen deal with his problem with the Americans.

Nony A. said...

This requires the immediate attention and action of the National NaFFAA if they can file a lawsuit for the unlawful and arbitrary firing of the principal without cause.

If it happens to one of the members of the Black American community, you bet the NAACP will flex their muscles without delay to fight this kind of injustice.

I would highly suggest to everyone to write, communicate and to appeal with the National NaFFAA leadership to take action on behalf of the principal.

Enough is enough.

Nony E. Abrajano
Chairman, NaFFAA Hampton Roads Chapter
State Chairman, NaFFAA Southern Virginia

from Perry Diaz's Balita USA egroup

Anonymous said...

Aha .. The Black Community intervene - but they're Americans too - aren't they?? Let the Fil-Ams deal with these. This has nothing to do with Pinoys living in Estancia, Cavite who have no business with what's going in in Chula Vista.

Maura Larkins said...

The problem in Chula Vista Elementary School District is teacher culture run amok. This problem exists, to a greater or lesser degree, in many schools across the country. The solution is open, honest discussion of problems. Most teachers and administrators whom I have known during over two decades of teaching DO NOT want to allow free discussion of the merits of each person's ideas. Many teachers and administrators simply do not know how to think analytically, much less how to explain their ideas and methods to parents. But this is exactly what is needed. We need to teach teachers and administrators the art of effective decision-making. These professionals need real education, not the rote training they now receive.

Promethean Planet


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