According to the LA Times, former Sequoia Union High School District (SUHSD) Superintendent Dr. Darnise Williams collected over $78,051 in extra pay without proper documentation while working at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Williams was one of at least ten employees who, in total, collected more than $750,000 from 2017-2020 without proper approval. Former LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines said their actions “took money from those that needed it most” and were “unconscionable.”
According to the LA Times article that exposed the fraud, “An internal investigation found employees repeatedly violated the district’s extra-pay rules.”
The accusations came to light as a result of a 2020 settlement between LAUSD and former Lead of Operations Karen Brown, who claimed that Williams and her direct supervisor retaliated against her for questioning the district’s extra-pay practices.
As a result of the accusations, Williams was demoted from her position as Special Assistant to the Superintendent to Special Services Temporary Advisor. The LA Times stated, “No employee was ordered to return their extra pay and no criminal or civil charges were filed.”
Less than a year after leaving LAUSD in 2020, Williams started working as SUHSD’s Superintendent in April of 2021. When asked to comment, SUHSD said, “The District was not aware of any of the claims referenced in the Los Angeles Times article during Dr. Williams’ hiring process.”
“The District was not aware of any of the claims referenced in the Los Angeles Times article during Dr. Williams’ hiring process.”
Williams stayed at SUHSD for less than two years even though she was contracted until June 2025. The SUHSD Board refused to disclose the reasoning for the resignation agreement that occurred behind closed doors, despite being paid a $299,000 severance package, leaving the community confused and frustrated.
After Williams resigned from SUHSD, she was selected as the new Pacifica School District (PSD) Superintendent. PSD Board President Lynda Brocchini stated, “When we were selecting Williams as Superintendent, the Board underwent an extensive background check that included conversations with her previous employers. I can confirm that LA Unified was one of those districts.” The Pacifica Tribune released a follow-up to the LA Times article focusing on Williams’ involvement in the scandal.
Brocchini refused to comment when asked whether or not the district knew about Williams’ actions prior to hiring her, though she did say PSD is “very happy” with Williams as Superintendent.
The M-A Chronicle will publish new information as it is released.
For More Coverage on Former Superintendent Darnise Williams: