Darnise Williams in front of LAUSD logo

Breaking News: Former Superintendent Darnise Williams Implicated in LAUSD Extra-Pay Scandal

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:

New Board Accused of Covert Plan to Fire Superintendent, Racism, and Breaking the Law

Superintendent to Resign

Breaking News: Board Accused of Forcing Superintendent to Resign

Breaking News: Board Announces Plan for Interim Superintendent, Public Anger Remains

Editorial: The Board’s Secrecy Fails the Public

Editorial: A Wasteful Year for the District

Ameya is a junior in his second year of journalism. He enjoys writing stories about education, sports, and local news and politics. In his free time he enjoys spending time with friends and watching movies.

Arden Margulis was a junior in his second year of journalism at the M-A Chronicle before he tested out of high school. He was the M-A Chronicle's Webmaster when it was a finalist for the Online Pacemaker. During his first year, Arden wrote a two-part series on Paper Tutoring, which won First Place News Story from Santa Clara University. Arden was a finalist for Writer of the Year from the National Scholastic Press Association. He also won First Place News Writing from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association for an article on FERPA and M-A's No Privileges List. Arden focused on news and legal research along with sending Public Records Act requests to government agencies. He was most proud of an editorial he worked on about M-A's treatment of sexual assault survivors. He left the M-A Chronicle to intern at the Almanac and go to college earlier.

Celine Chien is a junior in her second year at the Chronicle. She is the current Editor-in-Chief, a Design Lead for the Mark, a copy editor, and reports on detracking and community news. Celine is on M-A's debate team, Leadership-ASB, and loves to cook and spend time with her family.

Cleo is a senior in her third year of journalism. She enjoys writing about issues impacting the M-A community, particularly environmental issues. She is also on the M-A cross-country and track teams.

This is Sarah's third year in journalism. She loves writing in-depth pieces about problems in our community, school, or society and advocating for various solutions. Outside of journalism she enjoys reading, baking, spending time in the outdoors, and playing with her dog.

Dylan is a senior who primarily covers education and breaking news. He also writes for News Not Noise, PUNCH Magazine, and InMenlo. In his free time, you can find him at the beach or on a (shaded) running trail.

1 Comment

  1. The headline needs to be rewritten as it is misleading, making it seem as if Ms. Williams was Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. She did serve as Superintendent of the Sequoia Union High School District but the fraud covered in the Los Angeles Times article occurred when she was working as a temporary advisor employed by the LAUSD. Printing the LAUSD logo with a headline reference to a superintendent could leave someone with the impression she was the Superintendent of the LAUSD.

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