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Newark: Angry crowd blames school board for popular superintendent’s resignation

NEWARK — An angry, overflow audience Tuesday praised exiting Newark schools Superintendent Dave Marken but chastised district trustees for breeding the dysfunctional environment that led to his resignation.

The meeting ended with about 200 people chanting Marken’s name, leaving no doubt over who the community supports in the dispute between his staff and school board members.

When Marken resigned last week, employees and parents were outraged that the leader who had lifted Newark Unified to unprecedented heights was leaving after three years on the job.

Tuesday night, the community put their anger on full display. A dozen speakers lambasted the board for creating the “negative, back-stabbing” atmosphere that eroded trust and chased away Marken.

“I am heartbroken,” Graham Elementary Principal Terrance Dunn said of the resignation, his voice cracking with emotion. “This is a time of great pain.”

Dunn called for school board trustees to cease their “toxic reputation of operating by gossip and bullying,” and instead follow Marken’s model of “trusting good people to make good choices.”

Loud, extended applause followed his remarks.

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Chris DeBenedetti