Tehama County education leadership being questioned


RED BLUFF, Calif. - A Red Bluff educator is upset with the alleged corruption inside the Tehama County Department of Education.

Catherine Szychulda said she is fed up with the lies that have affected the whole education community. Szychulda has been an educator for 32 years. She started as a teacher and then for the past 18 years served as the director for the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) program in Tehama County. Now, she is ready to pack up and leave.

"I'm not sure I want to be associated with Tehama County Department of Ed. with what has happened," said Szychulda.

Szychulda is shocked by the recent allegations that Tehama County Deputy Superintendent Charles Allen, who is also a candidate for Tehama County Superintendent lied about having a master's degree. He was hired as the Assistant Superintendent in 2009, and then promoted to Deputy in 2011.

"All the time leading us to believe he had the qualifications for the job and he doesn't," said Szychulda.

In 2009, Szychulda applied for the Assistant Superintendent position along with Allen. On the job application that she saved, it clearly states a master's degree is required. However, Allen has recently admitted to not having a master's degree but the equivalent to it.

"I feel deceived because according to his application, he said he had a master's. According to his resume he said he had a master's and the job said master's degree required," said Szychulda.

Szychulda said she was one of the top candidates for the position, and is upset it was given to someone underqualified.

"I did all the things I was supposed to do in order to get that master's and then someone can make up a story, it's breaking the law," said Szychulda.

The Tehama County Sheriff's Department recently launched an investigation into Allen and Szychulda hopes he will be brought to justice.

"He's taken money from peoples taxes from the public to pay for his salary and his stipend and that's grand theft," said Szychulda.

As an educator, Szychulda is disappointed for the message it sends to the community.

"Terrible role model for our schools, for our children, we try to hold kids to a high accountability in schools and then their leaders don't have that accountability," said Szychulda.

Szychulda will be retiring at the end of her contract on June 30, 2014. She said many others in the Tehama County Department of Education also plan on leaving because they are disappointed as well.