District trustees choose Oak Ridge High School principal

Aaron Palm, the former assistant principal at Oak Ridge High School elevated in March to interim principal, has been named permanently to the top job, the El Dorado Union High School district announced Friday.

District trustees voted unanimously Tuesday during their regularly scheduled board meeting to approve Palm as the new principal, effective July 1. Palm replaces Principal Paul Burke, who was placed on administrative leave Nov. 2. The district later decided Burke would be terminated at the end of the current school year.

District officials declined to detail reasons for Burke’s removal, calling it an “undisclosed personnel matter.” Burke’s lawyer in March filed a claim against the district, its superintendent and three employees alleging that he was falsely accused of sexually harassing a teacher at Oak Ridge. The Rocklin-based lawyer, Jacob D. Flesher, has said he expects to file a federal lawsuit seeking Burke’s reinstatement.

The district announcement Friday made no mention of Burke. It said Palm was chosen from a pool of final candidates who went through two rounds of interviews and meetings with several focus groups involving staff members, students and parents.

Palm has 12 years of administrative experience, the announcement said. In addition to serving as Oak Ridge High’s interim principal and its assistant principal, Palm has been director of Educational Options and Innovations. At Branham High School in Campbell, he was the dean of students.

In the statement, Palm was quoted as saying he is “humbled” to serve at Oak Ridge High School and said he looks forward to “harnessing the collective intelligence of our staff, students and community to make great things happen” at the school.

Oak Ridge has 2,400 students, more than a third of the district’s overall enrollment of 6,800.