The appointment of TUSD's new Mexican American Student Services director was made with little backlash Monday as a crowd of program supporters sat quietly in the Governing Board meeting room.
Maria Figueroa was voted in 4-1, with board member Adelita Grijalva dissenting.
"I continue to oppose the changes that have been made to Mexican American Studies - the elimination of courses and the change in direction that appointing this director will make in this department," Grijalva said.
Changes to the department specify that it no longer administer courses - which were found to be in violation of state law - and instead focus on supporting Hispanic students to eliminate disparities in achievement, discipline, special education placement, grade retention and placement in special programs.
Sean Arce previously held the director position. The board voted in April not to renew his contract "for a number of reasons," according to TUSD Superintendent John Pedicone.
Throngs of protesters at the April vote pleaded for Arce to be retained as director, and there were disruptions throughout the meeting.
After Figueroa's appointment, supporters silently and slowly filtered out of the room. Moments later a crowd of about three dozen could be heard chanting outside TUSD headquarters, 1010 E. 10th St.
"One, we are the people. Two, we are united. Three, M-A-S is not leaving," the Mexican American Studies supporters yelled through a bullhorn while holding signs that read "Stop silencing youth voice" and "Raza studies is not negotiable."
In response, TUSD security put up barricades in front of the entry for a short time.
Figueroa is the principal of Tolson Elementary School, where she is paid more than $80,000 a year.
Information on whether her salary would change as director was not immediately available, although Arce was making more than $84,000 a year.
Other appointments Monday included Clarice Clash who was named principal of Tucson Unified's largest high school, Tucson High.
Clash has worked directly with the assistant superintendent in charge of high schools as director of High School Leadership.
In that role, Clash's salary was more than $98,000. Her new salary was not available Tuesday.
Clash received unanimous support from the board.
Tucson High is expected to serve an estimated 3,100 students this upcoming school year.
Additionally, Gerald Weygint was selected to fill the new position of director of information technology. He will manage IT for the district and will oversee TUSD's $30 million infrastructure-modernization project.
Weygint will have 10 to 20 employees. He previously served as manager of global interoperability for Sunquest Information Systems. The job's posted salary was $87,000.
Contact reporter Alexis Huicochea at email@example.com or 573-4175.