BRENTWOOD -- The Brentwood school board fired Superintendent Merrill Grant on Wednesday night, following a 4-1 vote in closed session.

"Dr. Grant will not return to his duties as superintendent," school board President Carlos Sanabria announced when the open meeting resumed.

Former long-time Brentwood schools superintendent Doug Adams will return as the interim superintendent while the district begins an immediate search for a permanent replacement, Sanabria said.

"It has been clear for the need for change in the district," Sanabria said. Those changes include improved mandated reporter training for staff and the expansion of the community involvement within the district, he said.

Superintendent Merrill Grant listens to parents’ complaints at a Brentwood Union School District school board meeting in Brentwood, Calif., on
Superintendent Merrill Grant listens to parents' complaints at a Brentwood Union School District school board meeting in Brentwood, Calif., on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Staff Archives)

The district will pay Grant's salary and benefits through June 2014, which Sanabria said will cost $300,000. Trustee Jim Cushing voted against dismissing Grant.

The vote to terminate Grant came a week after the board announced it was placing him on paid administrative leave and taking disciplinary actions against three unnamed Brentwood Union School District employees.

The board's actions followed major public outcry from Brentwood parents over the district's handling of special education teacher Dina Holder, who was convicted of kicking a 5-year-old student with autism in 2010 but allowed to continue teaching.

Earlier this week, Sanabria explained that the board is seeking new district leadership to improve effective communication among staff, parents and the community. Board members have apologized over the incident.

Multiple parents from the special needs community and beyond in Brentwood called for Grant's dismissal. They have said that it will help the community to heal and ensure that other district staff members involved will be properly disciplined.

Parent Paul Radliff said Wednesday that Grant is just one of several district employees who need to be held accountable for failing to properly report the incident.

"So you are halfway there, but you need to continue," he said.

Speaking to the board before Wednesday's announcement, Brentwood parent Stephanie Stewart echoed Radliff's comment.

"I know there is still a lot to be done. Thank you for listening to me and the community," Stewart said.

Stewart was one of the parents who gathered signatures for a petition calling for Grant's release, and her son was a student in Holder's classroom.

The district sent Holder to another school after she was convicted, and at least 11 employees failed to perform their legally mandated duties to report any suspicion of child abuse to authorities after either witnessing or learning of the 2010 kicking episode. Citing it as a personnel action, the board has not disclosed which three employees were the subject of disciplinary action and what that discipline involved.

Grant joined the district in July 2007 after serving as the superintendent of the Williams Unified School District in Williams for three years and previously as the superintendent of the Ready Springs district in Penn Valley.

He also worked as an elementary and high school principal and taught middle school. Grant has continued to be paid while on leave per his contract, Sanabria noted.

Contact Paula King at 925-779-7174 or pking@bayareanewsgroup.com.