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In an announcement that shocked some friends and supporters, Goyal apparently submitted her resignation and left the school on Friday.
In a formal statement, the school's board informed parents saying: "This letter is to notify the Helix community that, effective today, Executive Director Rani Goyal has resigned from employment. We wish her the best in the future and want to thank her for all her efforts and contributions to the School and the community.
"With the goal of identifying and securing a future leader for HCHS who will carry on Helix’s legacy of educational innovation and excellence, the Charter Board will immediately begin seeking an extremely qualified pool of candidates from which to select its future Executive Director.''
"Please be assured that it is the Charter Board’s goal to ensure that our students and families experience little to no disruption of the day-to-day routine of the school.
"All end-of-the-year activities will proceed as usual, and Helix staff members will assume various roles to make sure this happens. Further information concerning contact information for high level operations decisions will be forthcoming.
"Thank you for your continued support of our School."
The school notified parents of the change. A spokeswoman for the school declined to answer further questions, saying this is a personnel matter and all comment must be restricted to the official statement.
Goyal was unavailable for comment, but several other local officials who worked frequently with Goyal expressed shock at the departure.
"I met with her frequently and I was impressed with how she was addressing many of the issues at that school,'' said La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid. "Frankly, I was shocked to hear this.''
La Mesa Police Chief Ed Aceves also complimented Goyal, saying he worked closely and productively with the school on a range of issues. "I knew it was going to be a challenging situation to fill that position,'' Aceves said.
Goyal succeeded long-time Helix administrator Doug Smith who was extremely popular and had led the school through its transition to its charter status - a position of more independence from the Grossmont Union High School District. Smith left the school after 21 years of service during a period when the school was under scrutiny from the Grossmont Union District board for its handling of several instances of sexual misconduct by teachers.
Goyal had recently hosted a community-wide celebration for the ground-breaking of a new theater and performing arts center on the West La Mesa campus. The event, see photo right, was attended by much of the district's and community's leadership.