COSTA MESA — Newport-Mesa Unified's embattled superintendent used his first school board meeting to deliver emotional words of thanks to his supporters since returning from a voluntary paid leave used to prepare his criminal defense.
As he looked out into the sparse audience of mostly school principals at the end of Tuesday's meeting,
Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard's voice choked up.
"It's been an emotional week and a half, and I want to thank everyone kindly for their extraordinarily warm welcome back," said Hubbard. "Bless you so much for being so kind to me."
School board Vice President Dave Brooks, who was running the meeting in President Walt Davenport's absence, welcomed Hubbard.
"We are pleased to have Dr. Hubbard back where he belongs…" Brooks said.
Hubbard returned to work July 5 after more than five months on leave, which he requested in January, so he could prepare for his defense on two felony charges in Los Angeles County.