Librarian Accused of Embezzlement Placed on Leave


A Redding School District librarian accused of embezzlement and theft from a parent club and school has been placed on leave, a district administrator said Friday morning.

Wanell Stolz had been working as an information specialist for Cypress and Juniper elementary schools. Parents at those schools were surprised and upset to learn this week of her employment there, said Heather Waldrop, vice president of the Cypress Elementary School Parent Club.

Redding School District Superintendent Diane Kempley confirmed through an assistant that Stolz is on leave. She declined to comment further, saying it is a personnel issue. She could not address whether the leave is paid or unpaid.

Stolz, 51, is facing charges that she embezzled and stole $13,500 worth of cash and property from Sycamore Elementary School and its Parent Faculty Club from 2004 to September 2009. Stolz — who was arrested Aug. 4 — was the school’s librarian and treasurer of the parent faculty club at the time. Stolz is married to Rein Stolz, president of the Redding School District board of trustees.

Redding police allege that the librarian wrote about 80 checks to herself and her husband using the parent club checking account, according to the Redding Record Searchlight. She also bought equipment for the club using her own money but allegedly reimbursed herself for amounts greater than the cost of the items.

The district board met in closed session Wednesday night to discuss employee evaluations, the newspaper reported. Rein Stolz was not present at the meeting. Kempley’s assistant confirmed Friday that Rein Stolz is still board president.

“I’m surprised that he hasn’t stepped down,” Waldrop said. “Regardless of innocence, there’s a criminal investigation going on, and he’ll be a key witness. Someone in the midst of that should not be directing the school administrators.”

Parents plan to express concerns and raise questions at Tuesday night’s Redding School District board meeting, which starts at 5:30 p.m. in Cypress Elementary School’s cafeteria.

One of their concerns is allegations that the Sycamore principal was pressured to change some of Wanell Stolz’s negative performance evaluations to reflect a more positive tone, Waldrop said. Kempley has denied those allegations to the Searchlight.

“We want to have those allegations investigated,” Waldrop said. “It’s a concern to me that the district might have allowed someone with repeated poor yearly evaluations to continue working. It’s up to our school administrators to ensure that everybody who works for the district is performing at the highest level possible.”

A News Café has e-mailed Rein Stolz, seeking comment from him or Wanell, but had not received an answer as of publication. The district office declined to provide the Stolzes’ unlisted phone number.

Redding police have said Wanell Stolz apologized numerous times, offering to repay the club, and saying she had been “overwhelmed” with things going on in her life, according to the newspaper.

Candace L. Brown is a freelance reporter in Redding.

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Candace L. Brown
Candace L. Brown has been a newspaper and magazine reporter and editor since 1992, including eight years at the Redding Record Searchlight. She lives in Redding and can be reached at
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5 Responses

  1. Avatar Budd Hodges says:

    Now people, let's not over react to a very sticky situation. Both are inocent until proven guilty. No need to convict these people until proven guilty.

    Maybe the "Club" should have let her repay the alleged stolen funds and maybe the Sycamore Principal and the District Supt. Kempley should be investigated in letting Mrs. Stolz continue in her position of an overwelmed librarian and president of the Parent's club.

    Let the woman pay back the $13,500 and deny her employment again at the school, but leave the husband alone. She'll need his income to pay back the alleged stolen money.

    • Avatar JeffG says:

      Sounds like a hell of a deal for criminals: Keep ill-gotten goods unless you get caught — in which case we just want you to give it back and go on your way…

  2. Avatar Sheila Barnes says:

    All shall be revealed… I suggest interested people attend the board meeting on Tuesday at Cypress Elementary School. I definitely plan on being there.

  3. Avatar Tammy Gearhart says:

    First off she was not placed on leave….she put herself on a leave.

    At the emergency board meeting….no action was taken.

    The Sycamore principal did her job…I know that to be true.

    The district leadership has turned a blind eye and more.

    She was in no state of mind to payback what she took…she is still going around town demanding she did nothing wrong…so it is for the courts to decide…it was correct action to turn this over to the police.

    The district should have taken action when confronted with the charges.

  4. Avatar Howard Lucas says:

    There are at least two sides (three+?) to a story….Could this be a one sided witch hunt. Egads….headlines in Record Search Light for three days?