A narrow majority of the Gardner Edgerton School Board voted to terminate the superintendent, Bill Gilhaus; the executive director of education services, Christy Ziegler; and the executive director of human resources and administrative services, Lana Gerber. The same narrow majority, 4-3, named Pam Stranathan, director of secondary education, as interim superintendent.
Four members of the seven member board supported both actions — Tresa Boden, Brad Chandler, Mary Nelson, and Rob Shippy. Board members Mark Grannell, Mary Herbert and James Repshire opposed.
At the outset of the special meeting, Grannell and Repshire questioned whether the meeting was legal. The board’s attorney, Joe Hatley, said the pair’s objection to holding the meeting would cast a cloud over any decisions made during the meeting. When the special meeting was called, two days ago, an executive session to discuss personnel issues was the only item on the agenda. Repshire said he did not feel comfortable making a decision without knowing the purpose of the meeting.
Members agreed to discuss the purpose of the meeting in a 10-minute executive session. The closed door session was extended for more than half an hour. When the board reconvened in open session, Shippy moved to terminate the three employees. Shippy then moved to appoint the director of secondary education as the interim superintendent. Hatley suggested that the board’s actions may not be legal. However, the same four members agreed to appoint an interim super.
UPDATED According to a USD 231 press release, the board will have no further comment on the matter as it is a personnel issue.
However, school staff received more detailed instructions.
UPDATED USD 231 faculty received an email confirming new interim leadership at the district. The email stipulates that pending board approval, Jody Marshall, the director of special services for the instruction will serve as the interim director of administrative services; Jill Smith, the current director of elementary education, will fulfill the duties of the executive director of educational services. As the district transitions through these administrative changes, we ask for your patience and support,” the email, sent from clerk of the board Lisa Berg, reads. “USD 231 is fortunate to have an extraordinary group of educational professionals to move the district in a direction that is not only in the best interest of our students and staff members, but in the best interest of the communities it serves.”
See full coverage in the March 5 print edition of The Gardner News.