February 13, 2016

School board terminates superintendent, other administrators

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.


  1. Thank you Robby and Mary for standing up for our town. Thanks to the other two folks. I don’t know you but you did what was right for our kids.

  2. Many things became apparent at the meeting Thursday. In my opinion there are three BOE members that are NOT looking out for the employees or the community. April 2015 is a year away. My guess is…just like last BOE election…none of these three will run for reelection…as it would be a huge waste of their time and money.

    Thank you to the four Board Members who took a huge leap towards restoring dignity and integrity to this district. Many citizens are grateful for your courage and your effort. Thank you.

  3. Thank you to Tresa Boden, Brad Chandler, Mary Nelson, and Rob Shippy for standing up for our town. A huge thank you to the citizens in Gardner that attended the meetings and did their “homework”. You are our hometown heroes.

  4. Judith Rogers says:

    How was this accomplished without violating the Open Meetings Act? I am sure that issue will have to be addressed.

    Citizens sure need to do their jobs better. All should fully recognize how the Gilhauses of the world come about……….mostly by citizens going along to get along and NOT providing the proper oversight of elected officials, appointees and the bureaucrats involved on a weekly basis. If any citizen had been involved in a very small way and by asking questions about the school district to Gilhaus, they would have known how he operated and why he needed to be replaced and it should have been done years ago but you had citizens and a school board who weren’t doing their jobs. How many citizens really know what goes on in their school district, city, county and state governments? Very damn few and very damn few care to know. The same types of messes are very much happening in your Gardner City government in my opinion but the same ole same ole ignorance and apathy are alive and well.

    Accountability doesn’t even exist in today’s world, or at least very little of it, and that is why the wrongdoers get away with what they do and don’t do. You have had your Gardner city government breaking the law for months and the citizens haven’t even lifted an eyebrow about it in my opinion. But as I have learned, patience is a true virtue – eventually the jerks are shown for what they are – that is if people really want to know and that calls for a decerning person who does their own research and doesn’t just go by what is on the CFG Facebook page or the talk on the street. But during that patience period, much suffering and astronomical costs occur.

    To get DECENT government, it takes effort and time which the citizens don’t really seem to be interested doing so you will get the government you deserve and with all of the suffering that goes along with it.

  5. Gardnerwhos says:

    Unfortunately for the district they have lost many quality employees over the course of Gilhaus’ tenure. This is a positive change for USD 231.

  6. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    Kansas City Star reports Kansas Senator Pat Apple wants review of fired Gardner Edgerton superintendent:


  7. Judith Rogers says:

    I just love it when the politicians like Apple and Sutton throw their two cents in there, Sutton especially – he sounds like a New Jersey politician more by the day. Rotten politics are a dirty, dirty system and the citizens don’t do much to improve things and, in fact, in my opinion, many of them have lost their moral compasses, if they ever had one, right along with the people they vote into office. Time and time again I have seen citizens submit concerns about different issues and yet Kansas Senators and Representatives and the Governor go along and/or enable the wrongdoing – an example is when citizens testify at hearings or committee meetings at Topeka and the elected officials just ignore the concerns of citizens and continue the status quo which is so wrong and the same applies at the local city and county levels. Look at some of the laws Sutton and others are voting for or promoting and that should be a clue as to what they stand for and they even go so far as to use religion as an excuse for committing their wrongdoing. And then you have citizens and politicians turning their heads to wrongdoing constantly and that is how you get the messes that you are continually having to address.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right but a lot of elected officials and others forget that fact when they are so consumed with getting the end results they so want. Honesty, integrity, ethics, character and many other moral values are thrown out the window when politics, money and greed are involved and many put their souls in danger when they are involved in it. I am not a Catholic but, in my opinion, it wouldn’t hurt any citizen to listen to the new Pope – to me he certainly has the important priorities in much better order.

  8. Judith Rogers says:

    Clown Sutton and his fellow legislators better be thinking long and hard about approving the knife bill that was submitted this year – just like all of the gun legislation they have backed resulting in so many gun culture communities.


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