Small resigns as NB superintendent

More than four months after he was placed on paid administrative leave by the New Bloomfield R-3 School District Board of Education, Christopher Small has resigned as superintendent of the district.

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Christopher Small

On Friday Leroy Wade, school board president, said Small offered his resignation on Wednesday, Jan. 26, and it has been accepted by the board.

In a closed session, the board on Sept. 16 placed Small on administrative leave. Five days later the board hired Thomas Baugh, retired Hallsville superintendent, to work on an as-needed basis as the district’s new interim superintendent.

Wade declined again to disclose the reason Small was placed on administrative leave. Wade said Friday he did not know if Small had been hired by another school district.

In a written statement issued in behalf of the board, Wade wrote: “In situations such as this, it is common for members of a school community to wonder what is occurring and why. The board of education is devoted to acting in the best interest of the district’s students, staff, and taxpayers. Further, the board of education also is committed to complying with laws and district policies.

“In personnel matters, there is a process that must be followed, and the guiding principle of this process is fairness. By law, the privacy of involved persons must be maintained during this process. When complying with laws and district policies, the board of education does not act hastily. Rather, the board of education is dedicated to fairly and carefully considering matters brought to its attention, even if that takes time.”

Wade said Baugh will continue to serve as the district’s interim superintendent of schools for the remainder of the 2010-11 school year, which ends June 30.

Wade said he expects the board will begin the search for a new superintendent as soon as possible. He said the search for the new superintendent will already be underway when the school board election is held on April 5. He said a final hiring decision is not expected to be made until after the school board election. The new superintendent will begin duties on July 1, 2011.

“I’m not sure of the method the board will want to use to search for a new superintendent. We will decide that as soon as possible. We can have someone else conduct the search or we can do it all as a board,” Wade said.

In the April 5 school board election, six candidates have filed for three positions on the board. Two current members of the school board have filed for re-election to the three-year term on the board.

They are Gracia Backer and Suzie Mattern. Both were elected to the board in 2008. A previous member of the board, Patsy Suttles, also has filed as one of the six candidates for the school board.

Three candidates who have not served previously as school board members have filed for the office. They are Craig Abbott, Debbie Cuno and Michele Heuman.

Current school board members whose terms expire in 2012 are Susan Bedsworth and Terri Sweetem.

Current school board members whose terms expire in 2013 are Shawn Cockrum and Kathy Becker.

Wade praised Baugh as the district’s interim superintendent until June 30. Baugh is retired and can work only part-time in order to retain his full retirement benefits.

In the statement issued in behalf of the board, Wade stated: “The board of education would like to express its appreciation to the members of the New Bloomfield community for their patience and understanding during this difficult period. Each member of the board of education is honored and privileged to serve our community — a community that constantly shows its support of our schools. For that, the board of education is very grateful.”

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