A whopping 8 more superintendents step down just as students are returning

Turbulent times for superintendents are continuing as a large group of district leaders are departing just as students return. The Tempe Union High School District in Arizona, where school started in late July, is the biggest district to experience sudden turnover in the early days of the 2023-24 school year.

Kevin Mendivil
Kevin Mendivil

Kevin Mendivil, who joined the district in 2014 and became superintendent in 2018, resigned on Aug. 9, saying “The leadership team for whom I have been privileged to work with consists of capable and caring individuals who share my passion for educational excellence and for improved student outcomes.” Associate Superintendent Stacia Wilson, who has been with the district for 25 years, was appointed acting superintendent for the remainder of the school year.

Earlier this month, Mendivil and the school board clashed over the performance-based pay plan in the former superintendent’s contract, AZCentral.com noted.

Pamela Campbell, who has led multiple districts, has resigned after 11 years as superintendent of the Columbia School District in Michigan. Campbell, who did not say why she was stepping down, had previously served as superintendent of Montpelier Exempted Village Schools in Ohio and Tekonsha Community Schools in Michigan, MLive.com reported.

Also in Michigan, it appears that Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Swift is on the verge of being forced out after a decade in the post. Ann Arbor’s school board has voted to issue Swfit a pre-termination notice and authorized the district’s attorney to begin negotiating a separation agreement with Swift, MLive reported.

‘On the wrong side of a few decisions’

Margaret Crespo
Margaret Crespo

Margaret Crespo is leaving Laramie County School District 1, Wyoming’s largest system, after serving about two years. Crespo resigned even though a recently completed investigation cleared her of harassment allegations made by a former principal in the district, the Cowboy State Daily reported. A few days after she stepped down, Crespo was appointed the inaugural superintendent-in-residence of Women Leading Ed, a national network committed to growing the number of females in education leadership.

“Our focus on equity and diversity has shown increases in the data,” Crespo noted in her resignation letter. “Students, like me, who learned English as a second language and our students who struggle with secure housing are exhibiting growth on our state assessments.

James L. Henderson will leave the Proviso Township High School District 209 near Chicago on Aug. 18 after “a contentious three years as head of the troubled district,” the Forest Park Review reported. Henderson was previously superintendent of Holmes County Consolidated School District in Mississippi and Proviso Township’s school board president told the Review that “It is time for District 209 to go in a new direction.”

In Alabama, Tony Reddick will end his five-year stint as superintendent of Alabama’s Gadsden City Schools on Aug. 31. Reddick, who has been with the district for 35 years, told local TV station WIAT that “contentious situations” with Gadsden’s school board were one of the reasons for his resignation.

“I found myself on the wrong side of a few decisions, maybe wrong side of a few opinions and you know it was just kind of a sign for me to just let it go,” Reddick told WIAT. “I didn’t have a good feeling about whether or not I would be renewed as a superintendent so I just made a decision to leave on my terms.”

Nathan McCann
Nathan McCann

Nathan McCann‘s last day as superintendent of the Ridgefield School District in Washington is Aug. 15. A district press release said that Ridgefield’s school board and McCann, who was hired in 2014, determined that his “significant skill, knowledge, and experience are not the best match for the present needs of the district,” The Columbian reported.

Elsewhere, Griff Mills “unexpectedly” and voluntarily resigned as superintendent of the Taylor School District in Michigan, The Detroit News reported. Mills has led the district since 2020. Finally, Shaun Morgan has retired from Manchester Local Schools in Ohio after about two years as superintendent, Akron.com reported.

And, in an unusual move, one Illinois superintendent’s resignation was rejected. Freeburg School District 70’s board voted not to accept the resignation of Superintendent Melanie Brink, who has now agreed to remain in her job, the Belleville-New Democrat reported. Brink’s resignation letter hinted that she was considering a new professional opportunity, according to the Belleville-New Democrat.

Less turbulent times: District leaders who plan to retire

Superintendent James Thompson, 76, of Bloomfield Public Schools in Connecticut, says he will retire at the end of 2023-24 after 55 years in education, CTInsider reported. Thompson began his career as a teacher and principal in Hartford Public Schools. In Louisiana, Superintendent Joe Murphy says he will retire from Livingston Parish Public Schools at the end of the school year, WAFB reported.

Matthew Zalaznick
Matthew Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.