Leadership shifts: School board-superintendent clashes lead to more change

One superintendent has been fired and a few more have been suspended as a months-long period of upheaval in K12 leadership shows no signs of easing. Superintendent Martinrex Kedziora was fired by The Moreno Valley Unified School District school board on Sept. 19 after having led the Southern California district since 2017.

While no reason was given for Kedziora’s dismissal, it came just a week after the Moreno Valley Unified School District agreed to the nation’s largest-ever bullying settlement. It will pay $27 million to the family of a 13-year-old boy who died in a middle school fight after being repeatedly targeted by bullies, FOX11 reported.

Several suspensions

Three superintendents were placed on leave by their school boards within the last week. Norwich Public Schools in Connecticut suspended Superintendent Kristen Stringfellow on Sept. 18 in the midst of an ongoing “climate and culture” investigation by the school board, according to The Bulletin. Some 160 staff members have left the district since June 2022, and an August teacher’s union survey found almost all of Norwich’s educators “were afraid of retaliation under Stringfellow,” the newspaper reported.

Superintendent Adam Hathaway has been placed on indefinite administrative leave by the board at Tift County Schools in Georgia. The principal of the district’s high school was also suspended for five days, WALB reported. And in Montana, Superintendent Mike Tatsey has been placed on leave, with pay, by the Heart Butte School District’s board while it conducts a financial audit that was requested by community members who had concerns about recent district spending decisions, the Daily Montanan reported.

Resignations and retirements

In Minnesota, Superintendent David Engstrom and Robbinsdale Area Schools Board of Education mutually agreed to “part ways ” on Sept. 18. Neither Engstrom, who had reportedly been on medical leave, nor the board provided a reason for the change.

Earlier this month, Superintendent Mike Hanson said this school year will be his last at the Tahoma School District in Washington. Two school board members also stepped down amidst the fallout from a paraeducator’s arrest on suspicion of child rape, according to MyNorthwest. Another local news organization, InvestigateWest, reported that the administrators failed to act even after other staff alerted them to the paraeducator’s behavior.

Superintendent Greg Decker announced he would step down in December from Rotan ISD in Texas. Superintendent Susan Johnson of  Hannibal Public Schools in Missouri and Superintendent Garrett Wilcox of Vidalia City Schools in Georgia will both retire at the end of the school year.

A few new hires

Addison Community Schools in Michigan has chosen Dan Bauer as its next superintendent. Bauer was the superintendent of Shelby Public Schools, also in Michigan, from 2012-18, Yahoo News reported. A few districts also hired first-time superintendents, including:

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.