Leadership shifts: Turnover at the top continues to churn coast to coast

Superintendent turnover continues to roll across the country as another group of K12 leaders have departed districts in the last week.

Peter Blake
Peter Blake

The Rome City School District in New York has parted ways with Superintendent Peter Blake, who was hired in 2016. The decision was mutual between Blake and the district’s school board, according to WKTV.com. The district has chosen its interim leader, Michael Hoose, who retired as superintendent of the Cortland City School District in 2020 after eight years.

An even longer-tenured superintendent, Erik Kincade, appears to be on the verge of retiring from the Fairview School District in Pennsylvania after 14 years of leadership, GoErie.com reported. Kincade announced earlier this month that he will step down on Oct. 31 and now, the district’s school board is set to vote on a separation agreement.

The trouble apparently began when Kincade said publically that he had asked the school board to waive a contract clause that required him to give six months notice of his retirement. But the board’s president said he and his colleagues never receive such notice, GoErie.com added.

Kincade’s announcement came the day after the School Board met for two hours and 30 minutes in a private executive session on Oct. 2 to discuss what the board, in the legal advertisement for the meeting, said was a “personnel issue involving the superintendent.”

Chad Cripe
Chad Cripe

Superintendent turnover has also hit districts where leaders are leaving their posts after shorter tenures. Chad Cripe is leaving Southmont Schools in Indiana after a little over a year on the job, Fox59News reported. Cripe, who was hired in July 2022, was previously superintendent of Oak Hill United School Corporation and the principal of Hamilton Southeastern High School.

Finally, Linda Jewell Carr will resign on Nov. 1 from Camden County Schools in North Carolina just four months after her first day at the helm, The Daily Advance reportedNeither Carr nor the school board gave a reason for the decision.

Several retirements were also announced:

  • Christopher Bernier announced he will not run for re-election as superintendent of the School District of Lee County in Florida, WINK reported.
  • Jodee Brentlinger will step down from the Solana Beach School District (California) on Jan. 2.
  • Mitch Downey will leave Bossier Parish Schools (Louisana) at the end of 2023.
  • Ben Thigpen will retire from Jones County Schools (North Carolina) on Jan. 1.

Suspension spurs a lawsuit

Suspended Charleston County Superintendent Eric Gallien is using the South Carolina district that placed him on administrative leave in late September. The district said it is investigating a complaint against Gallien, who was previously superintendent of Racine USD in Wiscon, while his suit charges that Charleston County violated his employment contract and contradicted board policies, The Post and Courier reported.

Notable new superintendent hires

Duke Bradley
Duke Bradley

On the positive side of superintendent turnover, Duke Bradley, III is taking the helm at the Newton County School District near Atlanta. Bradley, who will succeed the retired Samantha Fuhrey, is currently the chief of staff of nearby Henry County Schools and has also been an administrator in the Beaufort County School System and a principal in Fulton County Schools and in New Orleans.

More new hires:

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.