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Shocker at EACS: Green out as superintendent, effective Friday

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 9:16 am

Instead of a long goodbye, Karyle Green and the East Allen County Schools board have instead opted for a swift breakup.

A news release issued by the district Monday evening said the EACS board and Green "have mutually agreed to part ways, effective March 1, 2013, rather than continuing through the remainder of her contract, which expires in June 2014."

Again: Not March 1, 2014. That is March 1, as in Friday.

The news release did not indicate exactly who would be in charge of the corporation's 16 schools, roughly 10,000 students and 650 employees in the absence of Green, stating instead that "the board will be prepared to share its plan for an interim superintendent at its regularly scheduled board meeting on March 5."

EACS Board President Neil Reynolds on Tuesday morning said that an interim superintendent has not been chosen yet. A committee is considering the choice, and next week’s meeting is not a deadline, he added. People who would normally carry out the superintendent’s duties might do so in lieu of the board selecting an interim superintendent.

Green actually resigned Jan. 8, Reynolds said. Since then, he said, board members have come to think that it would be better for the district if they negotiated terms for an early end to her contract, which runs through June 30, 2014. Those terms are still being discussed, he said. The terms will be public when an agreement is reached.

Green has held the job since July 2009, when she took over for the retiring Kay Novotny. Green came to EACS from the South Bend Community School Corporation. However, Green had indicated that she intended to finish her contract, but the release stated that Green's near-immediate departure "is in the best interest of the students, teachers and schools."

The fit among Green, the board and the East Allen community has been strained for months, if not years, mostly due to the redesign of the district that was prompted by the potential takeover of Harding High School by the state after years of academic woes.

Harding's closure was announced in 2010, leading to a brutal stretch where parents vehemently resisted the move. Those against the closure pushed for a charter and/or state takeover of Harding so students who already attended the school would not have to be bused to other schools in the district.

None of those requests were granted; instead, the district closed the school for one year while it developed another program, East Allen University, to take its place. East Allen University is described as an early college program, where students have the option to graduate with a high school diploma and an associate's degree, through a partnership with Vincennes University.

It opened in May, mere days before the district suffered a significant setback when its proposed $89 million referendum was soundly defeated at the polls, being rejected by 64 percent of voters.

The referendum would have allowed for the renovation of New Haven Intermediate School at the site of Park Hill Learning Center, funded additions to New Haven High School and allowed for renovations to the former Harding High School to create East Allen University.

It is possible that wasn't even the lowest point for Green's tenure...in May alone.

During an explanation of a "district climate survey" conducted by Daryl Yost, a former EACS superintendent, the board was told the prevailing perception in the community was that board members represented their individual districts first instead of meeting the needs of the district while failing to understand the separation between governing, not managing the district.

Green didn't escape unscathed from criticism, being told that EACS employees felt “undervalued” by the administration and were frustrated at “the perceived chaos of initiatives” in the district related to the redesign and performance evaluations. Yost also said he found there was little confidence in the “transparency or integrity of the central office,” particularly with Green.

Green originally signed a three-year contract at $140,000 per year to run the district. The news release did not contain any details of a potential severance package, though, again, Green was under contract through 2014.