Pennfield Superintendent Kevin Simmons is Out. Are Board Members Next?
Kevin Simmons’ two-year stint as Pennfield School Superintendent ended Monday night, the eve of the first day of the school year. In a special meeting of the school board, a couple of citizens spoke positively about Simmons, and then the board met in a closed session for 20 minutes. When they came back, a motion was made to accept the Superintendent’s resignation.
A Facebook page, Pennfield School Board Watch Dogs, has been created now to inform the public about citizen concerns regarding the actions of the school board. There are allegations of micro-managing and concerns are being expressed that it might make it more difficult to attract a new superintendent.
On Monday, the board accepted Simmons’ resignation in a 5-1 vote, which seemed to stun those in attendance. Trustee Dr. Craig Korpela voted against the resignation. Simmons was not at the meeting.
Sources tell us that the board, most of whom were elected just last November, were not satisfied with the level of communication with Simmons, and that the board attorney suggested several directives to address that concern. But that effort only caused the board’s relationship with Simmons to become more strained, which was evident in the August 16th meeting. Tensions were high during that meeting, with Board President Jeff Wolfsberger at one point asking Simmons to be silent. During Monday night's meeting, Wolfsberger apologized for his conduct.
YouTube videos of Pennfield Board meetings mysteriously disappeared from a school district site after Monday’s meeting for 12 hours. They re-appeared after several district residents e-mailed board members with concerns and posted on the Facebook page.
Dr. Korpela, the one member of the board who voted against accepting Simmon's resignation, expressed his appreciation for the work Simmons did in the district.
"I'd like to recognize all of the hard work and effort that our now previous superintendent has put into improving the schools and working with stakeholders," he said. "That effort has been greatly appreciated."
Simmons had just posted one of his typically enthusiastic messages on FaceBook, as school was about to start.