Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

May 8, 2014

Outgoing school superintendent disappointed over resignation

TAZEWELL, Va. — Tazewell County’s departing superintendent of schools said Wednesday that it is with “deep disappointment” that she was leaving the school division; meanwhile, the county Board of Supervisors expressed that they disagreed with how the superintendent’s resignation was handled.

The Tazewell County School Board voted unanimously Monday to accept the resignation of Superintendent Dr. Michaelene A. Meyer. Chairman David Woodard read a statement after the board came out of executive session stating that the board informed Meyer in March that it desired to have the opportunity to make its own selection of a superintendent. The board made it clear that its decision was not because of Meyer’s performance, Woodard said in the statement.

Meyer’s resignation is effective June 30, the end of the school year. The school board will pay her an amount equal to her base salary of $120,000 in equal installments during the 2014-2015 school year. The board will also contribute $50,000 toward the buy-in of two year’s credit in the Virginia Retirement System. Meyer will also participate in the board-sponsored health insurance plan until she obtains employment in which she is eligible for health insurance coverage.

On Wednesday, Meyer issued a statement dated Tuesday. In it, she said the school board had accepted her resignation as superintendent “which was tendered to support their desire to hire their own superintendent.”

“It is with deep disappointment that I must leave the division, and although my tenure was short-lived, I have been productive with my time here and have maintained a focus on what is in the best interests of students,” Meyer said. “I am grateful for having had the opportunity to serve the community, the employees of the division, and above all the students who strive to achieve every day within our schools. It has been both a personal and professionally rewarding experience for me.”

“Over the past several months, since the school board first raised the issue of a possible early departure, it became clear that the newly constituted school board wanted to exercise its right to select its own superintendent,” she said. “This type of decision is certainly well within its right, even, when as here, no performance issues exist. I have come to understand that this type of decision is not all that uncommon.”

 School board member H.S. Caudill, who represents the county’s southern district, said Meyer’s statement showed that both parties were willing to work together.

“She will be the superintendent until the end of June and we will work with her respectfully in that position,” Caudill said.

The Tazewell County School Board could begin discussing the first step toward finding a new superintendent when it goes into executive session on May 12 at Abbs Valley Elementary School, Caudill said. The school board is holding its regular meeting at Abbs Valley to help celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary.

Chairman Charles Stacy of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors said the supervisors had a “fundamental difference” about how the superintendent’s departure was handled.

“We simply don’t believe in paying people not to work,” he said. “If they were unhappy with her work, they simply need to tell her why they were unhappy. If there were no performance issues, why would you pay someone not to work?”

Stacy said the supervisors respected the school board’s right to make its decision.

“We’ve been working the last two years since I’ve been on the board (of supervisors) in trying to improve our relationship with the school board,” he said. “On the board of supervisors, we recognize this is a decision that is properly made by the elected school board, and we trust that they know what they are doing when they made that decision. We don’t agree with it, but we certainly recognize that it is the school board’s decision to make.”

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