Petersburg Pilot -

Superintendent resignation remains murky

 

Dr. Lisa Stroh

The Petersburg School Board accepted Petersburg School District Dr. Lisa Stroh's resignation and settlement release agreement last week, which grants her administrative leave with pay and benefits through June 30, 2015.

Stroh cited family medical issues last December for requesting temporary administrative leave, but submitted her resignation December 31.

During the special meeting, Petersburg Borough Assembly member John Havrilek questioned the board's decision to grant Stroh pay while not serving as superintendent.

"Basically what you're saying is that you're going to be paying a person for six months for not working here," Havrilek asked.

PSD Attorney John Sedor, present telephonically, said a review of Paragraph 15 of Stroh's hiring contract, entitled "Discharge Without Cause" would probably give a clue as to why the six months of pay might have been selected.

"That is the one place in the contract where you do find a six month payment, which coincidentally or not, is also in the (Stroh's) proposed settlement agreement," Sedor said.

The paragraph states, "The board may terminate this contract without cause upon giving the Superintendent 10 days written notice, and by making a severance payment to the Superintendent equal to six (6) months salary and six (6) months fully paid medical insurance or the balance of the salary and medical insurance..."

The school board voted unanimously to approve Stroh's settlement agreement after a meeting in executive session with Sedor.

The board hired Stroh in July when she signed a three-year contract with a starting annual salary of $122,720.

Before arriving in Petersburg, Stroh served as superintendent for the Valdez City School District for one year before leaving the job, citing conflict between her and Valdez School Board members as a reason for leaving.

In a December 17 email to department heads and assembly members, Petersburg Borough Manager Steve Giesbrecht wrote, "If you have not already heard...as I understand the situation from speaking to Dr. Stroh, she is likely not returning from leave to Petersburg. Last thing we needed was turmoil at the school!"

Giesbrecht said the turmoil he referred to wasn't a conflict between Stroh and school staff or board members but the loss of Secure Rural Schools funding, annual federal funding, and how a superintendent transition may complicate the issue.

During the meeting, the school board appointed Rae C. Stedman Elementary school principal Erica Kludt-Painter as the interim PSD Superintendent, a job she's been performing since Stroh's absence.

Stedman Elementary second grade teacher Teri Toland is now the interim principal in Kludt-Painter's absence.

The school board will approve new stipends or contracts for Toland and Kludt-Painter at its January 20 meeting.

The board will now begin another search for a superintendent and may rely on help from the Alaska Association of School Boards.

 

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