Archive for Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Administrators off suspension, not at work

Special board meeting called for Friday; sole agenda item is administrators’ contracts

March 14, 2007

The suspensions of two Tonganoxie school administrators have been lifted, but the action didn't clear up speculation about their futures with the district.

And the Tonganoxie school board will meet in special session at 6 p.m. Friday to discuss administrators' contracts.

Neither Tatia Shelton, Tonganoxie High School principal, nor middle school assistant principal Darren Neas was on duty Tuesday, hours after the Tonganoxie school board lifted the thee-day suspensions imposed last week by Superintendent Richard Erickson.

At Monday night's regular meeting, school board members came out of a two-hour executive session, and Erickson announced the suspensions had ended.

"The suspension of administrators was imposed to allow for adequate investigation of facts that came to my attention," Erickson said. "After the completion of a diligent investigation, it does not appear that the individuals involved violated any board policy to justify any further suspension at this point."

Tuesday, according to school personnel, Shelton was not on duty at the high school, and Neas was not at the middle school.

Erickson gave notice of the special meeting Tuesday morning but declined to provide specifics about the meeting. He said the bulk of the meeting, which likely will take about 30 minutes, will take place behind closed doors -- with the board in executive session.

School board member Leana Leslie confirmed the meeting would be to discuss administrators' contracts, adding she couldn't be more specific.

Shelton and Neas, as well as their attorney, Patty Riley, Topeka, declined to comment.

Shelton has been THS principal since 2004. She came to Tonganoxie from Garden City, where she served a year as an assistant principal with the title dean of students. She also taught high school biology for nine years in the Rock Creek school district near Manhattan.

Shelton has a master's degree in educational leadership and administration from Kansas State University. She earned a bachelor's degree in secondary education from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Neas began work with the Tonganoxie district in 1999 and has been assistant principal at the middle school since 2001.

The two began serving their three-day suspensions Thursday. Erickson, who declined to publicly identify the reason for the suspensions, has the authority under district policy to suspend certified employees with pay until the suspension is resolved by board action at the "next regular or special meeting of the board."

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