MANLIUS – The Bureau Valley School superintendent has quit, alluding to problems with district leadership, and citing the stress of the job and other personal reasons.
The school board voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a separation agreement with Eric Lawson, whose last day was Friday.
“I hope that there is a unified commitment across the district someday which will allow students endless success,” Lawson said in a statement read by Board President Don King. “I hope that all agendas are put to the side and the leadership of this district transforms their role into that of Unity – Excellence – Pride, which has been the Bureau Valley motto since day one.”
According to the agreement, Lawson will be paid his salary and the monetary equivalent of his board paid health insurance through Sept. 30.
He also will be provided a neutral letter of reference that reads in part that he and the district had a mutual parting of ways for reasons that “can best be described as philosophical and political differences.”
Lawson has been with the district since 2008, working his way up the ladder from assistant principal/athletic director to high school principal to assistant superintendent and finally superintendent in 2017.
“In making this decision, there were two very important items that I took into consideration: my children/family and my personal health,” Lawson said in his statement.
“I truly enjoyed the superintendent position and personally felt Bureau Valley was in a good place, although stressful situations became too much and detrimental for my personal well-being. Having not been able to truly commit my time and energy to my children also weighed heavily on my mind.”
After reading the statement, King thanked Lawson. “He’d been here a long time and had done many good things,” he said.
The board voted 7-0 to appoint Amber Harper interim superintendent.
She has been the district’s grant administrator since 2017, was the Leepertown School District’s superintendent in Bureau for 9 years before it joined the Ladd Community Consolidated School District in 2012, and was an administrator at Bureau Valley North before that.
The board will begin its search for a new superintendent immediately, said King, adding that there’s been interest in the position and he’s hopeful it will be filled at the May board meeting.
Also Tuesday, the board accepted BV South/Wyanet Principal Kristal LeRette’s resignation, which will be effective at the end of the school year. She’s been with the district 7 years.
LeRette is leaving to teach at the Bureau Educational Support Team school in Tiskilwa and to spend more time with her family, she said.
Also on Tuesday, the Bureau Valley School Board:
• Approved tenure for six teachers, effective at the end of the school year. Those teachers are Caitlyn DeMay, Sheri Litherland, Philip Przybyla, Laurie Shipp, Daniel Sinclair and Sarah Tracey.
• Approved the dismissal of Parker Lindeland as BV head mechanic and the transfer of Cody Gibson from assistant mechanic to head mechanic.
• Approved the closure of Bureau Valley South in Buda, effective June 30. In a separate vote, the board approved naming the new building addition at the high school campus, the Bureau Valley Elementary and Junior High School, effective July 1. The new addition will house grades 3-8 from Buda.
• Approved adding junior high girls softball next school year. The sport will be played during the fall semester.