Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Wayne-Westland school superintendent resigns

Members of the Wayne-Westland Community Schools Board of Education unanimously accepted the resignation of Dr. Shelley Holt, former superintendent of schools. The resignation was part of a mutually-agreed upon settlement which also ends Holt's $2 million lawsuit against the district. No financial terms of the settlement were revealed by the district.
The unanimous vote took place Oct. 1 in a special session convened to end the district administrative relationship with Holt who had come under public criticism from parents, teachers and students during public meetings of the school board. She was accused of mismanagement, favoritism and creating a “culture of fear” and retaliation in the school district.
“I wish Dr. Holt nothing but the best as she moves on and thank her for the many positive contributions she made to the school district during her time as superintendent,” said Board President David R. Cox.
The resolution allows the board of education members to move forward with a search process to hire a new superintendent for the district, according to a prepared statement from the schools.
During the search process, current Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Operations Jill Simmons will serve as interim superintendent. Simmons, who earned her bachelor's degree in business administration from Eastern Michigan University and a master's degree in human resources and employment relations.
Simmons will be supported by Dr. Sue Carnell who will act as a professional consultant to the district. Carnell had served as the interim superintendent since July but was limited by Michigan retirement rules as to the amount of time she could serve as an administrator.
“The board of education will now begin the process of identifying a new superintendent to lead our district in what will surely become one of the most exciting rebuilding eras in district history,” said Cox. “With stable finances, new employee contracts in place, major facility upgrades on the horizon, and a new curriculum coming online, the school district is looking forward to making positive changes in virtually every area of study for every student,” he added.
Holt came under fire for her management style and controversial decisions during a standing- room only public meeting last June when she was criticized by parents and students. School board members subsequently voted to suspend Holt with pay while the multiple complaints and allegations were investigated by an outside law firm. Holt almost immediately filed a racial discrimination lawsuit seeking $2 million in damages and a restraining order against the district.
“Our mission is to educate and prepare all of our students to be knowledgeable, responsible,contributing members of a global society “This requires a dedicated teaching and administrative staff functioning in an environment that recognizes and appreciates that dedication. The board is committed to maintaining that environment for all employees,” Cox concluded.