February 10, 2009

Mt. Diablo schools superintendent resigns

This is huge, though perhaps not unexpected: Gary McHenry resigned as superintendent of the Mt. Diablo Unified school district. As the Contra Costa Times says, his resignations ends "months of public debate about the administrator's future."

The announcement came at the Mt. Diablo Unified School board meeting Tuesday evening. McHenry was not present. As the Times reports:

Effective immediately, Richard Nicoll, assistant superintendent for administrative services, is interim superintendent.

"The governing board recognizes Mr. McHenry's lengthy tenure in the district and
the many accomplishments which took place during that tenure," board President
Gary Eberhart said. "We now look forward to the future and ask our employees,
parents and greater community to work with us and improve our district

The Mount Diablo school district is responsible for about 35,000 students, 1,700 teachers, and nearly 60 elementary, middle, high school, alternative, continuation schools, stretching from Walnut Creek to Pleasant Hill to Concord.

McHenry's resignation is startling but not surprising. He and the board had long been at odds over a number of issues, most recently a few weeks ago when board trustees refused to follow his recommendations to eliminate six vice principals and instead target the jobs of six district office administrators and McHenry's top aide.

At the same time, McHenry had been undergoing a performance review, and last year Eberhart and fellow board member Paul Strange called for McHenry's resignation. McHenry's decision to go along with their request to resign comes amid long-simmering tensions between him and the board, as well as district's dire financial situation: The board needs to look for for ways to slash $6.6 million from its 2009-10 budget of nearly $297 million, due to state funding reductions.

In searching for McHenry's replacement, the Times says, "the board intends to include the community in its search for a superintendent." Meanwhile, McHenry will leave the position with something of a golden parachute, the Times reports. "The district will pay McHenry about $150,000, including salary and vacation through Sept. 30 and benefits through June 30, 2010, when his original contract was due to expire."

According to the Times, Eberhart, at Tuesday night's meeting, tried to make the best of things, describing McHenry's departure as a "big change. ... The community is demanding change from the school district and that is something we are going to follow through on."


Anonymous said...

The MDUSD will be sorry they let him go like this. He was such a positive man who did amazing things for the district. They will be screwed without him.

Got to be joking? said...

You've got to be joking, whoever anon 12:55pm is.