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Lakewood High School principal resigns

HEBRON – Anyone expecting to learn more about Lakewood High School principal Stacey Stein’s resignation or why it isn’t effective until June 30, 2018, left Wednesday evening’s regular school board meeting disappointed.

Her resignation was originally listed as the last item on the Superintendent’s Consent Agenda which is defined on the agenda as, “Items under the consent agenda are considered routine and will be enacted under one motion. There will be no separate discussion of these items prior to the time of the Board votes unless a Board member requests an item be clarified or removed from the consent agenda for separate action.”

Newly elected board member Tara Houdeshell requested that Stein’s resignation be removed for separate action.

Stein was charged February 7 in Fairfield County for operating a vehicle under the influence, following an accident on Ohio 37 near Ohio 204. She allegedly tried a u-turn from a driveway and her vehicle was hit when she pulled out in front of another vehicle. Stein allegedly smelled of alcohol, slurred her speech and admitted to having several beers and some wine. Her first court appearance was February 13.

When Stein’s resignation came up for separate action, Superintendent Mary Kay Andrews said it was for “personal reasons.” She added, “We understand the concerns of parents, students and community during this time. As always, this Board, Administration and staff continue to maintain our focus on doing what is in the best interests of our students and delivering a quality education.” Board members unanimously approved the resignation without any discussion or questions.

During the board’s final public comment period, one person asked whether Stein would be in the school until her resignation is effective. “She will not be here,” Andrews said. She refused to comment when asked if she would be paid.

At the end of the meeting, Andrews handed a very brief statement to the media members present. The first sentence said, “The Board has accepted Mrs. Stein’s resignation for personal reasons upon the effective date for which it was submitted.” That strange sentence construction probably means Stein will be paid until June 28, 2018.

Stein was hired as high school principal on a one-year contract at $91,029 effective August 1, 2016. She replaced Scott Coffey after Andrews moved him to the newly created position of Dean of Students at Hebron Elementary. Board members narrowly approved Andrews’ recommendation on a 3-2 vote with board members Bill Gulick and Steve Thorp voting dissenting. Last year, board members unanimously approved the Superintendent’s Consent Agenda at their Mary 24 meeting which included a two-year contract for Stein as high school principal at $93,301 a year. Most contracts are now paid over 12 months. If Stein’s follows that pattern, she will be paid approximately $35,000 over the next four and one half months until her resignation is effective.

In other business Wednesday evening, board members unanimously approved the rest of the Superintendent’s Consent Agenda which included:

• Kyle Mathews as the new Director of Facilities and Maintenance at $51,054 (prorated for the remainder of the district’s year at $20,617.80). Director of District Services Patti Pickering introduced Mathews to the board earlier in the meeting. Mathews retired from the U.S. Air Force a couple years ago after serving 31 years. He ran maintenance operations, primarily for aircraft, there, managing a 200-person staff during his last assignment. Most recently, he did maintenance and drove a bus for Walnut Township Schools. Mathews told board members that work is progressing on the new bathrooms at Lakewood Middle School. Work on the security vestibule will start March 1.

• Spring coaching supplements for Rex Carr, varsity boys track head coach; Kelli Cramer, varsity girls track head coach; Mathew Bowen, varsity softball assistant coach; Jacob Schimberg, varsity boys track assistant coach; Jerry Thorp, varsity assistant baseball coach; Tyler Bragg and Chuck Davis, split contract for varsity assistant baseball coach; Jerry Lyons, freshman baseball coach on a TBA split contract; and Andrew Bobalik, middle school boys track coach.

During the recognition portion of the meeting, third grade teacher Rebecca Hayes was recognized for being awarded Coughlin’s “You Make a Difference Award.” She was nominated by a student. Student Brianna Lewis was recognized as one of the 25 students nation-wide accepted to attend the Advanced Astronomy Camp in Arizona.

During public comments, a parent, who had previously complained that students reporting drug activity were being harassed in the hallways and cafeteria, said the climate has improved in the cafeteria and hallways. She aid she appreciated the January 17 letter from Andrews to Lakewood families and the community about steps being taken to create a safe and productive environment for learning.

She also asked board members and administrators to find a better way to receive students in the morning. Currently, students are confined in one hallway until 7:30 a.m. She has “high concern as a parent” about this daily “mass huddle.” Board member Bill Pollard agreed. “You don’t want a huge group of students in an open area.” The mother said most students are on their phones or Chromebooks then. She believes that time should be spent more productively and in a safer place.

Next month’s board meeting has been changed from its regular schedule to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20. Board members have set another public workshop meeting for 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 24, at the high school library to discuss the elementary school design and the construction management process.

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