District has new superintendent
Laurie Noll accepted the Fairfield school board’s offer to begin July 1 as the district’s new superintendent.
The board announced its decision Thursday evening at a public meeting along with approving a signed contract with Noll.
She has a two-year contract with Fairfield at $153,000 for the first year and 260 days of service. The 2015-16 school year salary will be negotiated later. Noll receives a relocation allowance of up to $2,000 during the first year of employment. The contract also includes a $10,000 fee for early resignation.
Noll and her husband, Tim, attended the 20-minute meeting Thursday.
Noll has worked as curriculum director at Burlington Community School District for four years. She was the administrator of Burlington’s alternative high school the previous four years, according to her profile on BCSD’s website.
Noll has nearly 15 years experience teaching in the Burlington district in the special education department, and chaired that department for nine years.
Noll also has been a teacher for deaf and hard of hearing students through the Area Education Agency from August 1986 through October 1990 and in the Davenport Community School District from August 1984 to July 1986.
She earned a doctor of education degree at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois.
“She has a strong background in instructional leadership and a long tenure in education,” said Kim Sheets, Fairfield Community School District business manager and school board secretary. Sheets was one of the district employees who sat on one of the stakeholder groups in the search for Art Sathoff’s replacement.
Noll was selected from among a field of 60 candidates who completed an application for the superintendent position.
“The board of education thanks the community and district for their time and sincere efforts during this selection process,” said Sheets. “The board truly valued and considered the feedback received from our various stakeholder groups.”
The school board also approved a 28E Agreement with Fairfield Park and Recreation Department.
“This is a more formal follow up to the board’s previous resolution of support,” said Sathoff. “The park and rec needs a 28E Agreement in place to pursue a CAT grant.”
The committee to build a new outdoor pool and a new gym in Fairfield is seeking an Iowa Community Attraction and Tourism Grant to add to the funding for the projects. The Vision Iowa Board oversees the grant program and likes to see communitywide support for projects.
The Fairfield school district and the park and rec share facilities and some programs, such as tennis courts, swim lessons, Trojan Stadium’s track, volleyball nets and more. The 28E Agreement puts on record the longstanding cooperative relationship between the school district and the city’s park and recreation department.
“I’m not recommending any commitment to any specific project,” said Sathoff. “This agreement is written in the spirit of cooperation.”
School board president Jennifer Anderson asked fellow board members to consider accepting the resignation of board member Jerry Nelson. He was elected to the board in September 2011; his four-year term expires in September 2015.
Nelson asked Anderson to forget it at Thursday’s meeting; he had withdrawn his resignation.
She asked him to listen so she could outline the events for the rest of the board.
“Jerry called me Tuesday night to tell me he was resigning from the school board,” said Anderson. “I told Jerry to sleep on it and think about his decision.”
The school board had met in closed session Tuesday evening to select the finalist in the superintendent search. The two finalists, Noll, and Anthony Ryan, a shared superintendent at Centerville and Moravia schools, had spent the day in Fairfield Tuesday talking with stakeholder groups.
Anderson said she talked with Sathoff, who said he also heard from Nelson that he was resigning.
She called the Iowa Association of School Boards to ask legal
counsel if Nelson’s verbal resignation was sufficient to act on. Anderson said she was told a verbal only resignation was valid and the rest of the board didn’t even need to vote about it.
Anderson asked the resignation be added to Thursday’s agenda list and was advised she should talk with Sathoff.
“Art told me Jerry had called him again and said he wanted to withdraw his resignation,” said Anderson. “Jerry never called me to let me know he wanted to withdraw his resignation and remain on the board.”
She phoned IASB again for more legal advice.
“After polling several attorneys, the consensus I was told is that the resignation stands,” said Anderson.
“I don’t like this practice of resigning then withdrawing the decision when anger subsides,” she said. “In my opinion, we can accept his withdrawal or not. I don’t want to spend any taxpayers’ money on this, nor any more board time on this.
“The code of ethics for school board members needs to be reviewed and followed. Open meetings laws need to be reviewed and followed,” said Anderson.
If Nelson resigned, the board could appoint another board member until the next school election or schedule a special election to fill the seat until September 2015.
“I certainly didn’t try to confuse the issue,” said Sathoff. “When Jerry called me the second time to withdraw his resignation, I thought it was OK. I guess I was thinking about school employees. I don’t consider a resignation unless it’s in writing. I would agree this issue got a little messy.”
Nelson had never submitted a written resignation from the school board to anyone.
Anderson called for a motion to vote on the matter, but no one made a motion, so the issue died.
Nelson remains on the seven-member school board.