In light of the resignation of the Knob Noster School District superintendent and two Board of Education members, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jerrod Wheeler spoke on behalf of the board to explain possible steps the board may take at their Jan. 13 meeting.
According to a press release issued Monday from the district, a separation agreement was approved for Superintendent Dr. Kristee Lorenz, which includes payment based in part on the terms of her contract. The release states Lorenz has resigned from her position effective June 30, but has decided to take leave until June 30.
“Despite how it appears, the Board of Education at Knob Noster is dedicated to transparency,” Wheeler said by phone Tuesday morning. “We are anxious to share information with the community but we are acting on the advice of legal counsel at this time.”
The Democrat attempted to contact Wheeler on Monday, but he was unavailable for comment at press time.
Wheeler said the board had not formally accepted the resignations of members Micheal Fisk and Matt Cleveland, both of whom were not present at the special board meeting Dec. 29 where Lorenz entered into a separation agreement with the district.
In a press release provided by Fisk and Cleveland, both men stated they had resigned their seats effective Dec. 22.
“The two former board members resigned in the wake of Superintendent Dr. Kristee Lorenz separating from the district,” the release stated.
“I think one of the first orders of business will be a decision as to the resignation of Micheal and Matt,” Wheeler said. “The board would like to thank both for the time and effort they have dedicated to the district and their efforts were appreciated.”
In the event of more than two vacancies to the board, district policy states “the county commission will appoint vacancies if there are more than two vacancies.”
With only two board vacancies at this time, Wheeler said the board would take action on how to handle the vacancies on the board as a result of their resignations.
The terms of both Fisk and Cleveland expire in April, which created two open seats for the upcoming April 5 election.
“Because of the proximity to the April election, the board has several options to consider,” Wheeler said.
Those options include appointing two individuals to fill the seats until the April election, or the district could allow the seats to remain open, allowing the voters to determine the replacements with the April election results.
“We had one person (Tony Morris) file before the break for the election,” Wheeler said. “We are looking for high-quality candidates who would like to run for the positions and we appreciate all who apply.
“This is an important time for the district,” Wheeler added. “The board represents a great community and district.”
Wheeler commented that it was not uncommon to have candidates apply on the last day of filing for any seat on a school board.
The filing deadline closes at 4:45 p.m. Jan. 19. Knob Noster board members are elected to three-year terms.
Wheeler was hired this year by the district and has five years experience in other districts as a superintendent.
When asked if he planned to apply for the position of superintendent in the Knob Noster District, Wheeler commented that there was not a position open to apply for and referred to the press release supplied by the district.
“Dr. Lorenz is on paid leave,” Wheeler said. “We don’t have a vacancy in the district for a superintendent and I truly can’t comment on the matter other than the press release.
“I have only been in the district for six months and I will say that I am quite fond of the community,” Wheeler said. “I think I work well with the board and I feel the trajectory of the district is positive.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484