With the start of classes Wednesday, the Green Ridge R-VIII District Board of Education confirmed Superintendent Cara Easter has been placed on administrative leave.
The district released the following statement to the Democrat:
“Regarding the questions of our Superintendent Cara Easter. Mrs. Easter has been placed on paid administrative leave as of Friday, Aug. 19. The Green Ridge R-8 School District does not provide comment regarding confidential personnel manners. The District takes allegations of misconduct by staff members very seriously, investigates them promptly and thoroughly, and addresses them as warranted.”
Green Ridge Board of Education President Barry White spoke to the Democrat by phone Tuesday afternoon.
“We want to assure our students, their families and our patrons that our staff is working very hard to keep a positive atmosphere for our students as they begin the school year (Wednesday),” White said.”We (the board) met with the staff (Monday) and informed them of the decision that was made to place Mrs. Easter on leave.
“This comes at a bad time with classes beginning Wednesday, but the staff is excited to begin the year and their focus is on teaching and the students,” he added.
White could not comment at this time on the reasons for Easter’s leave, stating it is a personnel matter.
The board has named Rachel Hammers, the district’s elementary principal, as interim superintendent, according to White.
“We are working with the Missouri School Board Association, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Missouri Association of Rural Educators to resolve the situation,” White said. “Until this is taken care of we can’t move forward in a permanent decision about the position.”
White added that the district was in good shape, including financially, adding that their reserves were at 35.5 percent.
Easter has been with the district for more than 16 years, serving as a counselor and special education director prior to being named superintendent in 2009, according to information on the district’s website.
Attempts by the Democrat to reach Easter by phone Tuesday for comment were unsuccessful.
The Democrat will update this story as more information becomes available.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.