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Principal's Status To Be Addressed

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Superintendent, Board of Education Meeting Wednesday Night

By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

The status of Glenwood Community High School Principal Kerry Newman, who has been on paid leave since Jan. 18, was among the topics of discussion Monday in a meeting between Glenwood Superintendent Devin Embray and school board President Theresa Romens.

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    Newman was placed on indefinite paid administrative leave nearly three weeks ago as Embray, with the assistance of the district’s legal counsel, conducted an in-house investigation of the principal. Embray has repeatedly  declined to give the reason for Newman’s leave or what prompted the inquiry.
    Newman has declined comment.
    Embray said in a Monday interview he and Romens discussed Newman’s status earlier that day and a meeting has been set for Wednesday (Feb. 6) to meet with the remaining members of the school board and the district’s counsel. The closed-session meeting will be held at the district’s central office and begin at 8:15 p.m.
    Embray is expected to give his recommendation to the board concerning Newman’s job status at that meeting.
    “This is just a first step in a process,” Embray said. “The investigation is wrapped up and it’s time to discuss it with the board. I will give my recommendation and the board will decide what to do with the advice of counsel.”
    When reached prior to her Monday afternoon meeting with Embray, Romens said she was of the understanding the investigation was complete.
    Romens said she, like the other four board members, was informed by phone Jan. 18 by Embray that Newman was being placed on paid leave while Embray investigated but was given no reason why.
    “He said that there had been some information brought forward and there needed to be an investigation and would we support that effort,” Romens said. “We said we have to find out what the facts are.”
    Other than the phone call, Romens said she had no discussions with Embray concerning Newman prior to Monday’s meeting.
    “We had a work session last Monday, a hearing on some soccer lights, and basically we were told the protocol of what would happen,” Romens said. “That we would each individually be contacted with that information and then we would go into a closed session and meet with the lawyers and see what the strategy is.”
    With Newman’s absence from school entering it’s third week, questions remain on what prompted Embray’s action and just how Newman’s long-term status in the district might be impacted. Romens isn’t concerned with the length of the investigation and said she has faith Embray has conducted a thorough, fair investigation.
    “I know they are trying to do their due diligence to that work to allow them enough time,” Romens said. “I hate to rush through something like this. If it is that serious, then I think that everybody needs to take the time they need and let the process complete itself.”
    The board president says there’s no reason to question Embray’s leadership or his handling of the situation.
    “I think Devin’s leadership has been very well respected and supported by the board,” Romens said. “I think he has high ethics and moral standing. I think that’s attributed to his leadership.”
    Embray admitted the investigation has taken longer than he anticipated and that may have impacted the district’s reputation.
    “I think the situation in and of itself is a negative to the district and you’re just hopeful that you can work through it for the sake of our kids,” Embray said.