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Ladue School Board Picks Interim Superintendent

Dr. Judy Sclair, the district's assistant superintendent for human resources will continue in her current role in addition to taking on Ladue's top administrative post.

The Ladue School Board, meeting in closed session Monday night, capped a day full of administrative staff maneuvers by naming an interim superintendent effective January 2, 2013.

Dr. Judy Sclair, the district's assistant superintendent for human resources, will serve as Ladue's sole interim superintendent next semester. Sclair, along with Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Dr. Jason Buckner and Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Dr. Donna Jahnke will rotate those duties for the remainder of 2012.

In September, Dr. Marsha Chappelow announced her intent to retire as Superintendent at the end of the school year. In a news release sent out Friday night, the district announced it had accepted Chappelow's request for a leave of absence.

Over the weekend, a district spokeswoman told Patch the leave was a mutual decision. Monday night, the spokeswoman, Susan Dielmann, told Patch that the board did not ask Dr. Chappelow to make the request, but that it was "a mutual agreement," the "result of a lot of conversation."

"I know people want to read into that," Dielmann added, as she declined to get more specific due to the separation agreement with Dr. Chappelow, which also outlined the district's obligation to pay a full salary and benefits through the rest of the academic year.

Read: Dr. Marsha Chappelow's employment contract with the Ladue School District

Read: The separation agreement between Dr. Chappelow and the Ladue School District 

In a letter sent to the district dated November 29, 2012, Dr. Chappelow cited only "personal considerations" in making the leave request.

“This change in leadership presents an opportunity for positive change, more efficient and streamlined administration, and a sharper student focus," Board President Jayne Langsam said in a district statement. "I believe the wisdom of this decision will become very apparent in the coming weeks and months."

“I am very enthusiastic about taking on this role given our ability to now move forward as a cohesive group," Dr. Sclair said in the statement, which also indicated she would not be a candidate for the full-time position. She will also continue in her HR position and will be paid $10,000 for the additional duties. The district statement said that cost would be offset by not needing to pay professional development and travel costs for Chappelow.

Dielmann said Dr. Chappelow, who will make herself available if necessary to assist in any district transition issues as part of the agreement, would not grant interviews with the media.

According to the separation agreement, the district will write a letter of reference by the middle of December and will pay Dr. Chappelow for 34.75 unused vacation days.

CreveCoeurDad December 04, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Why would anyone who is "retiring" need a letter of reference?
PaulRevere December 04, 2012 at 06:18 PM
There you have it . $10,000? additional district costs--Interim payments. LOA approvals without sufficient explanations? Why didn't Marsha C. Just Retire on 12-1-12? I was right when I wrote elsewhere that this would cost the District more money because LOA start date runs concurrently with Retirement work period. Only in the Public employee union's does that exist. No Private employer would except concurrent LOA & Retirement dates. Active employee status stopped 12-1-12. That is effectively a "Resignation" as of 12-1-12. The cost of this Resignation is bigger than necessary. Another case of wasting Taxpayer Money. Disgruntled employees, I can understand. But, School boards not using "resignation" request powers is Inexcusable.
CreveCoeurDad December 04, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Yes, no unsuccessful CEO has ever used a golden parachute. /sarcasm off
flyoverland December 04, 2012 at 08:34 PM
CEO's successful, or not, do not use taxpayer dollars. It will be interesting to see how this plays out when her agreement and the board minutes are requested under the Sunshine Law. Whether her right to dictate the terms trumps the public's right to know what happened with their dollars? Hopefully, the Post Dispatch or Patch will put their lawyers on this project.
CreveCoeurDad December 04, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Make no mistake, I'm not defending the board's action in the least. I was just pointing out that contrary to PaulRevere's comment, it happens in private industry as well. The fact that it's private dollars does not make it any less wrong - failure should be failure, not an excuse for a well paid vacation. The problem lies in the fact that she was under contract and it was probably cheaper to pay her the remainder of the contract rather than to fight her and try to terminate her, all things considered. Perhaps the best option was to pay her but publicly state the reason for her early dismissal - but then there are possible repercussions for that as well. I agree that someone should attempt to open this up - good government demands it. Hiding under privacy and personnel issue covers should be unacceptable to everyone but the parties involved, who obviously have things to hide.
PaulRevere December 04, 2012 at 09:41 PM
CreveDad Any CEO's agreements are "stockholder" concern's. (not Ladue district concerns) Retirement's and Golden Parachute's are 180 degrees apart. Golden's have separate negotiated contracts. Are you aware of some secret side contract here? Marsha had an Employment contract. I would think The board had no right to change those terms after the Retirement date was accepted. That would be mis-direction of taxpayer funds. Boards have "FIDUCIARY" duties to follow the terms of all contracts within the "Taxpayer's Interest First". (Not the employee's interest). Either, she was asked to Resign or her employment was involuntarily severed., It can't be both. It is totally not in the taxpayer interest to accept a LOA AFTER the Reirement date was approved. LOAbsence running concurrently with an Approved Retirement Date is actually allowing a "mutually agreed" disguised resignation (with Pay). That's crucial!! This decision shows the behind doors "union fixes" while spending a mentality of "monopoly money." A LOabsence requires specific reasons for acceptance. A precedent has been set. Any employee could now expect any "personal reason" approvals for a LOA request. (with seemingly no questions board approval) Is that the precedent Taxpayers in Ladue want their Board to set.? I don't take your comments as "sarcasm", I do detect your inability to distinguish a major difference in Public Corporations Pay structure vs Public employee guaranteed contracts.
CreveCoeurDad December 04, 2012 at 10:12 PM
They are two sides of the same coin that those at the top play - heads they win, tails we (the taxpayer or the stockholder) lose.

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