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.