The Barbour County School system is looking for a superintendent ... again. Dr. Matthew Alexander Jr. announced his resignation during the recent Barbour County School Board of Education meeting that was held via Zoom on Tuesday, July 14.
Before the board meeting was even called to order on Tuesday, board member Johnnie Helms asked for everyone’s attention and then announced her resignation from the board effective immediately after which she exited the meeting. She reportedly said that she felt that the person that won the runoff election that was held that day would do a good job in her position. The runoff election yielded Jean Kennedy as the winner of the District Four Barbour County Board of Education place winner.
With just minutes to go before the meeting was to start on Zoom, a revised agenda was sent out from the board announcing the intent of Alexander to resign from the superintendent’s position on or before July 14, effective July 31. Approval of Alexander’s resignation was approved by the remaining board members with the exception of Jimmie Fryer, who said the he was muted during the meeting to keep his voice from being heard.
Just last month Alexander touted his accomplishments since signing on in 2017 with the county school system. He had even bragged that it was “hard to believe that I am finishing up on my third year as Superintendent her in Barbour County. Starting July 1, I will make history by being the first Superintendent out of the last four superintendents to have the pleasure of serving as beyond a three year contractual period.” He went on during the June meeting to say that he had a minimum of four years left on his contract with the county school system.
According to the mutual separation and release agreement that was approved of by board members Shirley Johnson, Jacqueline Davis, and Ruby Jackson during the meeting, Alexander will walk away with a hefty sum of money from the school system. As per the agreement, “The employee (Alexander) shall be paid at his current base salary rate and receive all benefits as provided in his Superintendent’s Contract for Employment which was approved by the board on June 27, 2019.
“The employee shall be paid as full and complete severance pay the amount of $270,400.00, which is the sum of 24 months of the remaining 47 months on his current contract base salary and vacation leave, calculated at $10,400 per month.”
Alexander will receive the severance in payments consisting of $20,800 on or before July 31, with consecutive equal payments starting next month in August and running through July 2024 of $5,200 per month for the 48 month period.
Also included in the agreement is a non-disparagement clause which states “The parties, employee and the Board, including the individual current members (Shirley Johnson, Jacqueline Davis, Ruby Jackson, Johnnie Helms, and Jimmie Fryer) agree they shall refrain from expressing any negative, disparaging libelous or slanderous statements, verbally or in writing about each other personally or professionally regarding any matter whatsoever and specifically the employee’s tenure as Superintendent and Executive Secretary to the Board. This clause is not meant to prevent the Parties from testifying if subpoenaed by either a court of law or administrative body.”
Other clauses included in the agreement include a Cooperation clause which reads “The Employee hereby acknowledges there have been legal, financial, and administrative matters which arose during his tenure as Superintendent of the Barbour County Board of Education, and actions related to such matters may be initiated in the future. The Employee hereby agrees to cooperate and assist, to the fullest extent possible, the Board and its counsel in either the defense or prosecution of actions related to matters (legal, financial or administrative in nature) which arose during the Employee’s tenure as Superintendent of the Barbour County Board of Education.
A Release Clause was included in the agreement in which the employee and the Board agree to “release and do hereby mutually release, waive and forever discharge the other Party from any and all asserted and unasserted complaints, claims, demands, liabilities, disputes, lawsuits, judgments, obligations, damages, actions, and causes of actions, whether known, unknown or unforeseen, arising out of or in connection with any event, transaction or matter occurring or existing prior to or at the time of the execution of this Agreement, which either Party may have against the other Party for any reason.”
As of press time, an interim superintendent for the county school system had not been named.
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