BELLVILLE — The Clear Fork Valley Local School District Monday did not renew the contract of an administrator accused of using teacher’s signatures without their knowledge on evaluation forms.

The board chose not to renew the employment of Bellville Elementary principal Kirsten DeVito. DeVito was placed on unpaid leave last September following an investigation that exposed “numerous issues” with teacher evaluations she had prepared. DeVito later requested a hearing and met with the board in executive session.

Stacey Swank, who has served as interim principal of Bellville Elementary since the beginning of the school year, will continue her duties next year as a regular administrator.

In other business, the board authorized three-year administrative contracts for Swank, middle school principal Jennifer Klaus and assistant high school principal Shawn Ramion. The board also approved a two-year administrative contract for district activities director Jeff Gottfried.

“This community doesn’t know how lucky it is to have these people,” Janice Wyckoff, district superintendent, said of Swank, Klaus, Ramion and Gottfried. “They are good souls and I trust them all.”

The board approved various contracts. It will gain four teachers and lose two next school year. Contracts were approved for one year for Joel Vanderzyden (high school intervention specialist), Benjamin McClay (middle school science), Samantha Kline (vocational agriculture) and Michael Maurer (high school math).

Retirement plaques were presented to beloved and longtime staff members Rusty Staab and David Carroll. Both will be retiring from teaching at the end of the school year.

“Dave, you are the heart and blood of the valley. You graduated from here and you represent everything good about the valley,” Wyckoff said.

“If every teacher walked into the classroom like Rusty does every single day, and tells kids how great they are, how special they are and how important they are…every single day, I thank God for both of you,” she added.

Board president Kyle Beveridge opened the meeting by asking those in attendance to observe a moment of silence for Elijah Formhals, a senior who passed away unexpectedly on May 10.

Beveridge also congratulated the staff for another year of service, despite the building transitions that took place late last year.

“There’s not many school districts that could open two new buildings in three weeks,” he said in reference to Bellville and Butler’s elementary schools.

Eleven students were hired to do custodial work for the district during summer break.

“I think it’s one of the better things we do,” said Wyckoff. “It gives the kids a better attitude about the buildings. Once you clean it, you own it.”

The board accepted a resolution to enter into a settlement agreement regarding a pending due process complaint filed by parents in the district on behalf of their child. The complaint, Case No. 3716-2018, is pending with the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Exceptional Children.

The agenda stated that the student and her parent have agreed to dismiss the complaint with prejudice and authorized the superintendent, director of special education and treasurer to carry out and implement the settlement agreement.

Wyckoff declined to comment on the complaint, citing student privacy.

 

Katie Ellington: 740-397-5333 or katie@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @kt_ellington

 

 

 

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