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Interim superintendent named for LR5 as district releases settlement info with Dr. Melton

Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 6:17 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2021 at 11:17 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Tuesday night, Lexington-Richland District Five’s school board named an interim superintendent and released the settlement agreement of its outgoing leader.

The board named Dr. Akil Ross interim LR5 superintendent after roughly 2 hours of executive session.

Ross will begin as interim superintendent on July 1. He is a former Chapin High School Principal and National Association of Secondary Schools Principals (NASSP) 2018 National Principal of the Year.

“District Five is extremely fortunate to have Dr. Ross lead our District. He is a well-respected educational leader throughout the District, state, and our country,” Board Chair Jan Hammond said in a press release. “The entire Board is looking forward to working with Dr. Ross to continue our District’s tradition of excellence.”

Prior to the meeting, the district released its settlement agreement with outgoing LR5 superintendent Dr. Christina Melton.

It states Melton’s final day is June 30, but after the June 19 graduation she will use vacation days.

The settlement shows Melton will be paid $226,368 -- about a year’s worth of her pay -- to terminate her contract two years earlier than expected.

No party in the agreement will be able to discuss the details beyond “the agreement speaks for itself.”

Additionally, the agreement includes a $20,000 fine if either party speaks badly of the other.

The document does not call that money a penalty, but says it’s “an inducement for the parties to enter into this Agreement.”

RELATED | After superintendent’s resignation, LR5 community organizes petition, candlelight vigil

Melton will not have any further recourse as part of the agreement.

Her resignation is described as a mutual decision in the document, but the reasons for it are not listed.

One former board member, who was active at the time of Melton’s resignation, did not sign the settlement and has since spoken out against three other board members.

“The truth is that Mr. Loveless, Ms. Gardner, and Ms. Huddle forced Dr. Melton to resign,” Ed White said in a statement. “I witnessed the hostile and abusive work environment these three created for her that would make it impossible for any Superintendent to succeed.”

READ MORE | Now-former LR5 School Board member calls out board over superintendent resignation

More than 100 pages of documents showing tense communication between board members and Melton were also released by the district Tuesday under the Freedom of Information Act.

The board did not take public comment, but its next regularly scheduled meeting is June 28.

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