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CCS Hires Interim Superintendent, Places Two Administrators On Leave

Nov 22, 2017

John Stanford
Credit WCBE files

The Columbus School board last night took a step forward, appointing an interim superintendent.

And without looking back, took steps to put the district's data rigging scandal in the past.  Alison Holm has more.

The board last night unanimously approved appointing Deputy Superintendent John Stanford to temporarily take over the district’s top spot when Dan Good steps down at the end of the year. Stanford says there are several tasks immediately at hand.

 

“The budget being one of those things that we’re going to have to, as a team, come together and work with this board of education to put the best budget together that we can. And so, in these next few weeks we are going to be focused on that. We also have an obligation to make sure that our kids are going to be ready for the state assessments.”

 

Stanford, who will receive an increased per diem on top of his existing salary, says he is still considering whether to apply for the permanent position.

 

The board also unanimously approved but without comment a 30-day leave of absence for Alesia Gillison, the district’s chief academic officer. Gillison’s educator license was temporarily suspended for her role in the district’s data rigging scandal. As a then high school principal, Gillison illegally withdrew students from the schools roster, to make the school, and the districts state report card look better. Gillison must take ethics training and perform community service in addition to the unpaid leave. Another administrator caught up in the investigation, Bao Lan, will take a similar leave to serve out the 30-day suspension period this summer.

 

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The board also voted to restore a ban on religious songs at graduations.  The ban was put in place after a 2002 lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union charged the inclusion of Christian music discriminated against students of other faiths.  Michael Vander Does  is among those who brought the original lawsuit.

Board President Gary Baker says the ban and accompanying guidance on using religious music in classes was inadvertently omitted when the district updated its policies two years ago.