The Northeastern School Board will have to find someone to lead the district after it voted during a meeting Monday not to renew Superintendent Jody Nace's contact.
They will also likely have to search for a new board member after Albert Byrnes submitted his letter of resignation after urging fellow members to keep Nace on as superintendent.
Board members voted 6-3 not to renew Nace's contract, which expires June 30. They were mum as to why the longtime district employee's contract wasn't renewed.
Citing a "personnel issue," Margie Walker, the board president, said she couldn't talk about what prompted the vote.
In a statement released by Nace, the superintendent said board members didn't tell her why the motion to not renew her contract was made.
"A representative of the board has shared with me they are simply exercising their right to not renew my contract and there is no investigation being conducted for any wrongdoing on my part," the statement says. "No other reason for their action has been provided to me, nor are they obligated to do so."
Vote: Walker, Vanessa Snell, Linda Morningstar, William Gingerich, Kevin Gebhart and Mike Redding voted for the nonrenewal motion. Byrnes, Christine Hess and Chris Neiman voted against the motion.
Nace began working for the district in 2003 as principal of Spring Forge Intermediate School and was promoted to assistant superintendent in 2007. In 2010, she was named superintendent and given a three-year contract.
The Cumberland County native holds a doctorate in education from Immaculata University in Philadelphia.
Nace said in the statement that she will continue to serve the district through the remainder of the school year and will work with the board to "assist in a smooth transition to a new superintendent."
Resignation: The board will also likely loose one of its own. Byrnes, a supporter of Nace, submitted his letter of resignation at end of the meeting. The board did not vote whether to accept it or not.
Before he turned in his letter of resignation, Byrnes told the board, quoting William Shakespeare's "Hamlet," "This above all: to thine own self be true."
If the board accepts the letter of resignation at its next meeting, slated for Dec. 3, it would have to start a search for a new board member to fill part of Byrnes' term, said Greg Gettle, the district solicitor.
Support: Byrnes advocated for Nace, saying that her contract should be renewed, before the board voted.
"This motion is very wrong," he said. "With our faculty, trust will be destroyed."
He added that the search for a new superintendent will be costly for the district, which faced a $3.3 million budget shortfall last year.
Many of those in attendance in the packed meeting applauded Byrnes' remarks.
Parents of students and former students also voiced their support of Nace, urging the board to renew her contract.
David Darrah said the motion to not renew Nace's contract caught him, and other members of the community, off guard.
"Retain Dr. Nace ... keep the district moving forward," Darrah said.
As the cash-strapped district was facing a budget shortfall last year, Nace made tough decisions while keeping the students in the forefront of her mind, said Teresa Wilson. "She leads with heart but lets her wise mind make the final discussions," Wilson said.
- Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.