New Hanover County, NC - At an impromptu press conference after the special meeting of the New Hanover County Board of Education meeting today, the Board announced the separation from superintendent Tim Markley, effective immediately.
“Today, the school board has approved a resignation and separation agreement for Dr. Tim Markley,” said Board of Education Chairperson Lisa Estep. “The Board believes that separating from Dr. Markley is the best solution to move this system forward.”
A severance of $195,000, plus $32,966.66 in earned benefits and accrued leave as required by state law, will be paid to end the contract. The agreement and severance ensures a quick separation, avoiding future court proceedings or additional legal fees.
Dr. LaChawn Smith will continue to serve as the system’s deputy superintendent. The Board will meet next week to determine steps in naming an interim superintendent.
New Hanover County Schools also announced that Peter Frank has been suspended without pay as of January 29. State law dictates a specific process for dismissing a teacher with career status and that process will take a few weeks.
New Hanover County Schools has met with the Sheriff’s Office and county officials to begin using additional support and resources made available by the Board of Commissioners Monday, including two investigators for concerns related to Title IX, harassment and bullying, as well as an assistant for recording and filing of all complaints.
The school system has also requested funding to add cameras for increased surveillance of school hallways, corridors and stairwells.
Efforts to increase awareness and prevent misconduct, as well as access to 24-hour anonymous reporting of complaints and concerns are ongoing:
The Ethix360 online reporting form and the Say Something app allows students, parents and teachers to report any and all concerns. These reporting mechanisms have been rolled out over the last several months and provide tracking and accountability, ensuring all complaints and concerns are addressed and handled quickly and consistently.
“Darkness to Light” training for staff helps prevent, recognize and react responsibly to childhood sexual abuse. Approximately 400 staff have been trained already, and all staff who interact with students will be trained by the start of next school year.
“Shifting Boundaries” for grades six through nine will help students understand boundaries and behaviors that are not acceptable.
“Bringing in the Bystander” for grades 10 through 12 will bring awareness to the realities of relationship abuse and sexual assault, and how as a bystander you can help create a healthier community and support your peers.
Education for Kindergarten through fifth graders will be implemented in partnership with the Carousel Center.
The New Hanover County Board of Education and New Hanover County Schools are committed to ensuring a safe space for students, comfort to their parents and a safe working environment for our teachers and staff. To view a copy of the Chairperson’s full statement, click here.