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GIRARD Schools chief resigns abruptly



Published: Sun, May 12, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



A resignation letter cites personal reasons for Shoaf's sudden departure.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

GIRARD -- Girard school officials will be scrambling this week to find someone to take over operation of the district.

That's because Superintendent Joseph Shoaf has resigned unexpectedly and without explanation.

"He just said he was sorry to let me down and to let the district down by leaving so suddenly like this," Jamie DeVore, school board president, said Saturday.

DeVore said he was stunned when Shoaf handed him a brief handwritten letter of resignation Friday evening. The letter cites personal reasons for Shoaf's action, but gives no explanation, DeVore said.

Leaving immediately

The resignation was effective immediately.

Shoaf, of Cortland, could not be reached. He had been superintendenta little more than nine months and previously served as principal of Girard Junior High School.

DeVore said the individual building principals and the district treasurer will handle daily business as much as possible, but the school board will have to act swiftly to name an interim superintendent.

That should be done within a week, though DeVore had no idea Saturday who will be named.

No one in the district has the required credentials to serve in that capacity, he said.

"I am at a total loss right now," he said.

Shoaf and the school board had been embroiled in controversy since last year when pupils and staff at Girard Intermediate School began getting sick. The school has been closed while work is done to correct the problems with carpeting and the ventilation system.

Several parents criticized the board for not informing them about reported health problems at the school. A lawsuit against the board over the health issues is pending in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

Even though that situation has been stressful, DeVore said, he would be surprised if it's the reason for Shoaf's sudden departure.

"We just got a clean bill of health from the health department," he said. "We were moving forward."

Levy renewed

That, coupled with the fact that district voters renewed a 4-mill operating levy in Tuesday's election, seemed to indicate that everything was positive, DeVore said.

He said the board had no complaints about Shoaf's work, and he was unaware of any other problems or situations that might have caused Shoaf to step down.

"He worked diligently," DeVore said. "I truly do not know why this happened."

bjackson@vindy.com




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