(UPDATED) High school board to discuss censuring trustee Campbell
The Nevada Joint Union High School District Board of Trustees on Wednesday will consider publicly denouncing the behavior of one of its members as failing to meet “the standards of conduct and ethics expected of an elected official of the district,” according to a proposed resolution on the meeting’s agenda.
Board members will discuss censuring Trustee Linda Campbell, who was elected to the board in 2014, during the open session portion of Wednesday’s special board meeting, which is set for 6 p.m. at Silver Springs High School.
If the resolution passes with a majority vote, it would serve as a clear statement that the board views Campbell’s behavior during several recent incidents as “inconsiderate, unprofessional, argumentative, accusatory” and in violation of many of the board’s bylaws, according to the resolution.
The motion was put on the agenda by board Vice President Jim Adams in one of his last acts as a trustee; in August, he announced he would be relocating out of his trustee area and would be resigning from the board effective Sept. 30.
“We have to make sure that the community knows that there is appropriate behavior by which we’re going to abide,” said Adams.
Adams said he felt compelled to put the item on the meeting’s agenda after a recent complaint the district received from Erica Crane, the principal of Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning, a public charter school authorized by the high school district.
Crane attended the district’s Sept. 9 regular board meeting, where she presented a report on the program’s 2014-2015 school year as well as information about the school’s charter renewal petition; SAEL’s current charter expires in June 2016.
A few days later, Crane notified the district that Campbell approached her on Sept 10. “in an extremely agitated, aggressive and negative manner,” making claims that SAEL’s “data and financials were bad” and “its accreditation invalid” while also disparaging Crane’s preliminary administrative certification, according to information within the resolution and in a letter written by Crane to the board and district Superintendent Louise Johnson.
In her letter, Crane said Alex Ezzell, the president of SAEL’s Board of Trustees, was also present for the confrontation. Crane wrote she was “taken aback” by the tone of Campbell’s “unsolicited feedback.”
Crane declined to comment further on the letter she wrote to the board.
The resolution up for board consideration Wednesday draws attention to other incidents involving Campbell:
— On June 30, The Union reported that the Nevada County Tea Party had received an email containing epithets regarding the group’s presence at the Grass Valley Fourth of July parade, prompting the county Tea Party to contact the Grass Valley Police Department.
The email came from MAW Campbell, who was eventually identified as Linda Campbell; in July, Campbell issued a public apology in The Union, saying she regretted sending the email because it did not reflect her true voice.
— On Aug. 12, an article in The Union reported that Campbell stormed out of an Aug. 11 town hall meeting hosted by Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) after voicing her disagreement with some of LaMalfa’s views by shouting he was sharing “propaganda” and “lies.”
The resolution cites a Letter to the Editor published in The Union on Aug. 21 from Grass Valley resident Greg Gibson expressing shock at Campbell’s behavior during the town hall meeting, calling for her resignation and saying “she is completely unfit to direct anything, much less a high school.”
— According to the resolution, Campbell has also been “regularly late for scheduled board meetings without adequate reason.”
The resolution alleges that Campbell’s behavior violates several board bylaws, including the tenets that board members are “expected to govern responsibly and hold themselves to the highest levels of ethical conduct,” should “understand the implications of demeanor and behavior,” and “shall hold the education of students above any partisan principle, group interest or personal interest.”
It was Campbell’s apparent violation of those bylaws that made Adams feel that her actions “can’t go ignored.”
He said the discussion of censure “is a deterrent to a board member to continue to demonstrate behaviors such as tardiness” and “it does show the community that we’re not in favor of it.”
Campbell did not return requests for comment; on Tuesday, board President Katy Schwarz wrote in an email that she has “nothing to report about that (situation) at this time.”
District Superintendent Louise Johnson called the proposed action by the board “a very rare occurrence.”
When asked whether she supported the board discussion around censuring Campbell, Johnson said, “I think it’s a worthy discussion for the board to have but I’m not involved in that in any way. This is a board item.”
In other business at Wednesday’s meeting, the board will hold a public hearing on SAEL’s charter renewal petition, and is expected to approve the hire of two new principals for district schools.
Noah Levinson, a current math teacher at Ghidotti Early College High School and an eight-year employee of the district, has been hired to become a teaching principal at Ghidotti; he will split his time between the classroom and administrative duties.
Michael Hughes, a current teacher at Bear River who has more than 20 years of experience within the district, will assume administrative duties at North Point Academy; he will also split his time between administrative and teaching duties.
Both principal positions were previously held by Melissa Madigan, who in August was named the district’s director of educational and pupil services.
To contact Staff Writer Emily Lavin, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4230.
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