COVINGTON — A top school official and a high school principal are leaving the Newton County School System this week.
“In a settlement between the parties, the Newton County Board of Education has reached agreement with Dennis Carpenter, deputy superintendent for Operations, and LaQuanda Carpenter, principal of Alcovy High School, releasing each of them from their respective contracts effective at the end of the work day on Feb. 1, 2013, for Dr. Dennis Carpenter and effective at the end of the work day on Jan. 31, 2013, for Dr. LaQuanda Carpenter,” according to Sherri Davis-Viniard, director of Public Relations for NCSS, in a news alert Wednesday afternoon.
NCSS would not respond Wednesday to a question of whether the settlement cost anything of the system, saying it was a personnel matter and no additional information beyond what was in the alert will be released. The Citizen has submitted an open records request for information about the settlement.
“Both a majority of board members and the Carpenters feel it is in the best interest of the school system and their respective persons to sever the current employment relationship so that the system can begin the process of seeking their replacements and each of them can focus on their move to Missouri,” said Newton County BOE Chair Abigail Coggin in the alert.
In December, the Hickman Mills C-1 Board of Directors in Kansas City, Mo., finalized an agreement with Dennis Carpenter to begin as the district’s new superintendent effective July 1.
Dennis Carpenter has been with NCSS since February 2008, when he was hired as associate superintendent for Human Resources. LaQuanda Carpenter has been principal at Alcovy High School since 2009; she has been on maternity leave since November.
Coggin said the issue was a personnel matter, and the board’s policy is that personnel matters are addressed by BOE members during executive session and voted on during open session. The board next meets at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 in the Newton County BOE building, which is located at 2109 Newton Drive N.E. in Covington.
In October, LaQuanda Carpenter withdrew a pending lawsuit against Newton County Board of Education Vice Chairman Jeff Meadors in an effort to end divisiveness in the community. She originally had filed a defamation suit in April naming 11 “John Does” who commented about her on the Newton Citizen website; she later added Meadors and dismissed the others.
NCSS has not yet begun to advertise for either position.