Saturday, September 22, 2018

Stilley among 6 finalists; Kolwe offered money to leave early

Stilley among 6 finalists; Kolwe offered money to leave early
Posted: May 15, 2018
Categories: Front Page, Headlines
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AMITE---Six applicants will vie for the parish’s top education position while the sun sets on the career of Tangipahoa’s longest-serving School Superintendent in modern history.

Tuesday night, the Tangipahoa Parish School Board named six finalists in their quest to replace longtime School Superintendent Mark Kolwe. The finalists are Kevin Brown, Denise Carpenter, Victoria Miles, Carlos Sam, Melissa Stilley, and Karen Tutor.

None of the six are employees of the Tangipahoa Parish School System. Only Melissa Stilley has worked in the TPSS--albeit six years ago, and she is the only Tangipahoa resident in the running at this time.

The six candidates will be interviewed in closed session during interviews with the Board on May 23-24. Those interviews will be posted for the public at a later date, the board agreed Tuesday night.

From there, the Board is expected to finalize their applicants down to a single choice for their next Superintendent. That decision is expected in early June, according to a timetable established earlier this year by the Board with their search consultants.

In the meantime, the Board voted 8-1 Tuesday night to approve a “settlement and severance agreement” that will buy out Kolwe’s contract later this week. Under terms of the agreement that were leaked to media this week, “[b]oth the board and Superintendent desire to sever their employment relationship prior to the contract’s expiration date. The Superintendent is expressly amenable to the early termination of his contract,” which was scheduled to end at the close of June.

Under the terms of the agreement approved Tuesday night, Kolwe will tender his resignation on or before Friday, May 18, and the Board will accept that resignation. Kolwe will still help the board in their search for his replacement, and he agrees to “cooperate fully and completely in the defense of any pending lawsuit or claims arising out of facts or events occurring during his employment as Superintendent.”

In exchange, Kolwe will receive his full pay pursuant to his existing contract through June 30. He will also receive his car and phone allowances and any insurance contribution the district would have regularly made. He will also receive payment for all accumulated annual leave time plus any leave he would have earned by the end of his contract. Finally. The board will pay him an additional 40 days calculated at his current salary and benefits package, as part of the severance.

The board also reserves the right to name an acting superintendent effective May 16.

Only board member Tom Tolar objected to the settlement agreement. Tolar’s argument was that the existing leadership team should remain in place until a new Superintendent is named.