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Raymond superintendent, on leave since September, resigns

RAYMOND - As part of an agreement with the local school board, Superintendent Jeannie Richards has resigned from the school district effective June 30 to pursue other educational and professional options.

The agreement was reached with the school board on Jan. 2, said Richards, who declined to comment further, stating that it was a "confidential separation agreement."

She said that it is not a termination.

Richards has been with the district since June 2008 and signed a five-year renewal agreement with the board on Jan. 14, 2011, that was set to expire on June 30, 2014.

Richards' salary for the 2012-2013 school year is $120,253.

Other questions pertaining to the contract posed to the SAU 33 office were deferred to School Board Chairman John Stewart, who did not return calls seeking comment by press time on Friday.

Richards was placed on paid administrative leave by the school board in September with no further explanation.

The board has declined to comment further on their reasons for placing Richards on leave, including whether it has anything to do with a $1 million lawsuit filed against the school district in October, 2011, in which Richards, Raymond High School Principal Kirk Beitler and Assistant Principal Jayme Rodriguez are named as parties.

The suit was filed by the parent of a 16-year-old former Raymond High School student who was found by a Department of Education Office of Civil Rights investigation to have been racially harassed over an entire school year.

The district is being monitored by the Office of Civil Rights through 2014, while instituting new training and policies around racial harassment to help prevent future cases.

The federal civil case has not yet gone to court.

During a September school board meeting, members of the public were mixed on their response to the board's decision to place Richards on leave.

In a letter to the board, resident Tom O'Neill said there needs to be more transparency regarding the board's reasons for the suspension and to show there are no personal vendettas involved.

When one resident asked Stewart the reasons for Richards' suspension, he said he had "no comment" at the time because they were still in negotiations about the superintendent.

At that September meeting, former Raymond resident Nick Cenatiempo said the board made the right decision in terms of Richards.

"You have made a decision that is going to save this town many, many dollars and many, many other lawsuits, which I'm not sure you guys are aware of," Cenatiempo said.

The matter has not been discussed publicly by the board since September, according to meeting minutes.

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Gretyl Macalaster may be reached at

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