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Bureau Valley approves separation agreement with Lawson

Former superintendent's last day was Friday; Harper named interim superintendent

Eric Lawson
Former superintendent, Bureau Valley School District
Eric Lawson Former superintendent, Bureau Valley School District

MANLIUS — The Bureau Valley School Board on Tuesday approved a separation agreement with its former superintendent, Eric Lawson.

His last day at the district was on Friday.

After a unanimous vote from the board to enter into the agreement, Board President Don King read a prepared statement on behalf of Lawson.

"In making this decision, there were two very important items that I took into consideration," Lawson stated. "My children/family and my personal health. I truly enjoyed the superintendent position and personally felt Bureau Valley was in a good place although stressful situations became too much and detrimental for my personal well-being. Having not been able to truly commit my time and energy to my children also weighed heavily on my mind."

Since 2008, Lawson served the school district in many capacities. He worked his way up the ladder — from assistant principal/athletic director to high school principal to assistant superintendent and finally superintendent in 2017.

"For the first time in over 12 years, I made a decision to focus on me. I have sacrificed a lot of time and energy for this district that I truly felt made an impact on so many. I have hired many great staff members and built many long lasting relationships with students over the years. I define my success as an administrator at BV not by what I accomplished in many capacities but the relationships I have built and the lives I have impacted," Lawson stated.

"I hope that there is a unified commitment across the district someday which will allow students endless success. I hope that all agendas are put to the side and the leadership of this district transforms their role into that of Unity — Excellence — Pride, which has been the Bureau Valley motto since day one."

After reading the statement, King thanked Lawson for all his years at Bureau Valley.

"He'd been here a long time and had done many good things," he said.

The board voted 7-0 to appoint Amber Harper as the district's interim superintendent.

Harper is no stranger to Bureau Valley. She was hired as the district's grant administrator in 2017. She was the Leepertown School District's superintendent in Bureau for nine years before it underwent consolidation with Ladd Community Consolidated School District in 2012. Before working at Leepertown, Harper was an administrator at Bureau Valley North.

King confirmed the board will immediately begin its search for a new superintendent. He said there's been interest in the position, and he's hopeful that it will be filled during the board's regular meeting in May.

King also gave thanks to BV South/Wyanet Principal Kristal LeRette, whose resignation was also approved by the board Tuesday. LeRette's resignation is effective at the end of the school year. She's been with the district seven years.

LeRette said she looks forward to spending more time with family after stepping down from her administrator role. She has accepted a teaching position at the Bureau Educational Support Team (BEST) school in Tiskilwa.

Tenure approval granted, other action taken

Also on Tuesday, the Bureau Valley School Board:

• Approved tenure for six teachers, effective at the end of the school year. Those teachers are Caitlyn DeMay, Sheri Litherland, Philip Przybyla, Laurie Shipp, Daniel Sinclair and Sarah Tracey.

• Approved the dismissal of Parker Lindeland as BV head mechanic and the transfer of Cody Gibson from assistant mechanic to head mechanic.

• Approved the closure of Bureau Valley South in Buda, effective June 30. In a separate vote, the board approved naming the new building addition at the high school campus, the Bureau Valley Elementary and Junior High School, effective July 1. The new addition will house grades 3-8 from Buda.

• Approved adding junior high girls softball next school year. The sport will be played during the fall semester.

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