Details are beginning to emerge about the resignation of one of Camdenton school district's top officials, sources close to the situation are raising concerns about the actions and motives of some members of the board.
According to those sources, there are worries that the resignation of Dr. Brian Henry may be the first of other top administrators and teachers who are finding themselves exasperated with the actions of three of the seven members of the Camdenton Board of Education.
Sources described the district as being at a crossroads and at risk for losing other talented educators who have played a role in the district's growth and its recognition as one of the top schools in the state.
At the root of the problem are allegations that three of the school board members, Laura Martin, John Beckett and Jim Besancenez, have formed an alliance that has become counter-productive. Allegations of "micro-managing" administrators through frequent emails and meetings came from multiple sources. The time spent responding to these correspondence is allegedly interfering with the day to day operations of running the district.
When the Lake Sun inquired, school officials declined to comment on the number of emails they receive in a typical week from board members. However, one source said that administrators and board members typically received dozens of emails from Martin in the week prior to a board meeting, some totaled over ten pages long filled with questions and comments. The Lake Sun will be filing a Missouri Sunshine Law request for correspondence with school board members.
Martin, Beckett and Besancenez voted against renewing Henry's contract earlier this year.
Henry is in charge of academic services. Martin, Beckett and Besancenez do not support many of the district's initiatives, including the Core Curriculum and the use of federal grant money for some local programs. The most recent opposition by the three was the Race to the Top grant the district applied for earlier this fall.
Martin has been the most outspoken of the three members, describing herself as the "Sunshine Seeker" Martin could not be reached by phone for comment. The number listed in the phone book for Steve and Laura Martin had been disconnected. In an email, Martin said "I do not wish to offer any comment on Dr. Henry's resignation. Should I change my mind, I have your number."
School Board President Nancy Masterson and Besancenez's seats on the board are up for election in April. Masterson and Besancenez have filed for re-election. Darin Keim has also filed to run for the Camdenton School Board.
School board members are elected at large.
The remaining school board members are vice president Chris McElyea, treasurer Selynn Barbour and Jackie Schulte.
The Camdenton school district is the largest in the three counties surrounding the Lake of the Ozarks. Their current enrollment is approximately 4,000 students.