Utah NAACP president wants Salt Lake City school board member who moved to resign

Katherine Kennedy has said she consulted the school board attorney and is maintaining her primary residence in Salt Lake City.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake City School District Board member Katherine Kennedy appears virtually at a meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022.

The president of Utah’s chapter of the NAACP wants a member of the Salt Lake City school board to resign immediately, asserting she moved out of state and is no longer qualified to hold her position.

Jeanetta Williams sent a letter to the school board president saying that Katherine Kennedy “has moved out of her district and out of state and refuses to resign.” Williams said she has contacted the Utah attorney general’s office, which is “pausing review in order that appropriate action can be taken” by the school board.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Jeanetta Williams, president of the NAACP’s Salt Lake chapter, speaks at a meeting of the Salt Lake City School District Board on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022.

In a July 6 Facebook post that has since been deleted, Kennedy wrote, “Yes, we’re moving to Massachusetts. Next week, I’ll start a year-long mid-career MPA at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.” She later posted and texted about being in Massachusetts, and her Salt Lake City home has been listed for sale for almost eight weeks.

“It is very clear that this board seat is vacant and should be declared as such and filled by the process outlined by state statute,” Williams wrote.

However, Kennedy wrote in her Facebook post that she had “consulted the Salt Lake City School Board attorney” and that she plans to stay on the school board “until my terms ends in December.” It ends on Dec. 31. She has attended school board meetings remotely since she began attending classes at Harvard.

In a statement sent to KUTV-Channel 2, Kennedy said she remains a registered voter in the district she represents and that she maintains her “primary residence” there. She also said there are “several other elected officials” in the same program — officials from Colorado, Hawaii, Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Ukraine. And, she wrote, when she informed members of community councils in her district of her plans, “those who commented thought that what I was doing would enhance my role as a school board member.”

In June, Williams called for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate alleged discrimination and harassment by the Salt Lake City school board after the district’s first-ever Black superintendent, Timothy Gadson III, was placed on leave amid allegations of ethical violations and unprofessional behavior.

Read more: As Salt Lake City moves to shed its first Black school superintendent, a look at what went wrong