Salt Lake City schools Superintendent Timothy Gadson III has resigned from his post effective Oct. 1, but he will stay on with the district until next summer as a consultant, according to a joint statement from him and school board members.
District spokesperson Yándary Chatwin said the district will not know what Gadson’s new salary will be as a consultant until an agreement is final. He will continue in that position through the length of his original two-year contract, through June 2023.
Gadson, the first Black superintendent of the Salt Lake City School District, will be taking personal time off next week while an agreement is finalized. His salary as superintendent was $220,000 a year.
“Notwithstanding public speculation to the contrary, there has been no finding of any wrongdoing on the part of Dr. Gadson and no violation of law by either Dr. Gadson or the Salt Lake City School Board,” the statement said.
After several months of complaints and investigations, the board’s acceptance of Gadson’s resignation comes a little more than a year after he started.
The board first met in closed session Friday in the district’s temporary office, where loud white noise is played in the lobby to prevent attendees from listening in, before voting publicly to ratify a memorandum of understanding with Gadson.
Vice President Nate Salazar motioned that the board, “ratify the memorandum of understanding between the board and Dr. Gadson as agreed to in mediation,” which happened Wednesday, Chatwin said.
The district will not release that document, Chatwin said, but the settlement between the board and Gadson will be released. The board’s attorney will draft a final settlement, Chatwin said, which she estimated will be released next week.
Chatwin said she did not know if an interim superintendent will be appointed after Oct. 1, but noted that the district’s business administrator, Alan Kearsley, will continue in his role as the temporary leader while Gadson takes his personal leave.
Board member Mohamed Baayd seconded Salazar’s motion, which was unanimously approved by all seven board members. There was no discussion for the motion, and no scheduled time for public comment in the meeting.
President Melissa Ford thanked the board and district employees and said she “recognized the effort from both parties to participate in mediation.” Ford then concluded the meeting and the board members left.
All seven members of the board attended in person, including Katherine Kennedy, who posted on social media weeks ago about moving to Massachusetts to further her education at Harvard University.
Jeanetta Williams, president of the Salt Lake City Branch of the NAACP, has asked Kennedy to resign, but Kennedy has said her primary residence is still Salt Lake City and she remains qualified to hold her seat.
Williams has also asked the U.S. attorney’s office and the Department of Justice to launch an investigation into alleged discrimination and harassment of Gadson by the school board.
There were few parents in attendance Friday, as mostly journalists, a few employees and Williams made up the crowd. The lone agenda item for the meeting was the memorandum.
Gadson requested mediation after the board placed him on administrative leave in July. Board members offered to buy out the second year of his contract in exchange for his resignation. He was hired to replace Lexi Cunningham — who resigned but was actually pushed out, according to a former board member — in 2021.
A trip Gadson took to private religious Grand Canyon University in Arizona in January, concerns from parents and others about several of his administrator hires, and responses to an employee survey alleging he has treated district employees disrespectfully have caused the board to question his standing, The Salt Lake Tribune has reported.
However, his defenders have pointed to missteps by the district’s human resources department and argued that racism is behind many of the complaints.
Board member Mohamed Baayd has said that while Gadson “is not an angel,” the board made little effort to coach him through his mistakes. Instead, he said, officials and board members started building a plan to move on from him well before the trip to Grand Canyon University.
TEXT OF JOINT STATEMENT
Dr. Timothy Gadson asked the Board to accept his resignation from the position of Superintendent of the Salt Lake City School District, effective October 1st, citing personal reasons.
While the Board agreed to accept his resignation, it has asked Dr. Gadson to remain on in the capacity of a consultant through the term of his contract, and Dr. Gadson has agreed to do so.
He will be taking personal time next week while the parties finalize their agreement.
Notwithstanding public speculation to the contrary, there has been no finding of any wrongdoing on the part of Dr. Gadson and no violation of law by either Dr. Gadson or the Salt Lake City School Board.