Polk school board to vote on fate of its leader

Posted at 4:40 PM, Feb 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-09 17:20:36-05

The Polk County School Board is holding a special meeting Friday evening to decide the fate of its leader, Superintendent Kathryn LeRoy.

Tuesday morning, three board members said they have lost confidence in LeRoy's leadership. They made the comments during the board's first meeting since the internal investigation into LeRoy was made public.

"I think it's a crying shame that we are sitting here today and even having this discussion," said Kay Fields, board chairwoman.

Board members described the drama playing out behind the scenes as childish, a distraction, and above all else, an embarrassment to the district.

"It is my opinion that Mrs. LeRoy's leadership style is not appropriate for the Polk County Public School System," said Lynn Wilson, board member. "At this time, I have lost confidence in Mrs. LeRoy's ability."

Board members acknowledged the fact that investigators could not substantiate any of the nine claims made by Associate Superintendent Greg Rivers.

The allegations included sexual harassment. Rivers claims LeRoy tried kissing him, talked about performing oral sex and inquired to colleagues about his sex life.

Despite the claims being unsubstantiated, the 1,800 pages of evidence revealed an inappropriate and unprofessional relationship between the two.

"Somebody's not telling the truth. We don't know who that somebody is. But both of them are at fault for establishing a relationship that was not professional," Fields said.

LeRoy avoided questions from reporters again on Tuesday, but she did address the board for the first time regarding the allegations.

"Please allow me to apologize for any failure on my part to ineffectively handle a relationship with a senior staff member. I take responsibility for that, and I've learned from it," she said.

LeRoy told the board she's "ready to put this behind me and move forward."

The question now: Is the board ready to move forward?

All board members present Tuesday agreed on a special meeting 5 p.m. Friday to discuss the internal investigation and take action on LeRoy's future.

Tuesday night, the superintendent was scheduled to present the Teacher of the Year award, but ABC Action News has learned a deputy superintendent will present the award on her behalf.