Dr. Karmacharya out as superintendent

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, June 4, 2013

It’s official – Lisa Karmacharya is out as superintendent of Brookhaven schools.

The Brookhaven School District Board of Trustees held a called meeting Monday night and approved an agreement with Karmacharya that sees her leaving the district and foregoing the two remaining years on her contract, officials said.

“She will voluntarily vacate her position,” said school board attorney Bob Allen in an interview.

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Karmacharya’s time as superintendent of the Brookhaven School District will end as of this Friday, June 7; under its agreement with her, the district will pay Karmacharya $125,000, said Allen.

That money will be paid with school district funds at the end of the month, the attorney said.

Under her contract, Karmacharya drew an annual salary of $115,000 as superintendent of the district.

Allen was careful, though, in how he characterized the nature of the district’s resolution with Karmacharya.

“This was not a buyout, but a settlement,” he said.

All members of the five-person school board except Dan Brown were reportedly present for Monday’s called meeting.

The school board hasn’t yet made a final decision as to installing an interim superintendent, said board president Willie Harrison

“We are getting to work on that now,” Harrison said Tuesday morning, anticipating about a week remains before a decision is announced. “We are going to try to do that no later than Monday.”

Looking ahead past an interim appointment, Harrison said the board is hoping a new district head can be named within four to five months.

“We are trying to be as speedy as we possibly can,” he said.

Harrison described the traits he believes the board will look for in selecting a new superintendent.

“We want to get the very best person we can get,” Harrison said. “We want someone who’s ready to come in and roll up their sleeves and get to work and make this the very best district it can be.”

Harrison said he was satisfied with the resolution to the negotiations over Karmacharya’s contract.

Karmacharya was selected as superintendent of the Brookhaven School District in January 2011 out of a pool of 27 applicants. Seven of those applicants were interviewed by the board.

When she was selected, Karmacharya was given a three-year contract; a fourth year was added to that contract at the end of her first year on the job, Allen said.

The announcement of Karmacharya’s departure follows a May 28 school board meeting in which opponents of the superintendent packed the meeting. At that meeting, Allen indicated a resolution to contract negotiations was near but did not elaborate.

The Rev. Larry Jointer, a vocal critic of Karmacharya’s, called himself glad to see resolution to the ongoing dispute in the school community regarding the superintendent’s leadership.

Rita Rich – who spoke at the May 28 school board meeting and demanded Karmacharya resign or be fired – echoed the feeling.

“Now we can start working for the next school year,” she said.

Jointer offered some thoughts as to what qualities he believes the school board should seek in a new superintendent

“They would have to choose somebody with some experience,” Jointer said. “A strong leader, a proven leader that has the capability to deal with all people, not just some.”

In order to be successful, Rich said a new superintendent will need to be familiar with the district.

“They’re going to have to be aware of what’s been done in the district before,” she said. “Know the history of the district. Know its people. Know it’s strengths, of course, as well as its weaknesses, and build on that.”

As to a new superintendent’s familiarity with the district, Jointer said he believes the superintendent search should begin at home.

“I hope we look in the school district first,” Jointer said. “A person in the district knows the situation better than someone from outside.”