ST. JOSEPH — Former St. Joseph schools Superintendent Ann Cardon has come under fire at her new job this school year.
About two months into her time as superintendent at Traverse City Area Public Schools, Cardon’s tenure there is at risk of ending prematurely following a handful of special meetings and closed sessions where some trustees have reportedly spoken out against her.
News of an apparent schism between Cardon and the board came to a head after trustees fielded an hour of questions from the public at the beginning of a contentious special meeting on Friday. Rumors and speculation had spread last week that the TCAPS Board of Education was looking into a separation agreement with Cardon.
According to coverage from the Traverse City-Record-Eagle, audience members packed the board room Friday to speak out against Cardon’s potential departure, and decried the lack of transparency from TCAPS officials and trustees. The paper reported the school board has met in closed sessions and held the special meeting Friday with little to no heads up to the public.
Only one trustee has publicly come forward in support of Cardon, as the Record-Eagle published a letter from a trustee who claimed the majority of the TCAPS Board of Education has bullied the new superintendent. The paper also reported that this same trustee had accused the board president of undermining the Open Meetings Act by calling board members individually to “discuss Cardon’s performance.”
The reasons are unclear as to why some TCAPS trustees have taken a stance against Cardon. Cardon has remained silent and not commented publicly about the situation.
On Monday, the TCAPS board released a statement in response to the speculation about Cardon’s future with the district.
“It is unfortunate that there has been significant conjecture, conjecture which fails to acknowledge that the board has an obligation to uphold, and employees have a right to expect, privacy under the law when requested,” the statement read.
The board said it intends to maintain the “confidentiality of privileged information,” including what has been shared in closed sessions of the board.
In the statement, the board reiterated that members – along with Cardon – remain resolute in the focus on students and their learning.
“We are confident that our incredible team of professionals will continue to advance our mission, which is that we exist to educate, because education improves the quality of life for all,” the statement read. “Additional information will be shared when available and appropriate. At this time, Ann Cardon has requested privacy and will not be conducting media interviews.”
Cardon, who spent seven years as superintendent for St. Joseph schools, began her duties as TCAPS superintendent on Aug. 1.
Cardon was selected among a field of six finalists.
TCAPS initially trustees were enthusiastic about Cardon joining the district and gave her a three-year contract.
Contact: twittkowski@TheHP.com, 932-0358, Twitter: @TonyWittkowski