Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Mystery Lake School Division's latest superintendent quits

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BEV Hammond has quit as superintendent of Thompson's Mystery Lake School Division, after 16 months of turmoil and a continuing revolving door on the top administrative jobs.

Hammond submitted her resignation to Mystery Lake school trustees Wednesday.

Mystery Lake school board chairman Alexander Ashton said Hammond had resigned effective immediately for unspecified personal and professional reasons.

Ashton refused to say if Hammond had received any severance pay or any form of financial settlement.

"The resignation was on good terms for both parties," Ashton said Thursday.

He said the board had not asked Hammond to leave.

"There were discussions -- ultimately, it was Bev's decision.

"Expected? Not really," he said, refusing to divulge further details.

Hammond did not respond to email and telephone requests from the Free Press for an interview Thursday.

Her brief tenure was dominated by the school board's remarkable public rebuke and then public firing last spring of R.D. Parker Collegiate principal Ryan Land, whose grievances will be heard later this year.

The division has had three superintendents and eight assistant superintendents in the past four years.

R.D. Parker Collegiate has had three principals and nine vice-principals in that time and had two acting principals after the school board fired Land.

Hammond said last summer that, in investigating Land's time as principal, she had found irregularities in the awarding of diplomas to two dozen students who had their marks upgraded.

Hammond recently banned Land from being on school property unless he had reason to attend as a parent; his new job as a senior manager at mining giant Vale required him to go into schools.

Land declined Thursday to comment on Hammond's departure.

Ashton said acting principal Wally Itson is on a term placement until June, though the board hopes he continues past June.

He said Hammond's duties have been split between assistant superintendents Angel Bartlette and Lorie Henderson.

The turmoil and turnover in Thompson got so bad Education Minister Nancy Allan summoned the trustees to her office last year and then sent provincial bureaucrats into Thompson to work with Mystery Lake in sorting out the situation.

An aide to Allan said Thursday the minister does not get involved in local personnel matters and said the province's work with Mystery Lake will not be affected by Hammond's leaving.

Trustees were aware when they hired Hammond she had a lawsuit against her penultimate employer, Alberta's Wild Rose school district in the Red Deer area.

She went to Thompson from running a charter school in Calgary.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 20, 2012 A9

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