Stanfield School District will have a new superintendent next week, several months earlier than initially expected.
Beth Burton, current Stanfield Secondary School principal, was announced as the board’s pick to lead the district at a special meeting Friday. She will assume the role Tuesday.
School board chair Scott Morris said he had a conversation with current superintendent Shelley Liscom, who in December submitted her intent to resign at the end of the school year. He said that because Burton was from within the district, board members felt it made sense to have her start now.
“I asked (Liscom) if that would work,” Morris said.
The board voted 4-0 (board member Elizabeth Sperr was absent for the decision) to have Burton assume the superintendent’s office on Tuesday and place Liscom on paid leave from Tuesday until June 15, which was previously scheduled to be her last day with the district.
Morris said Liscom asked to have the district pick up her insurance for the next two years, which would cost around $30,000. The board unanimously voted not to extend coverage past the end of her employment with the district.
Morris said that for now, Burton will serve as both secondary school principal and superintendent, and the elementary school principal spot will remain open. He said assistant principal Lacey Sharp has already been taking on several of the elementary principal duties. He said the board will now begin looking at filling those roles, but the timeline for doing so is unclear.
Some, including Sharp, had questions about how the transition would work. She also asked Morris how they would communicate the news to teachers, who had not yet been officially informed of the changes. They agreed that Burton, Sharp and Morris would have a brief meeting with teachers on Monday to tell them.
Burton was the only person from the district to apply. She was selected by the board, and by a screening committee that consisted of some teachers and a few community members.
Liscom had been at the district for four years, and resigned after several months of contention with the board.
Burton has been at Stanfield Secondary School for two years, and was previously the principal of Umatilla High School. She attended elementary and middle school in Athena-Weston.