By JEROD CLAPP
Just days after his appointment as interim principal of Jeffersonville High School on Thursday, David Milburn was put on paid administrative leave after charges of shoplifting in Jefferson County, Ky., were discovered Monday.
Andrew Melin, superintendent at Greater Clark County Schools, said in a Monday afternoon press conference that a news outlet tipped him off Monday morning that Milburn was charged with theft by unlawful taking/shoplifting on Sept. 14. Melin said the decision to remove Milburn from his position was to help the district gather facts in its investigation into the matter.
“That is, I think, one of my major roles as the superintendent of schools, to make sure that any issues that come to my attention are fully and fairly investigated and I make decisions that are in the best interests of our school corporation,” Melin said. “And I want to assure our community that is exactly what I’ve done over the past several weeks.”
Melin said he doesn’t have timetable on when Milburn will be taken off leave, but said he wants to make sure the investigation is thorough.
Milburn, a JHS assistant principal, has pled not guilty to the charges. Greater Clark’s board policy requires district employees to report to the superintendent if they’ve been arrested for drug or alcohol violations within five days of the incident, but no other crimes are included in that policy.
Melin said he met with Milburn on Monday to give him an opportunity to talk with him about the charges, but did not disclose what was said in that meeting during the press conference.
In Milburn’s absence, another JHS assistant principal, Julie Straight, will serve as the interim principal.
The position has remained in flux since then-principal James Sexton was placed on paid administrative leave Oct. 18. Sexton was later reassigned to serve as the principal at Clark County Middle/High School on Oct. 25.
The initial press release about Sexton’s leave on Oct. 18 didn’t give a reason for his removal from the school, only explaining that he was out of the office. After Sexton told media that evening that he was put on paid administrative leave, the district issued another release confirming that the following day.
On Oct. 26, the district issued another release explaining that Sexton had been reassigned for “management and instructional leadership philosophies that differ.” In an interview with Melin the next day, he said issues were brought to his attention, but didn’t detail them or who raised them.
Melin said he understands the turnover in the position may give parents some negative perceptions, but hopes he can reassure them of how the district is trying to handle the situation.
“I don’t blame people for their concerns,” Melin said. “If I was in their shoes as a parent and only a parent, I’d be concerned as well. But I think it’s important for our parents out there to know I’m a parent of a Jeff High student and I take it very seriously what’s happened in terms of leadership and the direction of the school.”