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December 17, 2012

Sexton’s contract may expire in Greater Clark

JEFFERSONVILLE — The contract of a former Jeffersonville High School principal may be allowed to expire after a vote at Greater Clark County Schools’ board of trustees meeting Dec. 18.

The recommendation from superintendent Andrew Melin will be considered with the rest of the consent agenda — several agenda items that are frequently voted on all at once.

James Sexton, the former principal who has been put on administrative leave, investigated and reassigned in the last three months, said he may have stepped on some toes while he led the school, but didn’t expect this vote to come before the board.

“I never anticipated that my principalship in Greater Clark would be removed because of some feelings [getting hurt],” Sexton said. “Nothing has been done illegally, absolutely nothing. It’s a philosophical, managerial difference and the superintendent’s in charge, so he’s making the recommendation. He does not want me on his team.”

Sexton was placed on paid administrative leave in October pending an investigation by the district. From there, he was reassigned from his position at Jeffersonville High to principal of Clark County Middle/High School, the district’s alternative school that he also led as principal at Jeffersonville High.

Calls to Melin were not returned as of press time, nor were calls to board president Christina Gilkey.

Erin Bojorquez, supervisor of communications and public relations, said in a text message that the district had no comment because the issue was a personnel matter.

Becka Christensen, an outgoing board member, said though the agenda item is just a recommendation at this point, she’s sure it will come to a vote at tomorrow’s meeting.

“It looks like they want to get rid of him one way or another,” Christensen said. “To make this decision so early in [Melin’s] tenure on something as important as our largest high school, I have great concern about where the district may be going following his philosophy.”

Sexton said he’s done everything he can to appeal to the superintendent and the board to avoid losing an administrative position with the district, meeting with both of them privately to argue his case.

Clay Culotta, an attorney representing Sexton, said Sexton would still be a valuable employee for the district and he believes the board will consider that before taking a final vote.

“We don’t have any plans for any sort of legal action, we’ll look at everything as it comes down,” Culotta said “Hopefully, the school board will find in favor of him and we won’t even have to give anything any further consideration.”

Sexton, who is 69, said he has spent 47 years working in education with 38 of those as a principal.

If his contract is allowed to expire, he would still have a teaching contract with the district. He said though he would automatically be offered a teaching position with the district, he said whether he’d take the job would hinge on whether he’s offered an administrative position elsewhere.

But he said because of his attachment to this community, he hopes it doesn’t come to that.

“This is a great community to work in and the kids at Jeff High are tremendous kids,” Sexton said. “I think we have a great opportunity. I had an opportunity.”

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