Photo by Bulletin file photo
A special school board meeting will be held at 8 a.m. on June 27, reportedly to consider the fate of long-time North Platte teacher and coach Mark Woodhead.
School Superintendent Marty Bassett officially announced the meeting Tuesday afternoon, confirming unofficial information that has circulated for weeks. Bassett's initial announcement did not mention Woodhead, but his son Danny tweeted the news of the meeting nearly a month ago and asked supporters to attend.
Woodhead, who teaches physical education at the elementary level, was reportedly placed on administrative leave several weeks after he allegedly got too rough with a troublesome third-grader.
According to former High School Vice-Principal Bob McFarland, who is now retired, Woodhead grabbed the kicking and screaming student and drug him about 20 feet across a carpet into an office where a supervisor was located.
McFarland said the episode happened in February.
Bassett told the Bulletin in late May that no action has been taken on Woodhead’s situation, but declined to talk about it further.
Woodhead has worked for the school district for nearly 30 years. He has been the head girls’ basketball coach since 2002, compiling a record of 157-117. He led the girls to the state tournament in 2004 and 2009.
He is the father of standout NFL running back Danny Woodhead.
In announcing the meeting, Bassett referred the news media to a power point presentation with basic general information about the school board’s role in personnel reviews.
Attorneys are expected to present information at the hearing. An attachment was added to the agenda Wednesday that said the board might go into executive session after the hearing.
According to the information added Wednesday, "after the hearing the school board will take all necessary action to either cancel or take other action it deems appropriate on the employment contract of Mark Woodhead. An executive or closed session is possible for the hearing on this matter. In the event of a resignation or agreement, the board of education will consider, discuss and take action on acceptance of the resignation or agreement."
Personnel decisions are typically made behind closed doors in executive session, for the official reason to prevent needless damage to the reputations of those involved, according to Nebraska’s laws on open government meetings.
Unless the teacher requests a closed hearing and the board agrees, hearings are open, Associate Superintendent and personnel manager Tami Eshleman said Wednesday.
Eshleman said the performing arts theater was selected to ensure enough space for the public to attend. However, public comments will not be allowed, because it will be a formal due process hearing at which the board will receive evidence and deliberate based on that evidence.
She said 8 a.m. is the time to which all parties agreed.
Interested readers can see the power point presentation at http://issuu.com/karenhaase/docs/nasb_board_as_judge_and_jury
This report was updated and information about the meeting was clarified at 4:50 p.m. Wednesday. - Editor.