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Letter: Trustee: Superintendent Not Being ‘Forced Out’

During the Westbury Union Free Board of Election’s public meetings on March 9 and March 16, which were held for the purposes of presenting the 2010-2011 school budget to the public and soliciting resident opinion, I witnessed some members of the public attempting to use the public forum and disrupt the entire proceedings to present their case supporting Dr. Constance Clark-Snead’s right to remain superintendent of Westbury Schools due to her ethnicity and gender.

Some members of the group publicly stated that Dr. Clark-Snead’s contract should be extended because she is the first black woman to hold this position in Westbury.  One individual claimed the board is attempting to force her out.

They were only correct in their observations concerning her gender and ethnicity.

As to their other contentions, however, I believe them to be unsupported.  Accusations that the school board is “forcing her out” are wrong and untrue.

Dr. Clark-Snead’s position as superintendent had not been discussed in respect to being removed or “forced out” by the Westbury Board of Education on which I serve as trustee. I would be and would have been aware of any such discussion.

I am of the opinion that had Superintendent Clark-Snead made a statement addressing this issue, the claims would have been put to rest. Unfortunately, the Superintendent has made no public statement on this issue.

The superintendent was further within her right to interview for the position as superintendent in Teaneck, NJ.  Contractually, the superintendent was not obligated to inform the board of education of her intent until after the interview had taken place, which is what occurred in this case.

As of press time, I, as a trustee on the Westbury Board of Education, have yet to be informed officially whether or not Dr. Clark-Snead has accepted the position in Teaneck, NJ, although persistent rumor seems to indicate that she may have.  

Currently, Dr. Clark-Snead is under contract with the Westbury Union Free School District through 2011, and cannot be “forced out.”  The board, by contractual obligation, must inform Dr. Clark-Snead of its contract renewal intentions before June 2010.

Therefore, when Superintendent Clark-Snead and several members of the Westbury community met with the Teaneck Board of Education, both she as well as the Westbury Board of Education acted in a procedurally correct manner pursuant to the contractual agreement between the parties.

In closing, I am addressing the remarks made by several members of the community at our meeting that I find egregious and wrong.  I am speaking as a resident that also happens to be a trustee of the Westbury Board of Education. References made regarding ethnicity or gender I feel are inappropriate and insufficient reason to extend the superintendent’s or anyone’s contract.

Larry D. Wornum
Trustee, Westbury Board of Education