West Jasper superintendent placed on 30-day administrative leave

West Jasper School District Superintendent Kenitra Ezi was placed on 30-day paid leave Thursday night by a 3-2 vote of the school board.
Published: Mar. 4, 2022 at 2:22 AM CST
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BAY SPRINGS, Miss. (WDAM) - West Jasper School District Superintendent Dr. Kenitra Ezi was voted to be put on administrative leave by the school board Thursday night.

The motion was made during a special board meeting that was held on the Bay Springs High School campus.

According to the board attorney, the meeting was held to discuss the job performance and professional confidence of Ezi.

When the meeting started, board member Christy Hollifield proposed a motion to move the superintendent’s time to speak until after the executive session and suspend the grievance policy to hear employee concerns.

There was a conflict about the agenda amongst board members because grievances were not on the original agenda for the night.

Board members Debbie Smith and Wade Hosey both voted to waive the grievances; however, member Jean Wheaton voted against the motion.

“I would like to not motion to suspend the policy because I do not know the concerns and the comments that are coming before me. So I would say no to suspending the policy,” says Wheaton

Board member Jefferson Hughes voted to sustain the motion.

After the motions passed, the board immediately went into an executive session to hear numerous complaints from teachers and other employees within the district. The session lasted for about five hours before the public was allowed back into the auditorium to hear remarks from the superintendent.

Ezi went on to speak about what she claims are tensions between the Bay Springs and Stringer communities within the school district.

“I understand that there is dissension between Bay Springs and Stringer, and it is wrong,” Ezi said. “I want to work together to fix what’s wrong.”

As she went on during her time to comment, Ezi mentioned that the school board hasn’t evaluated a superintendent since 2012, as the Mississippi Department of Education requires districts to do annual evaluations of superintendents.

“And just respectfully, again, I ask that this board not hold me to a standard that predecessor or any previous superintendent has been held,” said Ezi.

Ezi continued by listing a few of what she believes to be positive impacts that have been made during her tenure as West Jasper School Superintendent:

Ezi went on to address those who had grievances against her, saying that she wished matters would have been brought up to her instead of circumstances at that time.

“I am saddened that you did not come to me first, but we will get through this for the good of children,” Ezi said.

After Ezi finished stating her comments, Smith proposed the motion to put Ezi on administrative leave for 30 days with pay pending a pre-termination hearing. Hosey and Hollifield voted “yes” to the motion, while Wheaton and Hughes voted against it.

Dr. Jill Miller will serve as acting superintendent during Ezi’s administrative leave as the investigation is pending.

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