Superintendent, two board members, teacher resign from ROWVA School District Thursday night
ONEIDA — Two members of ROWVA’s school board resigned Thursday night in a special meeting.
Board president Jim Haynes and board member Missy Shepherd handed in their letters of resignation, effective immediately.
The resignations shrink the ROWVA school board down to four members, as board secretary Rob Kalb had announced his resignation from the district Feb. 8. ROWVA superintendent Joe Sornberger’s resignation will also be accepted at the end of the 2021-2022 school year.
Kalb and Shepherd were the only two board members who voted against removing the novel “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas from ROWVA classrooms on Jan. 18.
According to the writer’s website, the novel is inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and is about a 16 year old who witnesses her friend shot and killed by police. Parents, students, educators and ROWVA alumni have expressed support and outrage over the book’s place in the classroom.
The board also moved to accept ROWVA teacher Chris Johnson’s resignation at the end of the 2021-2022 school year. Chris is married to Traci Johnson, who was one of the two ROWVA teachers who had planned to teach “The Hate U Give” in class.
Superintendent Sornberger confirmed that Traci Johnson submitted her immediate resignation from the school district in February. The superintendent also confirmed that Haynes’ and Shepherd’s resignations were not on the agenda going into Thursday’s meeting.
“The school district will continue to exist, and we'll continue to give quality opportunities to our students,” Sornberger said.
Haynes had been on the board since 2009 and Shepherd had been on the board since 2015. Sornberger said the board planned last night to conduct a special meeting Monday, March 14, to interview candidates for the opening Kalb left.
The board will then pick a new board member and post the openings for the other two empty positions. Sornberger said the board will most likely meet in April to seat the two open positions.
Sornberger’s last day in the ROWVA district will be June 30 as he has been hired to become the superintendent of Jasper County Community Unit School District 1 for the 2022-2023 school year. This is his eighth year serving as ROWVA’s superintendent.
“I knew my resignation was coming. As for the others, I know that Mr. Johnson took a job elsewhere,” Sornberger said.
The superintendent said that Chris Johnson had been a teacher in ROWVA for 20 years, and Traci Johnson has been a teacher in ROWVA between 10-13 years.
A source has told the Register-Mail that Chris and Traci Johnson have taken jobs in Rochester, Illinois.
Check back. This story will be updated.