Board action on Sterling’s resignation pushed to Oct. 6

Published 8:55 pm Wednesday, October 5, 2022

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The timetable for school board action in response to Franklin City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tamara Sterling’s resignation was pushed back due to the lack of a quorum for the special called board meeting that was set to take place Thursday evening, Sept. 29.

Tamara Sterling

Action is now set to be taken by the Franklin City School Board at its Thursday, Oct. 6, meeting, which will begin at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers within City Hall, located at 207 W. 2nd Ave.

Sterling submitted a memo Friday, Sept. 23, announcing her resignation from the school division effective Nov. 30. She addressed the memo to the school board, students, families, faculty, staff and community members.

“We have shared so many accomplishments over the last five years as we continued to accelerate, innovate and transform the lives of children!” she wrote. “My life has also been transformed as your leader. You have shown me that we are #StrongerTogether. The relationships that I’ve made with many of you will continue with me for the rest of my life. However, the time has come for me to move on personally and professionally. Today, I’m announcing my resignation from Franklin City Public Schools, effective Nov. 30, 2022.”

She continued by noting that she is excited to begin another chapter in her life.

During a Saturday, Oct. 1, interview, Franklin City School Board Chair Robert Holt said Sterling informed him of her resignation Sept. 23 prior to her sending out the memo later that day and then reading her letter of resignation during a meeting.

“Then on Wednesday of this week, Sept. 28, she was introduced as the new superintendent in Petersburg, Virginia, and that she had signed her contract and she would start there on December the 1st,” he said.

He said it was his understanding that Sterling had signed a four-year contract with Petersburg City Public Schools.

Robert Holt

“A person is not officially resigned until the board approves their resignation, so we called the meeting for Thursday night, the 29th, only for the purpose of, No. 1, accepting her resignation, and, No. 2, to talk about an interim who would serve the school division while we do a search and all of that,” Holt said. “And only three of seven (board members) showed up, which I really don’t understand. We’re honestly excited for Dr. Sterling. We wish her well. There was no reason that I know of why our board would not approve her resignation, but because we only had three of seven, we didn’t have a quorum, so we couldn’t take any action.”

Consequently, he said it looks like the action regarding Sterling’s resignation is going to be on the agenda for the board’s regular work session Thursday, Oct. 6.

“Normally we have a closed session at 6 p.m. and then an open session at 7 p.m., but because of so many people that have contacted us about this, they want us to have an open session at 6 before we vote,” Holt said. 

He noted that the board meeting Thursday will, indeed, feature an open session at 6 p.m., with opportunity for public comment coming early.

“We’ll go through our normal agenda, and I do expect some Citizens’ Time people to sign up,” he said. “And then we’ll go into closed session, and probably part of that will be the vote on (Dr. Sterling’s) resignation request.”

Holt speculated that the initial open session Thursday will run from 6-7 or 6-7:30 p.m. He said the closed session will probably run for 20-30 minutes at most, meaning the board will return to open session around 8 p.m. to take action in connection with Sterling’s resignation request.