School Board Waived Doctorate Prerequisite For Resigned Superintendent

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The Fayetteville superintendent who suddenly announced her resignation earlier this month does not have the doctorate named as a prerequisite for her position, although School Board members said they waived the requirement when they hired her.

A school official told 5NEWS the School Board waived a prerequisite before Supt. Vicki Thomas was hired, that the incoming superintendent must have received an educational doctorate. Thomas was the best candidate for the job, and the board felt comfortable approving Thomas without the previously-required prerequisite.

Thomas did receive a superintendent’s certification from the University of Houston at Clear Lake, Tex., in 2000, according to her resume.

The Fayetteville School District is investigating a grievance filed against Thomas, but such complaints are not public record unless it makes it through due process and needs School Board action, a board member told 5NEWS.

The School Board member said the complaint had nothing to do with Thomas’ announced resignation.

Thomas suddenly announced her resignation Jan. 13 after five years on the job, stating she needed to leave for Texas to take care of an ailing elderly family member. She will stay until the end of her contract, which expires June 30, she said.

Board members and members of the community lauded her for advancing the school district over the last five years, but during the tail end of Thomas’ time as superintendent, she dealt with two controversial issues, one being the arrest of former Fayetteville athletic director Barry Gebhart. Gebhart was arrested in November of last year during an underage sex sting, after which he resigned.

Thomas also saw backlash from parents over the announcement that the school district would have make-up days on Saturdays and holidays, due to December’s ice and snow storms that suspended classes.

The School Board is still deciding whether to use a national firm to help board members select a candidate. Board members said the next step in the search will be a workshop session with the public as no final decision was made at the last School Board meeting.

Thomas made $207,000 dollars per year. It’s unknown how much money the new superintendent will be paid annually.