Contentious New Plymouth Superintendent Resigns After Months Of Vowing He Wouldn't

Apr 26, 2018

The superintendent of the New Plymouth School District, Kevin Barker, offered his resignation to district trustees April 25. For months, he refused to step down despite loud calls for his ouster.

The board of trustees of the New Plymouth School District have accepted the resignation of Superintendent Kevin Barker. The departure is the latest move in a saga that’s engulfed the community for months.

The embattled superintendent of the New Plymouth School District is out. After standing firm for months on his promise not to step down, Kevin Barker offered his resignation to the board of trustees following a three-hour, closed-door meeting. The board made a deal with Barker to get him to leave, however, the terms haven't been released.

The resignation caps a long effort to remove Barker, says Pierrette Madrid-Harris, a New Plymouth educator and spokeswoman for the district’s teachers' union.

“Well this what we’ve been working for,” Madrid-Harris says. “This is what we’ve been working for for the last two-and-a-half years, so this was our goal.”

The effort to boot Barker reached a fever pitch in January. At the start of the year, district employees held a vote of no confidence in him and noisily called for his resignation. The employees claimed Barker created a culture of fear and abused his power.

“I mean, nobody is happy about the demise of this man, but, at the same time, we are happy that this community and our school district can move on,” says Madrid-Harris.

The board of trustees unanimously passed a motion to release Barker from his contract. Tensions in the town of about 1,500 people were so high, all five members of the district board were threatened with being recalled.

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