New details: Board, former Lakota East principal reach settlement; vote tonight

UPDATE AFTER VOTE

The Lakota Board of Education voted 3-2 to approve Mack’s settlement agreement, with members Lynda O’Connor and Julie Shaffer objecting.

UPDATE: 6:50 p.m.

The former leader of one of southwest Ohio’s largest high schools has submitted her resignation in part in exchange for district officials agreeing to halt their investigation into circumstances that led to her being ordered on leave in May.

The August resignation of Yejide Mack – former principal of Lakota East High School – is part of a settlement agreement that has Mack ending her employment with Lakota Schools without finishing her first school year, according to the end-of-employment agreement released by district officials Monday.

Mack will be paid her annual salary of $116,850 – plus additional compensation of benefits - for a total of $148,747 through July 31, 2022, according to documents pertaining to a pending school board vote on the proposed settlement this evening.

But earlier today, Lakota Spokeswoman Betsy Fuller told the Journal-News: “The district and Dr. Mack reached a mutual agreement regarding the outcome of her paid leave of absence.”

“As part of this agreement, Dr. Mack submitted her resignation and the district did not complete its investigation. It is important to note that student safety was never a reason for Dr. Mack’s paid administrative leave,” said Fuller.

The Journal-News was the first to report on the first-year principal’s ordered leave in May, just a couple of weeks prior to Lakota East’s senior commencement ceremony.

Under Mack’s supervision, the school had switched from its traditional, gender-specific cap and gown colors of black for boys and white for girls to all black for all students.

Lakota Superintendent Matt Miller later apologized in a message sent to Lakota East parents and students for the change and said the traditional, gender-specific colors would be restored.

Then in June, Lakota officials said Mack would be reassigned within the district. The district website’s staff directory of all personnel, however, has had no listing of Mack as the school year began classes last month.

According to the settlement awaiting board approval, Mack submitted a one sentence resignation letter noting she quit as of July 31 without citing a reason.

Mack signed the settlement agreement on Aug. 24.

According to the agreement, Mack’s attorney fees of $38,950 will be paid out of her annual salary. Lakota will provide her with a letter of recommendation, signed by Superintendent Matt Miller.

In Miller’s letter, he makes no reference to Mack being ordered on leave but instead the letter includes him stating Mack led “with grace and tenacity.”

The Journal-News will continue to cover this story and report on any new developments.

EARLIER VERSION OF STORY:

The Lakota school board’s agenda for tonight’s meeting indicates the board will vote on a settlement agreement concerning a former high school principal put on leave in May.

The Journal-News was the first to report in May that Lakota East High School Principal Yejide Mack, a first-year principal in the Lakota system, was put on paid leave.

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Mack’s departure came during Lakota East’s preparations for its graduation ceremony later in May. Under Mack’s supervision, the school had switched from its traditional, gender-specific cap and gown colors of black for boys and white for girls to all black for all students.

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Lakota Superintendent Matt Miller later apologized in a message sent to Lakota East parents and students for the change and said the traditional, gender-specific colors would be restored.

Then in June, Lakota officials said Mack would be reassigned within the district. The district website’s staff directory of all personnel, however, has no listing of Mack.

The agenda for today’s 6:30 p.m. meeting lists no details of the scheduled recommendation to the board Miller other than “approval of settlement agreement – Y. Mack.”

Such a settlement agreement requires approval by majority of the five-member school board, which will meet at Plains Junior School at 5500 Princeton Road.

Miller and other Lakota officials, including board members, did not immediately respond to requests to comment on the agenda item.

Mack’s attorney, Kelly Mulloy Myers, has not responded in recent months to requests for comment from her or Mack.

In May, Myers told the Journal-News: “We do not believe Dr. Mack has been treated fairly and we look forward to a prompt resolution.”

Mack’s Lakota East leadership position has since been filled by Rob Burnside.

ExploreNew Lakota East High School principal named to replace official on administrative leave

Prior to her hiring in July 2020, Mack was an assistant principal at Sycamore High School in northern Hamilton County. She replaced longtime Lakota East Principal Suzanna Davis, who moved on to employment outside the district.

The Journal-News will continue to cover this story and report on any new developments.