Lakota board votes 3-2 to approve settlement for former Lakota East principal

A close school board vote Monday evening led to approval of a settlement agreement that will pay the former principal of Lakota East High School through July and her attorney fees.

Yejide Mack was ordered on paid leave of absence from her leadership of Lakota East in May. The Lakota Board of Education voted 3-2 to approve Mack’s settlement agreement, with members Lynda O’Connor and Julie Shaffer objecting.

Neither O’Connor nor Shaffer commented during the meeting about their negative votes.

Mack, the former leader of one of southwest Ohio’s largest high schools, submitted her resignation in August in exchange for district officials agreeing to halt their investigation into circumstances that led to her being ordered on leave in May, according to Lakota officials.

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 the settlement.

“It is important to note that student safety was never a reason for Dr. Mack’s paid administrative leave,” Lakota Spokeswoman Betsy Fuller told the Journal-News.

The Journal-News was the first to report on Mack’s 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 had no listing of Mack as the school year began classes last month.

According to the settlement, Mack submitted a one-sentence letter noting she resigned as of July 31 without citing a reason.

Mack signed the settlement agreement on Aug. 24. Rob Burnside was hired during the summer as the new Lakota East principal.