Exclusive: Middletown principal still being paid despite leaving job

A former Middletown schools principal continues to draw pay from the district despite leaving his job last week under a resignation agreement.

Former Rosa Parks Elementary Principal Bryan Cannon will be paid $43,041 of his $95,500 annual salary under a resignation agreement unanimously approved by the Middletown Board of Education.

According to records obtained by the Journal-News, the agreement covering Cannon’s departure from his principal’s job offers no reason for his leaving but stipulates he will not take any legal action against the Butler County school system.

The agreement states the document “fully and completely releases the district from any and all claims, liabilities, promises, agreements, lawsuits (including but not limited to claims for attorneys’ fees, costs, back pay, front pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages).”

Cannon also agreed not to pursue “claims of discrimination and harassment based upon race, national origin, ancestry, disability, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran’s status, sex and age.”

The Jan. 14 agreement also states “it is understood and agreed that by entering into this agreement, neither the district nor employee admits any violation of law or policy, and that the parties entered into this agreement solely in the interest of resolving finally all claims and issues relating to employee’s employment with the district.”

The 51-year-old Cannon was hired as principal of Rosa Parks Elementary by Middletown Schools in 2017 with a two-year contract that runs through July 31, 2019 that is contingent on his working at the school.

In a letter written last month and included in Cannon’s personnel file, Middletown Schools Senior Director of Human Resources Deborah Houser wrote that Cannon “is furthering his education in pursuit of his superintendent’s license” and cited some of the academic progress of Rosa Parks’ students under Cannon’s leadership.

Middletown school administration officials declined to explain why they agreed to continue to pay Cannon $43,041 through July as part of the resignation agreement.

Middletown spokesperson Elizabeth Beadle and district Treasurer Randy Bertram said the district does not comment on personnel matters.

Middletown Board of Education President Chris Urso said the same and declined to comment on Cannon’s departure or his continued pay despite no longer working for the city schools.

Messages were left Wednesday for Cannon.

Cannon’s employee review by Middletown schools included the second-highest rating out of five for his work since 2017.

That review included the statement, “Mr. Cannon is to be praised for his focus on improving the culture of Rosa Parks Elementary.”

Cannon has been replaced at the school by former Assistant Principal Tracey Neeley, who district officials said will serve as interim principal for the remainder of the school year.

Urso described Cannon — who previously worked as principal for a charter school in Massachusetts and before that from 2010 through 2015 as a principal for National Heritage Academies charter school in Cincinnati — as “a fine young man.”

“I always found Bryan to be a positive energy and I appreciated his work for Middletown Schools,” Urso said.

Other members of the school board did not respond to messages seeking their comments.

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