Review finds Lakota Schools superintendent ‘fit’ for job

The leader of the Lakota Local School District has been found to be “fit” for his job after a mental health review and will continue to lead the district after the school board approved a statement of support Monday evening.

In recent months the governing board of Ohio’s eighth-largest public school system has been embroiled in controversy as Superintendent Matt Miller was the focus of an investigation by the Butler County Sheriff’s office — based on allegations — but no cause for criminal charges were found, said officials in the county prosecutor’s office.

Then earlier this month Miller was cleared by a private, legal investigative firm and its review, which was paid for by the Lakota Board of Education.

But at the time that finding was announced, the board also said it would exercise a contractual clause in Miller’s contract, which is common to many superintendent employee agreements, to have him undergo a “fitness for duty” review.

School Board President Lynda O’Connor read from a statement during the Monday meeting noting that Miller “had been cleared on any alleged wrongdoing.”

Moreover, said O’Connor, “as a final step in this process … Miller was evaluated by an independent psychiatrist for a fitness for duty evaluation … (and) it was determined that he is unreservedly fit for duty.”

“Had the board received any credible evidence of misconduct by our superintendent or that he was a threat to our students or staff at any time during the investigation, the board would have placed him on administrative leave immediately.”

“While we understand that some members of our community may disagree, the board is confident that it exercised all due diligence in this matter. These claims against Mr. Miller were found to be false by multiple agencies,” according the statement read by O’Connor.

“This has been a long and difficult process for the Lakota community. In the United States of America, a person is innocent until proven guilty. With no credible evidence, placing the superintendent on paid administrative leave would have substantially disrupted the district and would have unnecessarily damaged Mr. Miller’s ability to lead.”

The board would like to express its full support of Matt Miller. Superintendent Miller has been an excellent leader of our district and is one of the shining lights in education, both in Ohio and nationally. We appreciate his full cooperation throughout this situation.”

The board then voted 4-1 in support of the statement, with member Darbi Boddy voting “no.”

When asked by O’Connor if he would like to comment, Miller cited advisement from his attorney in declining the offer.

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