Eight months after she was hired as Superintendent of Orange County Schools, Gerri Martin resigned on Monday night.
Judging from an email message sent out Tuesday morning by Orange County Schools, the decision to leave appears not to have been made entirely by Martin.
Here is an excerpt:
“In a unanimous decision, the Orange County Board of Education, in the best interest of the students, parents, staff, and community, agreed to conclude Dr. Martin’s employment as the superintendent of our District. Superintendent Gerri Martin submitted, and the Board accepted, a letter of resignation from the District effective May 12, 2014.”
The message, signed by Orange County Board of Education Chair Donna Coffey, names Dr. Del Burns as Interim Superintendent. Burns stepped in to serve in that position once before.
He is currently out-of-district, so Interim Auxiliary Services Director Pam Jones is Acting Superintendent until Burns is available.
Before Martin was hired in September 2013, she had 27 years of experience in education, including four years as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, and a little more than a year as Superintendent of McDowell County Schools.
She sparked some controversy there when she decided that a six-year-old girl should remove the word “God” from a poem the girl was set to recite at a Veteran’s Day event.
Martin then became the subject of a petition from more then 1,100 signers demanding her termination.
She was not fired, however, and she later told The Herald-Sun that the incident had no bearing on her decision to leave McDowell County Schools.
Coffey was enthusiastic when she spoke to WCHL about Martin’s hiring back in September. Coffey said that Martin “definitely stood out as the best candidate to our board,” after 30 applicants were considered.
Update: When reached by WCHL for comment about Martin’s resignation, Coffey referred to the official statement and declined to speak about it any further. Martin could not be reached for comment.