The Carmel Clay Schools board of trustees has put Supt. Nicholas Wahl and Human Resources Director Corinne Middleton on administrative leave.
The board announced Wahl’s leave at its Oct. 9 work session meeting. CCS spokeswoman Courtney Taylor confirmed Oct. 11 that Middleton had also been put on leave. Both leaves went into effect Oct. 10. Neither Wahl nor Middleton was in attendance at the Oct. 9 meeting, and neither responded to requests for comment.
Taylor said that neither Wahl’s nor Middleton’s leaves involved interactions with CCS students and that police have not been asked to assist with the reviews.
Board President Layla Spanenberg read a statement during the Oct. 9 meet about the decision to put Wahl on administrative leave:
“The Board is undertaking a thorough review of its district leadership and believes that its action today will enable it to complete this review more quickly and in a manner that respects the confidentiality of its employees’ personnel matters. Because of these confidentiality concerns, the Board will not make further comment on this until it has finished its review.”
Spanenberg said after the meeting she did not know how long the review process will take but that it would go “more efficiently and effectively” if Wahl was on leave. The review is being conducted by CCS attorneys, she said.
Both administrators will receive pay and benefits during their leaves. According to Wahl’s contract, signed in August 2013, his annual salary is $195,000, and it may increase each year. He also is eligible to receive up to 12 percent of his base salary in incentives for high performance.
Wahl’s contract states his employment with CCS may be terminated for immorality, failure to maintain a valid superintendent’s license, unexcused and pervasive failure to perform his duties or any other cause for termination of a teacher’s or superintendent’s contract under Indiana law.
The contract defines immorality as “conduct objectively and materially offensive to the moral standards of the CCS community that the Superintendent is expected to establish and maintain.”
CCS board policy lists administrative leave as a “progressive discipline” measure. It is not used for incidents that include reporting for work under the influence of drugs or alcohol, insubordination, criminal incidents, arrests, threats or acts of violence or harassment.
Court records show that Wahl filed for divorce in May and that Middleton filed for divorce in August of this year. CCS officials declined to comment on whether the two administrators potentially had been or are involved in a romantic relationship.
Adam Baker, a spokesperson for the Indiana Dept. of Education, said that he was not aware of a state statute prohibiting administrators from having such a relationship.
“It would more or less fall to the school and whether they have a policy preventing it,” he said. “If there is no policy, then it could fall to the school board to raise concern.”
Asst. Supt. of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Amy Dudley and Associate Supt. of Business Affairs Roger McMichael jointly are serving as interim superintendents while Wahl is on leave. Taylor said that includes overseeing the HR department.
“We have very strong leadership (team) that is stepping into those shoes,” Spanenberg said. “We are confident Dr. Dudley and Mr. McMichael will handle what needs to be handled in the school district during this time.”
Spanenberg would not comment on how long the board has been aware of the issues that led to the administrative leave. When asked Oct. 9, she did not state whether other CCS employees had also been placed on leave.
The school board has scheduled a special session for noon Oct. 18 at the Educational Services Center, 5201 E. Main St. An agenda for the meeting has not been released.