Van Dyke's contract will not be renewed

TRUMANN, AR (KAIT) - Wanda Van Dyke will not be Trumann's high school principal next year. That decision was made by school board members around 9pm Wednesday night.

Their decision comes after hours of testimony during Van Dyke's Fair Teacher Dismissal proceeding.

Now former Trumann High School Principal Wanda Van Dyke was suspended in December by Superintendent Myra Graham. Graham informed Van Dyke in February of 21 reasons why she was recommending the Trumann School Board not renew her contract for the 2014-2015 school year.

Van Dyke's Fair Teacher Dismissal Proceeding began last Tuesday and wrapped up Wednesday night.

Six more witnesses were called to testify Wednesday including Trumann high school senior Alysha Rieathbaum.

Rieathbaum, who is in favor of keeping Van Dyke as principal, told Region 8 News that since Van Dyke's suspension, dramatic changes have taken place at the high school.

She spoke before board members because she wanted them to know what school was like now from a student's perspective.

"The disciplinary action has not been enforced like it was supposed to be - like it was whenever she was there," Rieathbaum said.

After hearing from witnesses for roughly two and a half hours, school board members went into executive session to discuss whether or not the 21 allegations Superintendent Graham made against Van Dyke were true.

Once the school board opened the meeting back up to the public, they voted on those reasons.

The four board members unanimously agreed with all but one of those allegations.

They said Graham's allegation that Van Dyke was "persistently negative with staff about the district's central office administration" was false.

School board members had three options for Van Dyke's future as principal.

They could either back Superintendent Graham and non-renew Van Dyke's contract, reject Graham's recommendation and reinstate Van Dyke or continue her contract with certain stipulations.

School board members unanimously voted to back Graham's recommendation.

Van Dyke gave a prepared statement following their decision.

"I would like to thank my family and my THS students who have consistently demonstrated their support of me through emails, cards, posters, prayers. I also want to thank the parents, staff, community members who have stood behind me during this time. Though I was not afforded the opportunity for a name clearing hearing, it was important to me that my students, the staff, the parents and the community members know that the allegations made by Mrs. Graham are untrue," Van Dyke said.

Van Dyke did request another a name clearing hearing for the next scheduled board meeting following the board's decision. They will get back to her on whether or not they will grant that hearing.

Though Van Dyke will no longer be principal, high school seniors voted to have Van Dyke as their speaker at their Baccalaureate.

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