HOXIE, Ark. (KAIT) - After nearly 5 hours, the Hoxie School Board voted to reinstate Dr. Lori McKenzie as the high school principal.
Gillham and McKenzie came to an agreement under the stipulations that the superintendent is the direct supervisor, it is the principal’s duty to keep the superintendent informed of any situation that might impact the school district, and communication is a must between administrators.
Both parties say they are happy with the outcome.
“I am so excited, and I’m so excited to get back to school tomorrow and be with the students and the staff. I’m just overwhelmed with support from the community,” McKenzie said. “I think there was some misinformation and a lack of communication, so I think this will help this greatly.”
“I think it’s a good resolve. It helps send everybody home where nobody won anything, but it was worked out,” said Donn Mixon, attorney for Hoxie School District
On Monday night, Superintendent Kelly Gillham said McKenzie’s contract shouldn’t be renewed because she didn’t properly handle disciplinary actions, let her secretary handle those actions, didn’t follow the school policy on bullying, didn’t enforce the dress code policy, and didn’t report to Gillham that a coach threatened referees at a basketball game.
McKenzie disputed the dress code and bullying allegations and explained that there’s no protocol for administrators on duty at basketball games.
We know at least three teachers showed support for the principal at the meeting.
The school board entered an executive session just after 9 p.m. and announced the decision just before 11 p.m.
The school district’s attorney told us in mid-April, Dr. McKenzie was placed on paid administrative leave.
“I am investigating certain matters but cannot go into details,” Superintendent Kelly Gillham said.
Attorney Rebecca Worsham said in a statement to Region 8 News that Lori McKenzie was placed on leave.
Region 8 News will have more details as they become available.