District 209 Superintendent Stan Fields confirmed Friday that Co-Principal Melvin Berry was suspended from his job on Sept. 27. Fields declined to comment on the reasons for Berry’s suspension, citing employee confidentiality laws.
Berry is on paid administrative leave, Fields said.
At the time of the suspension, Berry was pulling double-duty after the board terminated Richard Bryant on Sept. 25. Bryant and Berry had shared administrative responsibilities at PMSA.
On an interim basis, Fields said he will serve as the magnet school’s principal and the district’s superintendent. Advertising efforts got underway earlier this week to hire a new principal for the school, Fields said.
D209 board President Chris Welch said a written communication informing board members of the suspension was received Sept. 27 from Fields. Though the school is without either of its top administrators and is roughly six weeks into the school year, Welch said parents should not be concerned.
“I don’t think there’s cause for alarm because we’ve got a solid superintendent who’s got everything under control,” Welch said Friday. “Our team is bigger than one piece.”
Berry could not be reached for comment on Friday.
Carl Williams, president of the PMSA Parent-Teacher-Student Association said Friday he was not aware of Berry’s suspension. However, Williams too, expressed confidence in Fields’ decision to suspend Berry despite having no knowledge of the reasons for doing so.
“I love the leadership and the energy that (Fields) brings,” Williams said. “Mr. Bryant and Mr. Berry were good for PMSA but their time has come. It’s time to move on.”
Williams said he attended an all-day school event on Thursday, and was encouraged by talks of an evaluation of the academy’s academic offerings.
Fields confirmed that no effort to inform parents of Berry’s suspension was made.
D209 board member Charles Flowers said the issues surrounding Berry’s suspension were discussed in executive session at the Sept. 25 board meeting. He declined to discuss specifics, but said the “allegations” leading to the reprimand are “old.” At face value, Flowers said he was not prepared to say whether he supported the decision to suspend Berry, and will reserve judgment until further information becomes available.