Lamoille South school superintendent Tracy Wrend received support for her leadership from the public, despite being at the losing end of a lawsuit filed by a former teacher.
At the top of Monday’s school meeting, that support came from the public; it later came from the board, emerging from a two-hour closed-door session that included talk about the lawsuit.
Leigh Pelletier, board member from Stowe, abstained from the vote, and later resigned from the board.
“With the information at hand, both Tracy Wrend and the former Morristown School Board have our support that the proper process took place surrounding the dismissal of David Bain,” the board wrote in a statement Monday night.
Bain is the former technology teacher at Peoples Academy who was fired in 2014 and, a year later, filed suit against Wrend. A federal jury decided last month that Wrend had retaliated against Bain when she fired him, a ruling Wrend’s lawyer promises to appeal.
Attendance at Monday’s meeting, held at Stowe Elementary School, swelled to over 30 during the public comment portion.
Susan Moore, a retired speech and language pathologist with the district, said of Wrend, “I know her as a person of great integrity who has worked tirelessly to support students.”
Rachel Duffy, who has taught at Peoples for more than 20 years, said she has seen Wrend administer disciplinary action against an employee and, while she “was very stern and probably scary to my colleague,” she said it came from concern for students. She disagreed with people who call Wrend a “bully.”
“I’m concerned about the bandwagon of negativity,” Duffy said.
Bain was one of those in attendance Monday night. He did not say anything during the meeting and left immediately after the public portion.
This was the second school board meeting in a row where the board discussed the lawsuit in executive session. Wrend has not been part of any of those closed-door meetings.
The motion to issue a statement in support of Wrend passed in open session after the confidential portion of the meeting.