Cherokee needs new superintendent after personnel upheaval

The Cherokee School Board is on the verge of appointing a new superintendent following the termination of Rosemary Townsend after three years on the job.

Board Chairman Anthony Sequoyah said Townsend was an at-will employee and that the board chose not to renew her contract “for several reasons,” which he declined to specify. The vote came three weeks ago.

Sequoyah named former Cherokee Chief Joyce Dugan as a leading contender for superintendent, but no action was taken at the board’s Monday (June 29) meeting to confirm a contract offer.

William Geddes, principal of Cherokee Elementary School, also retired last week for health reasons, according to Sequoyah. Geddes had chosen not to renew his Assistant Principal Keith Mallonee’s contract shortly before the time Townsend was terminated, Sequoyah said.

Sequoyah categorically denied that Townsend’s departure had anything to do with a large school budget shortfall, which she sought stopgap funds from the tribal council to cover — albeit unsuccessfully.

Sequoyah disputed a rumor that an exodus of teachers was imminent if Townsend was kept on. Sequoyah called that “ridiculous, especially with all the younger teachers coming up from other school systems. I have no knowledge of anything like that.”

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