Here’s what you need to know ahead of the district’s emergency meeting Friday.
The Salt Lake City School Board will meet Friday in the latest step of a months-long saga involving its first Black superintendent, Timothy Gadson III.
Board members will meet for a closed session at 4 p.m. to discuss “character, professional competence, or physical or mental Health of an individual; and/or deployment of security personnel, devices, or systems.” The lone agenda item for the public session that follows at 5 p.m. is an memorandum of understanding with the superintendent.
Gadson asked for mediation after the board placed him on administrative leave in July. Board members offered to buy out the second year of his contract in exchange for his resignation. He had only just completed a year on the job after being hired to replace Lexi Cunningham — who resigned but was actually pushed out, according to a former board member — in 2021.
District spokesperson Yándary Chatwin could not confirm Wednesday whether mediation had occurred.
A trip Gadson took to private religious Grand Canyon University in Arizona in January, concerns from parents and others about several of his administrator hires, and responses to an employee survey alleging he has treated district employees disrespectfully have caused the board to question his standing, The Salt Lake Tribune has reported.
However, his defenders have pointed to missteps by the district’s human resources department and argued that racism is behind many of the complaints. Jeanetta Williams, president of the Salt Lake City branch of the NAACP, has asked the U.S. attorney’s office and the Department of Justice to launch an investigation into alleged discrimination and harassment of Gadson by the school board.
Board member Mohamed Baayd has said that while Gadson “is not an angel,” the board made little effort to coach him through his mistakes. Instead, he said, officials and board members started building a plan to move on from him well before the trip to Grand Canyon University.