Superintendent Resigns Amidst Rising Criticism

Trend of short-term tenures continues

By Jeff Simms

The Beacon City Board of Education announced the resignation of Superintendent Barbara Walkley Thursday night (Jan. 21) during a special public meeting following a closed executive session. Deputy Superintendent Ann Marie Quartironi will replace Walkley on an interim basis.

Walkley, who was hired in February 2015 after a six-month stint as an interim, is the latest in a string of Beacon superintendents who resigned before their contracts expired. Since longtime superintendent Vito DiCesare retired in 2006, the seat has switched eight times.

“I think she came to the conclusion that with so much turmoil going on, her voice wasn’t being heard,” school board President Melissa Thompson said on Friday.

After a series of controversial emails between Walkley and former Beacon Teachers Association President Kimberly Pilla were released publicly, Thompson said “there was just no way (Walkley) could get back to where she needed to be to lead the district.”

Around 150 people, including a number of students, attended the meeting Thursday night. Many of them, both students and parents, applauded at the meeting’s end, after the announcement of Walkley’s resignation.

As interim, Quartironi will receive a $200 per day stipend in addition to her regular salary.

Walkley will be paid for her remaining sick and vacation leave, Thompson said, plus a $45,000 buyout of her contract, which was to have run until June 2018. In all, she will receive just under $63,000.

Thompson also confirmed that it was Walkley who approached the board with the idea of resigning.

The Board of Education will meet again on Monday at 7 p.m. at Beacon High School, and will begin discussing next steps for replacing Walkley.

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