Niles schools face more staffing issues

NILES, Mich. A Niles school administrator placed on paid leave makes the fourth suspension or resignation in the last four months for Niles Community Schools.

“It's been a very, very hectic time,” said Dr. Michael Lindley, Interim Superintendent of Niles Community Schools.

Most recently, Niles Community Schools placed administrator Amy Scott on paid suspension while Michigan's Teacher Tenure Commission completes an investigation of charges against her.

Scott is the district's director of curriculum and instruction.

“The school board, in this case, acts much like a grand jury would act,” Lindley said. “They would not judge the allegations, they heard no testimony, they heard no witnesses. Basically they determined that there was a preponderance of evidence and we should proceed to tenure charges.”

The District is unable to release the nature of those charges at this time. NewsCenter16 has filed a written FOIA request for a list of those charges if and when they are made available.

Lindley said they do not involve students in any way.

This is the third time in four months Niles schools have run into problems with staff members in particular. A teacher, Adam Zmudzinski, was pulled off the job in February following accusations that he drank alcohol at work, and other issues. Then former Superintendent Richard Weigel stepped down in March because of disagreements with the school board.

Michael Lindley is taking over as interim superintendent while the district finds a permanent replacement for Weigel, so he has a lot on his plate during his first month on the job.

“There are a lot of good people here in Niles and unfortunately our time and attention is being focused on some of the things that have happened that we aren’t necessarily proud of at this time,” Lindley said. “We have high expectations for everyone that works with children in this district and that’s something that there's no middle ground on.”
On top of all the suspensions, school board member Michael Waldron resigned last month because he was unhappy with how the board handled Weigel's resignation.

The Leader reports three people have applied to fill the open school board seat. The candidates were interviewed Friday and the May 19 board meeting could bring the recommendation and approval of Waldron’s replacement.

The district must choose a new board member by May 21. That person will serve through December.

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