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Superintendent Resigns After Non-renewal of Contract

Randy Rodriguez, superintendent since 2012, resigned at a special Board of Education meeting Monday, effective immediately. Rodriguez’s decision to leave the post follows the board’s decision last month to not renew his contract, which was set to expire at the end of June.

Despite not renewing the contract, the board gave Rodriguez a positive evaluation last month. He said it was his decision to resign now rather than complete the remainder of his contract. The board split 3 to 3 on whether to accept his resignation, with one member absent.

“It’s been a great ride,” Rodriguez told the board. “This is my decision. I want to be able to maximize my leadership, and if I can’t do that then it’s time for me to go.”

Referenced at the meeting and according to board minutes, three female administrators in November 2016 filed a Title VII complaint alleging violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII is a federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin and religion.

‘This is a great community. It’s been like family to me.’ — Randy Rodriguez

Legal counsel investigated the complaint and found “no unlawful allegations were substantiated,” said Trustee Mike LoMonaco. He said several action items were initiated after the investigation to improve relationships among members of the administrative team.

The board unanimously approved a settlement agreement with Rodriguez, and appointed Kent ISD Superintendent Ron Caniff as acting superintendent while the board searches for a new superintendent. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed at the meeting, and board President Marcy Wright referred questions to Caniff.

“Education is a people business, and oftentimes the heart of the issue is that relationships break down and become strained, and I suspect that is what’s taking place,” Caniff said, crediting Rodriguez with doing great things for the district. “Caledonia is an exceptional school district.”

Rodriguez served the district for 14 years as Caledonia Elementary School principal, curriculum director and assistant superintendent before being hired as superintendent.

He gave an emotional goodbye to the board and a small group of staff community members at the meeting.

“Being the superintendent has been rewarding and a great opportunity for growth, professionally and personally,” Rodriguez said. “There’s no higher calling than to educate our children, and help them discover their true passions so they can be contributing members of our community.”

He told staff members to keep up the good work. “Rise up, carry the baton and make it happen,” he said.

He said it’s time for the district and community to unite behind a new superintendent.

“This is a great community,” he said afterward. “It’s been like family to me. They have a bright future. I’m at peace with my decision.”

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers and On-the-Town Magazine. She has been covering the many exciting facets of K-12 public education for School News Network since 2013. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.

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