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School board members mostly silent on reasoning for Tiller administrative leave

Posted at 7:33 PM, Feb 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-22 20:33:20-05

GREEN BAY (NBC26) — A day after the release of the radio interview that led to the resignation of former superintendent Claude Tiller Jr., Green Bay Area Public Schools board members are not giving away which parts of the interview led them to place Tiller on administrative leave.

  • NBC 26 reached out to all seven GBAPS board members Thursday
  • Four responded, with responses from three included in the transcript below
  • The board meets again in closed session Monday (Feb. 26) to discuss the hiring process of a new superintendent

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

We showed you the two-hour radio interview that led to the resignation of Green Bay superintendent Claude Tiller, Jr.

Now we're getting reaction. We reached out to all seven school board members to ask what in the interview led to Tiller being placed on leave and resigning.

The now former superintendent Tiller spoke about race in Green Bay and in his district throughout the two-hour interview on WAOK in Atlanta — at one point criticizing a principal at a high school in the district.

"Because this wicked witch, she signed, she's leaving at the end of this year, she's moving on, but she's doing everything in her power to get him," Tiller said as a livestream of the interview rolled online.

The school board members who responded to me say they can't speak specifically about the interview or parts of it.

Which specific parts of the radio interview were in question?

"I can't comment on that," board member Andrew Becker said. "That's a personnel investigation, and we conducted an investigation based on some concerns about the radio interview, and that investigation, when he resigned, that was the end of the investigation."

How did the interview come to the attention of the board?

"I don't know how it came to our attention in the first place," Becker said. "Someone might, I don't."

Can you confirm that the closed session meetings were about that radio interview?

"So I really can't talk about anything that happens in a closed session," Becker said.

Vice president James Lyerly told me this:

"There were certain statements the board wanted to follow up on and we worked with external counsel to navigate that process. It is inappropriate for me to comment now or in the future on the substance of the investigation or discussions and deliberations that occurred in closed session."

Board member Lynn Gerlach also said she wouldn't speak on the topic because the discussion happened in closed session.

"The important thing for people to understand is to watch the video," Gerlach said.

You can see the full video right now, here.

We asked becker about the turnover at the superintendent position in recent years.

"Having an early resignation like this and having to start the search over — that's disappointing when that happens," Becker said.

Becker says Tiller did some good things for the district.

"I worked well with Dr. Tiller," he said.

I also spoke with community members about Tiller's departure.

Ed Dorff, who raised the issue at a school board meeting ten days ago, did not want to speak with us.

Rhonda Chandler started a non-profit because she saw a need for minority students in the area. She says it's sad for Green Bay to lose its first Black superintendent.

"That school [district] is changing, so seeing that representation was important for students, for families, for staff, so it's really an unfortunate situation," Chandler said.

The board is meeting at the District Office building Monday night — again in closed session — to consider how it will hire Tiller's successor.