The Northeastern School Board voted 6-3 Monday night to not renew Supt. Jody Nace's contract, which expires June 30.
And board member Albert Byrnes resigned from the board later in the same meeting following an impassioned plea to retain Nace, bringing tears to the superintendent's eyes.
Byrnes said the decision would destroy the trust of the district faculty and effectively remove the "Bobcat Way" mission statement from the wall that Nace brought to the district: "100 percent of our students will graduate and be fully prepared for a post-secondary education."
"This motion is very wrong," Byrnes said, drawing applause from the audience.
Board members Christine Hess and Chris Neiman also wanted to keep Nace.
President Margie Walker said following the meeting the board could not discuss the reasons behind the decision because it is a personnel issue.
She said that per Nace's contract, the superintendent must be notified if the board does not intend to grant her a new contract.
Nace issued a written statement to the news media after the board meeting, expressing her plan to cooperate with the board and ensure a smooth transition to a new superintendent.
Nace wrote that the board has informed her that she is not being investigated for any wrongdoing, and that the board is simply exercising its prerogative not to renew her contract.
News of the impending decision drew Nace
David Darrah of North Sherman Street said district parents he talked to about the issue were both "shocked" and "saddened" by the decision.
"From looking at the district report card, it is clear the district is moving forward," he said, adding Nace, "maintained a highly qualified staff during a time of economic challenge."
Bobcat Foundation President Diane Wolf said she polled members of her organization and found they supported Nace.
In Nace, "I do believe I have met someone who has met or surpassed my passion" for the district, Wolf said.
Nace is in her tenth year with the district, having started as principal of Spring Forge Intermediate School in 2003. Later, she was an assistant superintendent for three years before being named superintendent in July 2010.
Previously, she held administrative posts at York Suburban and Eastern York school districts and started her career as a sixth-grade teacher at Elizabethtown Middle School.