WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The New Hanover County Board of Education announced Friday that it has unanimously accepted the resignation of Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley. His resignation is effective immediately.
The announcement comes after the board met in closed session for over five hours.
The board will pay Markley $195,000 in severance and $32,966.66 in benefits.
“The board believes that separating from Dr. Markley is the best solution to move this system forward,” said board chair Lisa Estep in a statement following the decision.
Dr. LaChawn Smith will continue to serve as New Hanover County’s deputy superintendent. The board will meet next week to determine the next steps in naming an interim superintendent.
Following the announcement, the board released the following statement: “We are sorry to our students, families, and community.”
The board also announced different procedures and programs that will be implemented in the wake of the scandal.
Estep said the board has requested county funding for two full-time employees to address concerns related to Title IX issues, harassment and bullying. The board has also requested immediate funding for additional cameras in school hallways and stairwells and security surveillance.
The board is exploring a way to conduct a “thorough review of all personnel files without exception,” in accordance with state law.
“The community is concerned and rightfully so. Our system will work to provide our families with the help and support they need and we will share any and all information publicly as we are able,” Estep said.
Calls for Markley’s resignation or firing have been constant at community events, public board meetings and social media posts following the arrest of Roland-Grise Middle School band teacher Peter Frank last week.
Frank is the third district employee to be charged with sex crimes involving a student in the past two years.
“It’s time for a change...it’s time for them to clean house,” said Jim Lea, who is one of the attorneys representing sex abuse victims linked to the school sex scandal. “There was a lot of people who knew a lot of things but didn’t do anything about it so it was totally appropriate for the superintendent to resign in light of what’s been happening in the past several years-in the last 20 years."
“It has been my privilege to serve New Hanover County Schools for the last decade,” Markley stated in a news release. “During this time, the district’s graduation rate has increased to the highest level ever. Our schools are among the best in the state, and our students continue to thrive academically, leading the region and strongly competitive throughout the state.
“I have been most fortunate to work with some of the finest educators in the state. I wish the board and everyone the very best.”
In 2019, Markley was named the Regional Superintendent of the Year — an honor he won in 2015, as well.
In the board’s statement, Estep discussed grade-specific programs for all K-12 students to protect and educate them about boundaries, sexual assault, and relationship abuse.
In partnership with Trillium, all NHCS staff will receive mental health first aid training.
“To the community, you will see our actions. Our actions will prove our students, teachers, and families are our priority,” Estep said.