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Three school district officials resign in Mt. Shasta after pushback

Sisson School, where Tuesday's meeting took place, with Mt. Shasta in the background.
Jane Vaughan
Sisson School, where Friday's meeting took place, with Mt. Shasta in the background.

At a Friday morning meeting of the Mount Shasta Union School District School Board, the district's superintendent and two board members resigned.

This comes after the Mount Shasta Elementary Teachers Association, as well as parents and community members, signed letters between April 29 and May 2 expressing votes of no confidence in Superintendent Tami Beall, claiming that she has failed to meet the board's expectations, created a hostile work environment and been an ineffective leader.

On Friday, the board held a closed session meeting in which they discussed the potential discipline or dismissal of a public employee, as well as a performance evaluation for the superintendent.

After emerging from closed session, Board President Nancy Swift announced that the board had unanimously accepted the resignation of Superintendent Beall, who was not at the open session portion of the meeting, effective June 30. Swift said the terms and conditions of the resignation are still being finalized, and Beall will receive severance.

"She's expressed a desire to move on to other endeavors, and we wish her the very best in her new chapter," Swift said.

Swift then read a letter on behalf of Board Member Mona Gutierrez, who was also absent from the open session portion of the meeting, announcing her resignation effective today.

"It was an honor to serve," Gutierrez wrote in the letter.

Board Member Kay Scovill then read a letter announcing her own resignation, effective June 30.

In it, she said Beall had kept the district solvent, maintained small class sizes and repaired a damaged roof.

“In my three decades as an educator, including eight years as a board trustee and five of those years as board president, I have never worked with a better superintendent," Scovill wrote in an emailed statement to JPR.

After the resignations, Board Vice President Jessma Evans spoke.

"We will rebuild and make the school that we want to have, and we will have open communication and transparency, and we will do it all together. And I would encourage Trustee Scovill to consider resigning sooner than that [June 30] so we can get started," she said.

Beall and Gutierrez did not respond to a request for comment.

"Ms. Beall has created a hostile work environment for employees through intimidation and deceitful communication," reads the letter from the teachers association. "The bottom line is that employees are afraid of her."

"Given how quickly the schools’ climates and the district’s relationships with the community have deteriorated, and given Superintendent Beall’s questionable leadership and concerning communication style, the potential for litigation will continue to increase as long as Beall remains in the district," states a separate letter from district parents.

In April, tensions flared within the district when residents packed a school board meeting to urge the board to reinstate a probationary teacher whose contract was not renewed in March, but the board did not reverse its decision.

According to California state law, school districts don’t have to give a reason why they choose not to continue with a teacher who is still in their probationary period.

Beall has been superintendent of the district for two years. Scovill's term was set to expire this year, while Gutierrez's was set to expire in 2026.

Mt. Shasta Union Elementary has 465 students in grades K-8, and Sisson School has nearly 300 students in grades 4-8, according to data from the California Department of Education.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Board President Swift said, "We each have a role in the success of this district. I look forward to working with each of you to get to a place where we are rowing in the same direction."

Jane Vaughan is a regional reporter for Jefferson Public Radio. Jane began her journalism career as a reporter for a community newspaper in Portland, Maine. She's been a producer at New Hampshire Public Radio and worked on WNYC's On The Media.