The Haines School Board decided to end Superintendent Tony Habra’s contract because it was not satisfied with his work performance. The board president released a statement explaining the decision about two weeks after Habra’s departure. .
“In June, the School Board began its formal annual evaluation process of the Superintendent,” says board president Anne Marie Palmieri, reading from a statement the group released about Habra’s resignation. The statement follows calls from residents who asked for more transparency from the board.
“This was a multi-layered process with input opportunities from Mr. Habra, staff, students, and community members as well as individual School Board members,” reads Palmieri. “At that point, the School Board consensus was that Mr. Habra’s work performance did not sufficiently meet the depth or breadth of the District’s needs for strong leadership.”
The board met behind closed doors four times to discuss Habra’s first yearly evaluation and contract.
“The School Board then considered several options about how to proceed,” says Palmieri. “After long and thoughtful discussion, the School Board determined that it was in the best interests of the District and community to negotiate the dissolution of his contract.”
Habra is receiving a $66,000 settlement from the district because his contract is ending early.
“Mr. Habra agreed to resign in exchange for the settlement funding provided for in the contract,” reads Palmieri. “No formal evaluation was completed.”
Habra declined to comment for this story. The board’s statement also details the professional development opportunities he was provided over the course of the year. They included an onboarding meeting facilitated by the Association of Alaska School Boards, a couple evaluation and feedback sessions with the board, and a mentorship program through the Alaska Council of School Administrators.
“This decision was difficult,” says Palmieri. “We appreciate the work that Mr. Habra performed over the last year.”
At a recent meeting, the board voted to hire Rich Carlson as interim superintendent. He retired a few years ago after a dozen years as superintendent in Klawock. Carlson was previously interim superintendent in Haines during the 2015-2016 school year.
“We look forward to working with Interim Superintendent Rich Carlson over the next year on budget and strategic plan issues to position the District in a positive place to transition to a permanent Superintendent,” says Palmieri.
The board expects Carlson to be back in Haines in August.