Northwestern School Board investigating alleged unprofessional conduct

No action taken in Northwestern superintendent investigation

No action was taken after Northwestern Local Schools board members held a closed executive session late Wednesday in part to consider an investigation of complaints against a public employee.

The district is investigating allegations of unprofessional conduct raised concerning Superintendent Jesse Steiner, according to a statement from the district’s attorney. Northwestern School Board President Donna Myers and other school leaders have declined to detail the allegations.

MORE: Northwestern to discuss complaints amid superintendent probe

Another special board meeting has been called for 1 p.m. Saturday. The agenda calls for the board to go into executive session to discuss an investigation of complaints against a public employee.

Steiner wasn’t at the board meeting Wednesday night. He hasn’t been coming to work since the board started investigating the claim on Nov. 26, Myers has said.

“The superintendent is aware of the investigation and is not reporting to work to allow for a thorough and expeditious investigation,” the statement by the district’s attorney says.

THREE THINGS TO KNOW: Northwestern superintendent investigation

Steiner is being paid, Myers said, and he hasn’t been put on leave. His contract says he is due to make more than $125,000 this school year. Myers hasn’t responded to questions about whether or not he’s using vacation or personal time while not reporting to work.

The Springfield News-Sun hasn’t been able to reach him for comment.

Teacher union representatives didn’t respond to messages seeking comment Thursday.

The News-Sun obtained Steiner’s personnel file through a public records request. The records don’t include anything related to complaints filed against him.

He has received high marks on annual reviews. Board members repeatedly wrote in evaluations that he was leading the district well and communicating with the board.

EXTRA: Northwestern to discuss complaints amid superintendent probe

“You have collaborated well with the board of education to develop a vision and improvement plan for achieving district goals and direction,” his August 2017 evaluation says.

Steiner did a good job executing the district’s strategic plan, the review says.

“We feel that you have engaged well with the board in an open and consistent manner while working toward district initiatives,” it says.

That same review also reminded Steiner to keep interactions with staff professional.

“It is our expectation that all communications and interactions with teachers and staff are handled in a way that is professional and respectful at all times,” the evaluation says. “Disagreements with staff always need to be handled in a professional and private manner.”

Steiner has worked at the district since 2015.

READ: Northwestern investigating allegations against superintendent

No timeline has been set by the school board for the investigation.

“Once the investigation has been completed, the board will take whatever action it deems is in the best interests of the district and the students it serves,” the statement says.

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