Schools' interim leader is selected

File/Staff
Frank Roberson ended contract negotiations with the board.

EDGEFIELD, S.C. - The Edgefield County School District officially named Frank Roberson its interim superintendent Friday, three days after he and the board reached an impasse on a contract for the permanent superintendent position.

The school board met in special session Friday at the district office.

School board chairwoman Sallie Cooks said the district will begin its second superintendent search in nine months as quickly as it can.

Sharon Keesley announced her retirement from the position in September 2006. Dr. Roberson was chosen by the board to replace Dr. Keesley this spring, and was set to begin his duties as superintendent July 1.

However, a contract dispute resulted in Dr. Roberson withdrawing from negotiations in a letter dated July 3. The school board then voted 4-2 on Friday to give him the interim title.

Board members Brad Covar and Scott Chitty were both opposed to Dr. Roberson's nomination. Board members James Bibbs, Viola Jackson, Mary Jackson and Ms. Cooks voted in favor of Dr. Roberson becoming interim superintendent.

Member Andy Livingston was absent.

According to school officials, Dr. Roberson's contract negotiations broke down over a proposed clause that would have allowed him to leave the district with a 60-day notice. Dr. Roberson was in favor of the clause, while the district was not.

Dr. Roberson said his decision to end contract negotiations was in the best interest of his family. Increased family responsibilities put an even greater importance on the 60-day clause, he said.

"It is not a selfish thing on my part, it's looking at how to (best) look after family," he said.

District attorney Greg Anderson described the clause as uncommon and said no other Edgefield County administrator has ever had such a clause in a contract.

In an e-mail dated July 5, Dr. Roberson told Mr. Anderson that he was willing to serve as interim superintendent until January.

Friday's meeting saw the school board go into a nearly three-hour closed session before emerging to announce the end of Dr. Roberson's contract negotiations and a vote on the interim position.