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Kimberly Lingenfelter announced her resignation today as superintendent of Neligh-Oakdale Public School.
According to an announcement to parents, Lingenfelter plans to leave the district June 30, 2015.
"I wanted to announce to you, the stakeholders of Neligh and Oakdale, that the agenda for the Monday, December 15th board meeting has been updated to include the acceptance of my letter of resignation effective June 30, 2015. Although I have enjoyed my time at Neligh-Oakdale Public Schools facilitating school improvement and striving to meet board and district goals, it is time to move forward. I have always made my decisions based upon what is best for all students and I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to work with a board and staff that share the same philosophy. I will continue to work hard as an advocate for the school district. I wish you continued success and growth."
Board of Education president Carrie Pitzer said Lingenfelter informed her of the resignation, which she called "a huge blow to our school and community."
"While I am extremely disappointed to lose Mrs. Lingenfelter as our superintendent, I understand the reasons behind her decision," Pitzer said. "I wish the Lingenfelter family the best as they move on and thank her for the tireless effort and dedication to student achievement."
Pitzer confirmed that Lingenfelter's annual evaluation was recently completed and said it is on the agenda for next week’s board meeting.
"I cannot discuss the evaluation at this time, but I can say that Mrs. Lingenfelter met requirements for renewal of her contract. Last week, the Budget and Finance Committee, which is responsible for negotiations, offered her a contract extension and salary increase,” Pitzer said. "Mrs. Lingenfelter's overall evaluation by board members was positive, and we were hopeful that she would consider a two-year extension of her contract.”
Lingenfelter has faced many challenges as superintendent, besides the much publicized facility issues. Pitzer said when Lingenfelter arrived in 2010, she immediately asked to see the curriculum, which - once it was located - was stored on a floppy disk. Under her guidance, the school has seen significant improvements in technology, as well as test scores. The most recent statewide testing shows Neligh-Oakdale ranked third (out of 249) in the state in math growth and 27th in reading growth.
"Mrs. Lingenfelter brought much-needed energy and accountability to Neligh-Oakdale. What she accomplished in 3 1/2 years is incredible. I would have liked to have seen the continued improvements under her leadership,” Pitzer said.
Lingenfelter’s salary was publicly criticized during the bond election. However, Pitzer said, she’s actually one of the lower paid superintendents in the comparability array. She said Lingenfelter's salary is less than administrators at nearby Elkhorn Valley, Creighton, Nebraska Unified District #1 (Clearwater-Orchard-Verdigre) and Plainview.
Pitzer said Neligh-Oakdale is "at a crossroad" considering the district not only has to meet the state fire marshal's orders with limited funding available, but also now must hire a new superintendent to see it through the process. That, Pitzer said, is on top of board transition with half of the members having little to no experience.
“This is a difficult time for a superintendent search,” Pitzer said. “With a failed bond, orders from the state fire marshal, and a very public agenda to remove board members.”