Huntington school leader hastily quits

May 2, 2019

Huntington County Community Schools is on the hunt for a new superintendent following the resignation of its leader Wednesday.

The 5,100-student district offered few details about Randy Harris’ departure nearly four years after he assumed the post : only that he and the school board agreed it was in the interest of both parties, said Matt Roth, board president.

“It truly was a mutual decision to part ways and to part ways right now,” Roth said by phone Wednesday.

“We hold Mr. Harris in nothing but high regard,” he added.

The board accepted the superintendent’s resignation and approved a separation agreement at a special meeting Tuesday night. The motion passed 6-0, with member Gary McClellan abstaining.

Roth could not disclose details of the separation agreement because it is a personnel matter, he said.

The board immediately will begin the process of filling the vacancy. Someone could be in place within weeks if the board chooses an internal candidate, Roth said.

Assistant superintendents Chad Daugherty and Scott Bumgardner will be responsible for regular operations until a superintendent is hired, according to a news release.

Harris began as superintendent in August 2015 following unanimous approval of a three-year contract with an annual base salary of $125,000.

The board most recently extended his contract in August in a 4-3 vote, according to meeting minutes.

The contract was through June 30, 2020, and included a $128,000 salary, according to district documents posted on its website.

Harris guided the school system through such challenges as redistricting, closing two elementary schools, reopening Horace Mann Elementary School and remodeling projects at Huntington North High School, the release said.

Tom Gross, co-president of the Huntington Classroom Teachers’ Association, described Harris as a friend to public education.

“HCTA appreciates him for ‘walking-in’ with his teachers to show his support of us,” Gross said by email. “Last year, when two of our elementary schools closed, he worked with HCTA to successfully reassign 35 teachers. Through this process, he honored teachers for their loyalty to HCCSC. We wish Mr. Harris the best in his future plans.”

The board offered similar parting words.

“The board thanks Mr. Harris for his service to HCCSC and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors,” the release said.