The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 4, 2014

Interim superintendent named in Diamond after superintendent placed on leave

DIAMOND, Mo. — The Diamond Board of Education has placed Superintendent Trisha Wilson on paid leave and named an interim superintendent to lead the district for the rest of the school year.

Minutes of a board meeting held behind closed doors last Thursday note a unanimous vote to place Wilson on paid leave effective March 1. Another unanimous vote appointed Gene Rice as interim superintendent at $8,000 a month for four months.

“I look forward to working with the board, the faculty and the staff here,” Rice said by phone Tuesday of his new assignment.

He was asked how he was contacted about the job.

“The president of the board called me,” he said. “How my name surfaced, I don’t know. The rest is history.”

He said he didn’t remember the date he received the call.

Rice, 67, retired in 2006 from the Fair Grove School District. He had previously served as superintendent in Pierce City and in Morrisville. He said 36 years of his 37-year education career was in administration.

Diamond represents the fifth time he has served as interim superintendent since his retirement, he said.

A separation agreement signed by board President Jill Renfro and Wilson agrees to continue to pay Wilson’s annual $92,415 salary through Jan. 31, 2015. The agreement was signed on Feb. 13 by Renfro and by Wilson on Feb. 12. The latter was a date of a closed-door meeting at which the board voted to accept Wilson’s resignation.

A provision in the separation agreement states that anytime after March 1, either the board or Wilson could elect to place Wilson on paid leave with health insurance through June 30.

Renfro was asked at a Feb. 19 meeting who would be leading the district after March 1.

“Dr. Wilson is here until June 30,” Renfro said, with Wilson seated beside her.

Renfro on Tuesday didn’t respond to a request for comment sent to her through her school district email address.

No number could be found for Wilson since she isn’t at the district. She previously didn’t return calls seeking comment about the situation.

‘Differences’

The separation agreement with Superintendent Trisha Wilson states that “differences have arisen” between the board and Wilson.

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