A Joplin schoolteacher, whose lawsuit against a former district assistant superintendent was dismissed last week, has refiled his petition, adding two other administrators as defendants.
The suit from plaintiff Larry Masters, formerly the principal of Royal Heights Elementary School, was filed last week in Jasper County Circuit Court. It lists as defendants Angie Besendorfer, former assistant superintendent and currently the chancellor of the online university WGU Missouri; Superintendent C.J. Huff; and Steve Doerr, a retired assistant superintendent.
Masters’ four-page petition alleges that the three administrators interfered in his ability to continue his employment as Royal Heights principal, a position he held from 2004 until 2010.
According to the petition, the defendants “intentionally interfered in (Masters’) expectancy by making false representations about (his) character to the Joplin Schools Board of Education,” which had voted in March 2010 to renew his contract as principal for the 2010-11 school year.
The petition does not provide details on what those “false representations” were, although Masters’ original lawsuit alleged that he had been accused of violating the regulations governing the administration of state standardized tests.
The board rescinded its contract offer in April 2010 because of the defendants’ testimony, according to the petition. Masters alleges that as a result, he suffered lost wages and mental and emotional distress; he is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.
Raymond Lampert, Masters’ Springfield-based attorney, did not return a call seeking comment. A school district spokeswoman confirmed that Masters is still an employee of the school district. He just completed the past school year as a special education teacher for the district.
Both Huff and Doerr, who retired from the district in 2010, said Monday that they had not seen the petition and declined to comment.
In a statement emailed to the Globe, Besendorfer also declined to comment specifically.
“As with the previous lawsuit, this is a Joplin Schools personnel issue and has to be treated with a high degree of confidentiality and respect for the employees,” she said. “Those who are familiar with me know I have always acted professionally and in the best interests of students.”
Masters had filed suit in January against Besendorfer alone, alleging intentional interference with his hiring as principal. That lawsuit was dismissed earlier this month by a circuit court judge at the request of Masters’ attorney. That request had held open the option to refile the lawsuit.
In his lawsuit against three current and former Joplin administrators, Larry Masters has requested a jury trial.