Secrecy around HHS principalís absence
By Dwayne Bremer
Oct 19, 2013, 01:19
Hancock High School was missing principal Rhett Ladner this week, but school district officials would not comment on where Ladner was or if he will return.
The Hancock County School District Board of Trustees conducted an emergency meeting last Sunday to discuss a "personnel matter" in executive session, school district attorney Mark Alexander said Thursday.
The media was not notified of the meeting.
Alexander said he could neither confirm nor deny that Ladner was the subject of the meeting or if any action was taken.
"I would prefer to let the minutes of the meeting speak for themselves," Alexander said.
However, school administrators said Thursday that the minutes of the meeting will not be available for public viewing until they are approved by the school board on Nov. 12.
A school source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that Ladner has been placed on administrative leave with pay for 10 days while the district conducts an internal investigation.
The source declined to elaborate on the nature of the investigation.
When asked about Ladner's employment status on Monday, Superintendent Alan Dedeaux deferred questions to Assistant Superintendent Donnie Gholston.
Gholston declined comment, saying it was a "personnel matter."
Neither Dedeaux, Gholston, nor Alexander would confirm or deny that Ladner had been placed on any type of leave, but Alexander said Ladner was still employed.
"Mr. Ladner is an employee of the Hancock County School District," Alexander said Thursday.
Ladner -- the 2012 School Administrator of the Year for Mississippi's Fourth Congressional District -- has been the principal at HHS for the past five years.
Under his watch, the school has achieved an A-Rating Start School status.
The Sea Coast Echo attempted to reach Ladner at the school on four separate occasions this week.
Calls to his office and cell phone seeking comment were not returned by press time Friday.