UPDATE Thursday 10:51 pm: Flagler School Board Attorney Kristy Gavin declined to comment on the ongoing investigation, but said that “the District will frequently place an employee on administrative leave with pay to protect the integrity of the investigation.”
PALM COAST – In a major escalation of the ongoing dispute between Wadsworth Elementary School Principal Paul Peacock and the Flagler County school district, Peacock has been placed on administrative leave. It marks the district’s sharpest action against Peacock yet, following his filing of a grievance against the district in December.
Peacock will receive pay, and a letter sent to him on Monday stated that the leave will be in effect until an investigation is complete. The grievance filed by Peacock in December held that now-outgoing Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt improperly demoted him from a district position to WES Principal.
AskFlagler has reached out to Peacock, his legal counsel, and to School Board Attorney Kristy Gavin for elaboration on the nature of the leave, and any information they may supply will be added to this article once received. Acting Superintendent LaShakia Moore, who will hold the position for the coming months after the Board’s April firing of Mittelstadt, signed off on the letter.
In the months since Peacock took action against Flagler Schools, his role within the district has been subject to intense scrutiny. Peacock and Board member Sally Hunt were accused by many of conspiring to orchestrate the ousting of Mittelstadt, and a series of texts obtained by AskFlagler showed that Peacock sent Hunt what seemed to be a step-by-step procedure for terminating her. Both Peacock and Hunt have disputed characterizations that they colluded.
Read More: School Board Axes Mittelstadt by 3-2 Vote Despite Public Support
When the Board took up the decision of whether to bring back Mittelstadt last month, Hunt was joined by Christy Chong and Will Furry in the majority to let her go, beating out the efforts of Colleen Conklin and Cheryl Massaro, along with the overwhelming majority of public commenters, to keep Mittelstadt on board.
While the likelihood of any directly involved parties expanding upon this development is probably slim, the matter is almost guaranteed to be a topic of discussion at the next scheduled School Board meeting. Tuesday, May 16th will have a workshop at 1:00 pm and a regular meeting at 6:00 pm.