Hamilton superintendent resigns amid investigation, interim one promoted

Hamilton superintendent resigns amid investigation, interim one promoted

HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - Hamilton Superintendent Tony Orr, who was placed on paid administrative leave more than two months ago amid an investigation into allegations he may have violated board policies, resigned this week, school board members announced Thursday.

Acting Superintendent Larry Knapp was permanently named to helm Hamilton's schools. A new associate superintendent, Mike Holbrook, will be hired for the 2018-2019 school year.

Knapp has been with Hamilton City Schools for three years and has been a professional educator for 38 years, with 34 years in administration, including experience as a superintendent, school officials said in a prepared statement.

"I know what students, parents and teachers expect of their school leaders," Knapp said. in the statement, released late Thursday.

"I promise, first of all, to listen. We'll communicate often and we'll communicate clearly. And, always, students come first. We will live out our mission statement: The Hamilton City School District will prepare students for college, career and life."

Orr could not be immediately reached for comment.

His resignation ends an investigation that began in February, said Board of Education President Steve Isgro in the statement.

Orr has been on administrative leave since the investigation began

"Isgro said the board won't go into any more detail about the investigation, other than emphasizing it did not involve students in any way," the statement reads.

"We understand that people may still have questions," Isgro said in the statement. "But, ultimately, this is a personnel matter, and we will honor the privacy of all involved."

"We know this has been a challenging, uncertain time," Isgro said of the investigation. "We're glad to now put that behind us and grateful that we had someone like Larry Knapp we could turn to as our next superintendent."

FOX19 NOW has asked for and will continue to pursue copies of any and all meeting minutes of closed-door sessions the school board has held in recent weeks to discuss Orr and the independent investigation into allegations against him, as well as copies of any and all reports or drafts of that investigation and its conclusion if one was reached.

Isgro repeatedly has declined comment on the matter in the past two months.

He notified Orr in writing on Feb. 5 that Orr was being placed on leave, effective immediately, "pending investigation into allegations of misconduct."

Isgro announced in a news release the following day that Orr was put on leave "as the Board of Education is investigating allegations that Orr may have violated board policies.

"These allegations were brought to our attention and we immediately placed Mr. Orr on leave, following our own policies and procedures, and began an independent investigation."

Isgro said Orr would remain on administrative leave until completion of the investigation and a final resolution of the matter. He was prohibited from being on district property or attending district-sponsored events without written permission from Isgro, according to the letter in his personnel file.

Orr also was ordered to turn in his keys/badge and any other items of board-owned property in his possession.

He earned $156,818 annually, according to his contract, which was to run through July 31, 2020.

His latest job performance evaluation, dated July 25, 2017, gives him nearly all "Commendable" reviews - the highest marks one could receive, a copy of it shows.

This is not the first time a school district has put Orr on leave, however.

When he was superintendent for Northwestern Schools in Clark County, Orr was told not to report to work in late May 2015 until his contract ended that July and he left to helm Hamilton Schools, according to media reports at the time.

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