SD 227 board fires member’s wife
BY SARAH ZYLSTRA Correspondent August 12, 2013 9:36PM
Updated: September 14, 2013 6:14AM
The Rich Township High School District 227 Board has dismissed an assistant principal, Bridget Imoukhuede, the wife of board member Emanuel Imoukhuede.
The board voted 4 to 1 last week to remove Imoukhuede, with board president Cheryl Coleman, Antoine Bass, Delores Woods and David Morgan voting in favor. Board member Betty Owens voted against the action, and Shelia Friday abstained. Emanuel Imoukhuede was not present.
“The reason why the board took the stance that it did was tied directly to the improper expulsion of students,” Coleman said. “It’s all about accountability.”
Improper expulsions also was a reason cited by the school board when it fired Supt. Donna Leak in June. Leak, who was superintendent since 2010 and had four years left on her contract, filed a lawsuit against the board, contending that she was dismissed unfairly based on “false and frivolous charges” stemming from some board members personal bias against her.
The school board has a new four-member majority after the election in April and has indicated it will pursue personnel changes and academic reform. But the board remains politically divided, with Imoukhuede now a member of the faction that’s in the minority.
Bridget Imoukhuede, who had worked in District 227 for nearly 24 years, was assistant principal of the alternative program at the district’s night school and also was a hearing officer for students who needed discipline. The school board recently voted to close the night school because of insufficient enrollment.
“Her position as a hearing officer is where the real concern was,” Coleman said. “She didn’t follow the process that was laid out.”
Emanuel Imoukhuede said his wife did not do anything wrong.
“My wife has been a very good administrator and a teacher,” he said. “There is nothing wrong with her management. She did the job very well. She was assigned a job by the boss, and if she refused to do it, that would have been insubordination. She did the job she was assigned to do.”
Her work was approved by both the superintendent and the board at the time, he said.
Bridget Imoukhuede has not yet decided whether she will sue the district regarding her firing, according to her attorney, Jerome Davis.
“The charges are merely a pretext for retaliating against Dr. Imoukhuede because of the criticism of board policy by her husband,” Davis said. “We’re confident that Dr. Imoukhuede will be fully vindicated through the legal process. She has not done anything wrong.”