Gilbert Unified School District governing board member Traci Klein surprised the board Tuesday night with her resignation, according to two board members.
“It came as a total surprise, and no reasons were given,” board member Thad Stump said. “It’s unfortunate, but we have to move on.”
Board clerk Van J. Dunham said the resignation was “totally out of the blue” and “came as a shock.”
“I’m going to miss her being on the board because she was an advocate for special education, and I have a special needs child,” Dunham said.
The district met Tuesday night in a closed session for a superintendent candidate interview and to discuss other issues.
At the beginning of the meeting, board members were handed Klein’s letter of resignation.
Klein, a board member since January 2005, was not at the meeting. Her resignation was effective immediately, according to the letter.
Calls to Klein were not returned Wednesday.
In the short resignation letter, which Dunham read by phone, she wrote, “I really enjoyed working with all of you. The current members of this board are truly exceptional, caring, and dedicated to the welfare of every child in this district. I’ve learned valuable lessons from each of you. This experience has enriched my life.”
The resignation comes at a time when the board is in the middle of deciding who will be the next district superintendent. However, Stump and Dunham said Klein’s resignation will not affect the board’s process in choosing a superintendent.
The board announced last week the four internal superintendent candidates who were in the running, and the board expects to make a decision by its first meeting in March.
Stump said Klein’s resignation is “obviously a loss to the board and our functioning, but at the same time we’re left with four members.”
“We’ve had holes in the board before,” said Stump, adding he was appointed to a board position about four years ago after a member left, and board member Elaine Morrison was appointed last year to fill a vacancy.
“The same thing will happen again,” Stump said. “It’s unfortunate it had to happen during the superintendent search. This board even with Traci has been not of one mind, but our vision for the district seems pretty uniform. The fact that Traci’s not here is an inconvenience, a pain, but we can still get the job done.”
The Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools will appoint an individual to fill the vacancy left by Klein.
Anyone interested in serving on the board can call (602) 506-3866 or visit www.maricopa.gov/schools.
Klein’s term was supposed to end Dec. 31, so anyone who fills the position would have to re-run to stay on the board past that date.