Part of the mystery about the departure of two top administrators at Evanston Township High School has now been cleared up.
But the reasons behind their exit are still unknown.
In response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Evanston Now, the school has provided copies of the retirement agreement for Chief Human Resources Officer Toya Campbell and the resignation agreement for Assistant HR Director Yolanda Hardy.
Those agreements were unanimously approved by the District 202 Board of Education Monday night.
Both Campbell and Hardy have been on paid administrative leave since October, but no explanation for that action was ever made public.
And the retirement/resignation papers do not explain it either.
The documents do say that Campbell and Hardy will continue on paid leave through June 30, with continuation of salary and benefits through that date.
According to district records, Campbell was paid about $209,000 in Fiscal Year 2020. Hardy’s salary was about $148,000.
The retirement agreement for Campbell also says she will receive a $116,057 lump sum payout by mid-July.
As with many exit agreements, there are “non-disparagement” clauses, where each side agrees not to say anything negative about the other. There is also no admission of wrongdoing by either the School Board or by the two administrators.
There are also agreements not to file any legal claims for damages. This would apparently prevent District 202 from being named in a lawsuit and possibly risk a loss larger than the agreed-upon settlement.
That also minimizes the chance that details of what led to their departures will be disclosed as the result of any future litigation.
Resignation/retirement letters from the two administrators are also included in the documents received under the FOIA request.
Hardy says “It has been a great honor and privilege for me to serve the District, the faculty, staff, students, and all the residents of Evanston, but I am looking forward to new challenges and opportunities.”
Campell, who was at ETHS for nearly two decades, says she “truly enjoyed her tenure” and is “proud of the contributions I have made and the leadership I have shown.”
She adds that “I will miss walking down the halls and seeing the students,” and being proud of her role in establishing the student jobs program, “which has shown students a way to explore the many possibilities and adventures that await them.”
Campbell states that “This is a lesson I have internalized as well and will take forward with me.”