Mesa Public Schools Superintendent Ember Conley has officially resigned, leaving in her wake questions about her initial suspension and how much money the district will be paying her.
Following a three-hour executive session to discuss her employment, the school board voted 4-1 during a special meeting December 2 to approve Conley’s resignation—18 months after she was hired.
Conley resigned nearly two weeks after the board abruptly placed her on paid administrative leave, sparking speculation and unanswered questions among the community and district employees. The board at the time only said her suspension was nondisciplinary.
“The district is looking forward to getting accurate information out,” said board President Elaine Miner December 2. “We look forward to moving forward.”
“We care about this district and we believe we are doing what is right,” she continued.
Board member Kiana Sears cast the lone vote against the resignation, saying only that she disagreed with the “financial provision” of the district’s departure agreement.
The board said it would make the terms of its departure agreement with Conley available soon, but gave no indication when.
Conley’s original contract stated that she could receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in payouts if she were ever to be fired, but because she resigned, it is unclear what the district might pay her.
Retired Mesa Associate Superintendent Peter Lesar will fill in as the interim superintendent for the time being.
Lesar, who worked in the district for 32 years, said he is looking forward to stepping up to the plate.
“I’m inspired by the dedication and commitment of our leaders, teachers and support staff and look forward to working side by side with all of you,” Lesar said.
“I am hopeful that my experience, established relationships and familiarity with the district will add stability during this transitional time,” he added.