Limestone County school board talks lawsuit; offers superintendent job to Georgia educator

The Limestone County Board of Education says it has found the person it wants to lead the school system.

Posted: Feb 18, 2020 7:53 PM
Updated: Feb 19, 2020 8:28 AM

The Limestone County Interim Superintendent, Mike Owens, spoke to the media for the first time after a school employee filed a lawsuit against the school district. 

“We have seen the lawsuit filed earlier today by Dr. Mark Isley, our answer, when filed, will be among other defenses, that the allegations made in the complaint, are false," Owens said.

Owens denies the multiple allegations made by Dr. Mark Isley, the Human Resources Director for Limestone County Schools.

On Tuesday night, the Limestone County Board of Education met for the first time since the lawsuit was filed earlier in the day. Members spent about an hour behind closed doors talking about the legal and personnel issue.

After returning, they picked a new superintendent. 

The board vote unanimously to offer the job to Dr. Randy Shearouse, currently the superintendent in Effingham County, Ga, located about 20 minutes west of Savannah, Ga. Shearouse is set to retire from that job, which he has held since 2005, in June..

The 45-page lawsuit filed  Tuesday on behalf of Isley asked a judge not to allow a vote or hiring of a new superintendent. One concerned community member was there to make sure he was filled in on what was happening. He says the entire lawsuit doesn't help the students. 

"This spinning our wheels with superintendents, school board, whether it's the HR Director, or other school boards, it's costly for our children's education," Wilbert Woodruff said. 

Woodruff says the school district has seen it's fair share of challenges.

In his lawsuit, Isley accuses the school board of attempting to fire him because he participated with the FBI and U.S. Department of Education in an ongoing investigation about the misuses of state and and federal funds. Isley says he was placed on paid, administrative leave with no reason as to why. 

Isley's lawsuit asks the school district not make any hires at many positions, including superintendent. But despite the lawsuit, a decision was made. 

The Limestone County School district says it will begin negotiating a contract with the new superintendent. Members did not comment on why they decided to go ahead with a vote, despite the lawsuit asking them not to.

If a contract is agreed to, Shearouse will replace former superintendent Tom Sisk who left in October for a job in Bristol, Tenn.

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