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Geneva D-304 principal to be paid nearly $71K while her contract ends

GENEVA – A Geneva District 304 middle school principal who resigned mid-year will be paid the rest of her full salary – nearly $71,000 – through the end of her contract on June 30, 2022, according to her separation agreement.

District officials agreed to pay Brenna Westerhoff the remainder of her salary for the academic year, despite her March 2 resignation as Geneva Middle School North’s principal, according to records the Kane County Chronicle obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The reason for Westerhoff’s resignation in just her second year leading the middle school is unclear.

Westerhoff and the school board “mutually agreed to terminate their employment relationship and the contract on June 30, 2022,” the agreement stated. The school board voted to approve the separation agreement at the Feb. 28 meeting, records show, but the agreement does not specify exactly how many days of paid leave Westerhoff had available.

Westerhoff said she is being paid the rest of her salary until the end of her contract.

Superintendent Kent Mutchler said he could not comment about personnel issues, but clarified that Westerhoff is on paid leave, based on her accumulated paid time off, and that her employment ends on June 30, 2022, at the end of her contract.

“People accumulate leave and the longer you are employed, you accumulate more paid leave,” Mutchler said.

Interim School Board President Michael McCormick, who signed the separation agreement, did not respond to requests for comment.

According to records, school officials agreed to pay her for a leave of absence dating back to Dec. 14, using accrued vacation and sick leave days during a period of the Family Medical Leave Act. Westerhoff is being paid for 6 1/2 months at a cost of $10,916 per month or $70,958, when considering that Westerhoff’s base salary was $131,000.01 over 12 months, according to her administrator contract, records show.

The district also agreed to pay $12,956.03 into her Teachers Retirement System account, according to her administrator’s contract with the district, records show.

“The principal is eligible for and the board has agreed to a paid leave of absence for principal from December 14, 2021 through February 14, 2022,” the agreement stated.

The paid leave from Feb. 15 through June 30, 2022, uses accrued paid leave days, five administrative leave days, vacation days and personal days until exhausted and then sick days, the agreement stated.

Westerhoff agreed to release the district from all her legal rights with respect to continued employment with the district, the agreement stated.

All parties agreed not to make disparaging comments about each other. “The parties agree that their decision to end their employment relationship is a mutual decision in the best interests of the board and principal,” according to the agreement.

“The board agrees to provide a positive reference for the principal in a form mutually agreeable to the parties.”

The school board also agreed to waive tuition reimbursement repayment from Westerhoff.

When an administrator leaves the district within two years after receiving reimbursement, he or she “will be required to reimburse the school district for 100% of any tuition reimbursement received for course work taken in their final two years of employment,” the contract stated.

However, an administrator who earns a doctorate degree, but leaves within three years, has to pay back the tuition reimbursement, according to the contract.

Westerhoff said she had just completed a doctorate in education leadership and complex change at the University of Southern California shortly before her March 2 resignation. She, however, declined to comment about tuition reimbursement for her courses.

Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Adam Law did not respond to questions asking how much tuition repayment the district had waived for Westerhoff.

Westerhoff was first hired by the district in 2002 as a language arts teacher at Geneva Middle School before there were two buildings, then she was the Student Assistance Coordinator. She also was principal at Harrison Street Elementary School before being named principal at Geneva Middle School North, officials said.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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