Lewis Cass principal resigns

Shay Bonnell

WALTON — The Lewis Cass School Board Wednesday night unanimously accepted the resignation of the high school’s principal, who was placed on paid leave in April.

Shay Bonnell, principal of Lewis Cass High School, submitted his written resignation on May 29, corporation attorney John Damm said after the June 13 meeting.

Superintendent Tim Garland put Bonnell on paid leave April 30, and that decision was OK’d by the board May 16.

Bonnell’s resignation is effective June 30. Via an email on Wednesday night, Bonnell wrote that “after much reflection,” he submitted his resignation in order to “remove any distractions” from the school corporation. He also wrote that doing so would allow Lewis Cass to find a principal replacement and for him to pursue other educational opportunities.

“I am grateful that some other key stakeholders were able to get involved and help facilitate a resolution that allows everyone to move forward and find that mutually positive outcome,” Bonnell wrote.

At the May 16 meeting, Damm said the district was undergoing the cancellation process for Bonnell’s teacher and administrator contracts. Damm also said Garland believed there was “good and just cause” to cancel Bonnell’s contracts.

The school board was supposed to have an executive session on May 30 as a fact-finding hearing. Garland would present evidence on why Bonnell’s contracts should be canceled, while Bonnell could refute those claims.

That meeting, however, was canceled. Damm said when Bonnell submitted his resignation letter, the corporation didn’t need to move forward in canceling his contracts.

Garland said the corporation will now look at hiring a new high school principal for the fall. He said Lewis Cass officials will look at candidates both inside and outside of the district.

Bonnell wrote that he’s already sought out jobs at other school corporations, and some have expressed an interest in hiring him. He started at Lewis Cass in 2014.

Under Bonnell’s leadership, the high school’s A-F accountability grade rose from a C to an A, and Bonnell was named the District 4 Middle School Principal of the Year for 2017 by the Indiana Association of School Principals.

Bonnell wrote that he wishes the very best for the Lewis Cass community.

“Words can not express my gratitude and heartfelt thanks to those key stakeholders that have been 'true believers' in what we set out to accomplish only four short years ago,” he wrote, “especially the faculty and staff at both the junior high and the high school, but also of course the students that have recently graduated or will be attending Lewis Cass in the fall.”

Reach Ben Middelkamp at ben.middelkamp@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5117.

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