Both the Snake River and Blackfoot school districts are searching for new superintendents following the early departures of their top administrators.
Mark Gabrylczyk, superintendent of Snake River School District 52, resigned Friday with two years remaining on his employment contract.
The district quietly announced his departure in a news release. Gabrylczyk will forgo a year’s payment of his contract to be used for a new superintendent, the release said.
“Both parties had other opportunities and we agreed mutually to part company,” board chairman Bill Martin told the Post Register. “It’s just going to work out better for both of us. There were no hard feelings.”
Gabrylczyk was under fire during the past two school years in a controversy involving former science teacher Elaine Asmus. Conflict started with Gabrylczyk’s wife, Laura Gabrylczyk, who filed a complaint against Asmus after the two reportedly got into an argument at work. Asmus’ contract ultimately was not renewed for the 2014-15 school year.
In December, the Idaho Education Association filed a lawsuit on behalf of Asmus naming Gabrylczyk as a defendant. The lawsuit claims multiple violations of Asmus’ due process rights and violations of Idaho Code.
Martin said Gabrylczyk’s departure was not related to the Asmus incident.
Paul Stark, Asmus’ attorney, told the Post Register on Monday he didn’t know if the two were related but Asmus has not yet not been approached about finding a resolution to her lawsuit.
“I think (Gabrylczyk’s departure) is a good step for all the teachers in Snake River School District,” he said. “Whether Elaine ultimately returns there or not is an open question. But given Elaine’s experience with Mr. Gabrylczyk and his wife, this is a step in the right direction.”
Martin said Snake River aims to select an interim superintendent by the end of the week.
Chad Struhs, Blackfoot School District 55 superintendent, has also resigned. Struhs’ resignation was accepted by the school board at its May 21 board meeting.
Struhs also had two years left on his contract but “chose not to pursue those.” He said the board has been aware of his plans for about a year and he is looking for a superintendent job in Alaska, where he’s worked in the past.
“It’s always tough to leave,” he told the Post Register. “I love what I did, and I loved the people I worked with … but it was time for me to move forward and for the district to have new leadership come in and continue those things.”
Brian Kress, the Blackfoot district’s business manager, was appointed interim superintendent.
Struhs had succeeded for superintendent Scott Crane, who retired July 1, 2012, to take a job in Moab, Utah. Upon his retirement from the Blackfoot district Crane received a $220,000 payout dispersed over two years as part of a clandestine separation agreement drafted by Crane and the school board during executive sessions in 2012.
Reporter Kirsten Johnson can be reached at 542-6757.