Former Clayton high school principal gets $140,000 settlement
The former principal of Clayton High School, who resigned last week in a dispute over the use of social media, will receive a lump sum payment of $140,000 in addition to her salary for the rest of the school year, according to a settlement agreement released Tuesday.
The agreement said that Louise Losos, who resigned on Friday after being on paid leave of absence since last month, would get all of her salary and benefits for the rest of the current school year, which ends June 30. The next day, she will receive $140,000 “in consideration of the respective promises made by both parties,” the settlement agreement says.
The district said her salary and benefits for the current school year amount to $140,180.
In exchange for the lump sum, Losos agrees not to file a lawsuit against the school district or its employees, board members or others relating to her employment or resignation. The district agrees to provide a letter to anyone inquiring in the future about her service at Clayton.
The settlement agreement also says that it is the only public comment to be made to the media or any other groups by either the district or Losos on her departure; if either side makes any other public comment, it adds, “the other party shall be immediately released from any obligations of confidentiality.”
When Losos went on leave in April, the district said her absence would last for an undetermined amount of time. Asked about reasons for the leave, it said in a statement:
"This is both a personal issue for Louise and a personnel matter for the District. As this involves personnel, we are not able to provide any additional details at this time."
Then, last Saturday, the district released a terse statement announcing that Losos had resigned as a result of “a fundamental dispute concerning the appropriate use of social media. She will remain on a leave of absence for personal reasons for the remainder of the 2011-2012 school year.”
About the same time, the Post-Dispatch put out a story saying that Losos had created a fake profile on Facebook, under the name of Suzy Harriston, and become friends with more than 300 people, many of them students at Clayton High School. The story said a student blew the whistle on the situation on April 5; the next day, her paid leave of absence was announced. It continued until her resignation on Friday night.
On Monday, the district announced that Dan Gutchewsky, who has been with the district for 11 years would be interim principal at the high school through the 2012-13 school year. He has been associate principal and took over when Losos went on leave last month.
In an attachment to the settlement agreement made public Tuesday, Clayton released a copy of the letter it would provide to anyone asking about Losos’ tenure with the high school, where she became principal in 2005. It talks of accomplishments by students during her tenure and notes that in 2011, Newsweek ranked Clayton 89th on its list of the top 100 high schools in the nation.
“Dr. Losos understands the complexity of building-wide issues and the need to communicate regularly with staff, students, and parents,” the letter continues. “She guided the work of the student support team to create processes to assist struggling students. Dr. Losos is a creative problem solver and articulate in communication.
“As a strong advocate for the entire school community, Dr. Losos is always quick to recognize student and staff accomplishments. She holds extremely high expectations for students and has organized CHS to both sustain and advance the school’s high achievement. Dr. Losos is passionate about education and student learning.
“The School District of Clayton wishes her well in her future pursuits as an educational leader.”