Local News

Southwestern's technology director abruptly resigns

Southwestern Consolidated Schools Technology Director Stacy Baute resigned at Monday’s school board meeting — effective immediately.

Baute expressed her dissatisfaction with recently-approved administrative payroll increases that did not include her.

The Southwestern graduate and 10-year educator in the school system who assumed the technology director’s role prior to the start of the 2022-2023 school year stated she was told her salary was comparable to other technology directors in the area.

Baute did her own research. 

The average salary of the other three technology directors in Shelby County school systems is $98,100. In addition, the Shelbyville and Shelby Eastern school systems each employ eight people in their technology departments. Northwestern Consolidated Schools (Triton Central) employ four people in their technology department.

Baute’s research also determined that the Flat Rock-Hawcreek school district (Hauser) has five technology department employees with the director making $82,000 per year. The Edinburgh school system has three technology department employees with the director earning $81,000 per year.

Baute’s salary at Southwestern is $70,000 and she has one technology coach available to her when that person, who is a full-time employee in a different position with the school system, is available.

Baute went on to state she did not seek the position but was suggested for the role after an initial interview process led to a job offer that was turned down. Leaving the classroom was a difficult decision for her but she accepted the challenge and immersed herself in her new role.

“I’m not saying the raises approved in the last six months we’re not needed. I’m also not saying I deserve thousands of dollars like the rest of the administration received,” said Baute. “I feel like being the only administrator that did not receive any kind of raise was a slap in the face. The salaries don’t match which felt like a bigger slap in the face and somewhat personal. I hope you decide to do your own research when you look for the corporation’s next technology director.

“Over my 11-and-a-half years as an employee of the corporation, I have been a teacher, soccer clock keeper, basketball coach, Spell Bowl coach, Science Fair coordinator, sixth grade sponsor, technology coach, technology director in addition to being a mentor, role model, advocate and supporter for all students. I will continue to support the students but not as an employee of this district. My resignation is effective immediately. I have loved every opportunity I’ve had here at Southwestern but I cannot work for a school that is willing to treat somebody like this.”

Former superintendent Josh Edwards then appeared before the board asking for an explanation why he was not being allowed to continue as a volunteer coach with the youth wrestling program he founded when he was principal of Southwestern Elementary School. 

Edwards was placed on administrative leave by the school board in November. Edwards then tendered his resignation before the end of the 2023 semester. 

Edwards, who has a child in the school system, stated the wrestling coach followed the chain of command when requesting Edwards be allowed to be a volunteer coach with the after school hours club but was told no without any explanation.

Edwards asked if the board knew of the decision and, if so, was seeking an answer as to why he could not continue working with the program.

School board president Derrek Tennell stated he could not comment publicly on the personnel matter and because there was not a board meeting agenda item on the issue, there was not a requirement for the board to comment. Interim superintendent Walter Bourke was not familiar with the club program but stated he would look into the situation and would inform Edwards directly. 

The non response from the board and Bourke left several people in the crowd frustrated.

Prior to Baute’s resignation, a man whose name was not captured on the video coverage of the school board meeting spoke on the search process for a new superintendent and a recent boys basketball game at the school that ended early following several technical fouls.

The school board has announced there is an electronic survey available at the school system’s website to allow parents to provide input on the corporation and the skills and traits the next superintendent should possess. The request at Monday’s meeting was for the survey results be made public once completed to assist with transparency in the hiring process.

The basketball game in reference was a Feb. 8 meeting between Morristown and Southwestern. Both coaches were assessed technical fouls in the game and three technical fouls and a flagrant foul were called on four Southwestern players.

Despite several more technical foul free throws left to be attempted by Morristown, the referees ended the game with two seconds left on the clock and Morristown was declared the winner, 55-48.

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