WARREN -- In the email that served as his notice of resignation, the now former superintendent of the city school district said he had ''become increasingly less comfortable with the decisions the board has been making.''
As expected, Warren City School Board of Education unanimously accepted the resignation of Bruce W. Thomas, and -- for the second time in two years -- appointed Associate Superintendent Loree Richardson to fill the gap.
''We needed (Richardson) to take over immediately because Dr. Thomas indicated he will not be back in the school district and we needed someone to take over his responsibilities right away,'' board President Regina Patterson said at a special meeting Thursday.
Thomas stated in his email that he intends to use the balance of his vacation days and a number of sick days to finish his time in the district. His resignation takes effect July 31.
Thomas was not at Thursday's meeting and has not been available for comment. A cell phone number he provided for the Tribune Chronicle when he was first hired has been disconnected.
Board members said they were disappointed by Thomas' ''sudden'' resignation after just one year of a three-year contract, especially since he had promised when he was hired that he would be at Warren ''for the long haul.'' His annual salary is about $110,000.
''We had high hopes,'' Patterson said. ''We're disappointed ... but we have to move on.''
Board members said Thomas had not communicated his concerns with them, and had not indicated plans to resign until that email, which Patterson said she received Sunday evening.
The email was a reply to Patterson's email asking Thomas to meet with the board today to discuss his evaluation. Thomas replied, ''This meeting will not be necessary.''
A copy of the superintendent's evaluation was not readily available on Thursday.
Recently, Thomas came under scrutiny after admitting to dating subordinate Kristen Lewis. Thomas told a Tribune Chronicle reporter that although he had known Lewis before she had started working in Warren in November, the two did not start dating until January. The board eliminated her position as coordinator of student counseling and family engagement in May.
During recent meetings, Thomas and board members seemed to have conflicting opinions regarding the operation of the district's alternative program and student discipline procedures. Still, school officials said they believed the district was on the right track academically. Thomas had said he was confident he and his staff would pull the district from its Academic Watch rating to a standing of Continuous Improvement, possibly Effective, if not this year than within the next two years on the state report cards.
When he was hired, Thomas said he felt his skills were better matched with Warren than Marietta City Schools, where he also left after one year with two years remaining on his contract.
Lorain interim superintendent Ed Branham on Thursday confirmed that Thomas was among four candidates interviewed Wednesday for superintendent there. The Morning Journal in Lorain reported that Thomas said he because that job is a better match for his skill set than the Warren job.