Dr. Eric Gallien, former Racine Unified School District – and current Charleston County School District – Superintendent, has been put on paid administrative leave.
The Charleston County School District Board of Trustees made the vote on Monday night, according to WCSC-TV, the local CBS affiliate in South Carolina. The board of trustees voted 5-4 to place him on leave, with pay, pending an investigation.
Carlotte Bailey, Edward Kelly, Keith Grybowski, Leah Whatley and Pamela McKinney were in favor of putting Dr. Gallien on leave.
The news station reports that earlier this month, a special meeting was held by the district to discuss Gallien’s contract.
The meeting raised questions from board and community members alike.
Filling the role
Deputy Superintendent Anita Huggins will “step in to fulfill duties until the investigation concludes,” per WCSC-TV.
It was noted that the board did not select interim Chief Academic Officer Michelle Simmons to step in. According to the source, Simmons was just hired over a year ago but has been a part of the district for 24 years.
The reason for the investigation is not known at this time.
During the public comment, one shared, “We feel disrespected and Dr. Gallien hasn’t been here 90 days, but you have continued to continue every day to put roadblocks in his way.”
Decision sparks controversy
“Many believe the decisions made tonight weren’t based on pedigree,” says the news station.
“It is clear this is racially motivated. We’re seeing it not just here in Charleston, but across the district,” former Charleston County School District educator Sydney Van Bulck said. “I mean across the state. Black superintendents are being fired left and right. I’ve never seen like the dysfunction and disgrace that was held tonight. The complete lack of integrity and transparency and their unwillingness to listen to the community.”
Count on News 2, a South Carolina local news station, reported the following statement:
“The issue of the superintendent being placed on paid administrative leave- first off, I don’t believe it’s anything that caught anybody on the board by surprise because Moms for Liberty board members had decided this is what was going to happen.
We delayed that process a few weeks ago by coming in and standing up for Dr. Gallien, and apparently, our numbers moved them to not go in that direction. But today they came back and got this thing passed, which is crazy. This guy has not even been in his position for four months … there’s no data to support him being put on administrative leave whatsoever,” said Pastor Thomas Dixon, a community activist.
Board of Trustees member Carol Tempel provided the following statement Monday night:
“I’m exhausted from fighting the devious actions. I don’t agree with the actions against Dr. Gallien. It’s unjustified.”
Dr. Gallien and RUSD
After recovering from a kidney transplant in April 2023, Dr. Gallien began efforts for the next stop on his career path: South Carolina’s Charleston County School District.
“This is bittersweet news after almost ten years,” wrote RUSD Board of Education President Jane Barbian in a memo to the staff. “It is sad to see Dr. Gallien go, but we are happy to see him receive an exciting new career opportunity and a fresh start with renewed health.”Excerpt from an earlier article by Denise Lockwood (article follows).
This is an ongoing story. As more information becomes available, the Racine County Eye will update the story.
The Racine County Eye, which includes the Kenosha Lens, is your source for local news that serves our diverse communities. For more K-12 and college education news, check out our Schools section. Subscribe today to stay up-to-date with local news.
Racine County Eye and Kenosha Lens – Journalism that serves.