The Journal Gazette
Monday, January 10, 2022 9:50 pm

NACS superintendent takes leave of absence

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

A longtime Northwest Allen County Schools administrator will lead the district through the end of this month as Superintendent Chris Himsel takes a leave of absence.

And the longest-serving board member will now lead the district's elected body.

The board approved the changes in a meeting conducted virtually Monday.

In a phone call after the meeting, Himsel told The Journal Gazette he is taking a leave of absence to address health concerns. He wouldn't elaborate further about who he was referring to.

The leave began last month, Himsel said, and it is scheduled through Jan. 31.

The board routinely approves leaves of absences – along with resignations and retirements – at its regular meetings. The board typically meets twice a month but met only once in December; Monday marked its first regular meeting since Dec. 13.

Board member Kristi Schlatter thanked Gloria Shamanoff for being willing to serve as acting superintendent.

Shamanoff, who has been in education since 1974, joined NACS in 1990 as an elementary school principal and has served as assistant superintendent since 2000.

The board didn't discuss Shamanoff's designation as acting superintendent, which was approved as part of the personnel and communications items. Himsel did not attend.

Members also had little to say about electing Ron Felger as board president, ousting Kent Somers from the position.

Parents last year demanded Somers resign from the board or at least step down as board president. Some of the earliest calls came after his wife urged parents to keep their children home on fall count day in an attempt to cost the district state funding.

In emails sent to the board before Monday's reorganization, members of the We (heart) NACS group cited more reasons for Somers' removal. For example, they said he demonstrated his inability or unwillingness to control meetings and to create a safe environment, and they said he has promoted his personal beliefs.

Felger, a board member since 1982, will serve as president through 2022.

"Thank you for your confidence," Felger said, "and I'll do the very best I can for everybody in Northwest Allen County Schools."

Schlatter nominated Liz Hathaway for vice president, but Somers won that position in a 3-2 vote. The women opposed.

Felger said his support of Somers was not a reflection on Hathaway, who most recently served in the role. Rather, he said, Somers has done a good job during tough times.

"He does know what the job's about," Felger said.

Schlatter retained her position as secretary.

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