Gooding superintendent abruptly resigns

Gooding School District Superintendent Mary Larson resigned Tuesday night, amidst conflict with staff and less than a year after she was hired.

Larson, hired in July, presented her resignation during a school board executive session.

Larson told Idaho Education News Wednesday morning that there are “multiple factors” behind her resignation. “I’m not ready to give all that information out.”

Larson also said she will receive a separation agreement. The agreement has not been finalized, and she said she is waiting to hear from board members about the details.

Larson said she looks forward to telling her side of the story but she’s not ready to explain her decisions at this time.

Board chairman Michael Perry did not return a phone call Wednesday morning seeking comment. He released a short statement confirming the resignation.

Earlier this year, the Twin Falls Times-News reported that Larson received an “unsatisfactory” job review in her previous job, shortly before moving to Idaho. Larson resigned from the Strasburg Public School in North Dakota in March. Four of the five Strasburg trustees agreed with the “unsatisfactory” review, Julie Wootton of the Times-News reported.

In Gooding, several employees have filed grievances, and even more signed a statement of “no confidence” against Larson.

The Gooding district has been embroiled in controversy over the past year. Gooding High School principal Chris Comstock resigned last January amidst complaints that a high school secretary was racially biased and favored some students. Then-superintendent Heather Williams resigned two days later, but says her decision was unrelated to the high school flap. Williams is now the director of the Idaho Leads Project, a professional development program housed under the College of Education at Boise State University.

Jennifer Swindell

Jennifer Swindell

Managing editor and CEO Jennifer Swindell founded Idaho Education News in 2013. She has led the online news platform as it has grown in readership and engagement every year, reaching over two million pageviews a year. Jennifer has more than 35 years of experience in Idaho journalism. She also has served as a public information officer for Idaho schools and as a communication director at Boise State University. She can be reached at [email protected].

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