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Zeeland superintendent resigns after 1 year | Education

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Zeeland superintendent resigns after 1 year

ZEELAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- Dr. Dave Barry, the superintendent of Zeeland Public Schools, has resigned his post, and board members say the decision was based on an agreement "that an early change was better than trying to force
a match that did not exist."

The district released news of Barry's resignation in its weekly newsletter to parents and staff.  The district also released a statement to the media on the separation.

"The Board appreciated his commitment to the children and families of our Zeeland community," say board members in the statement. "This was a matter of both sides saying, 'This is not working smoothly, let's initiate the change earlier
rather than later'."

The Zeeland school board held a special meeting Monday night where members voted to accept Barry's resignation, according to the newsletter.  Barry stepped down as superintendent effective June 30.

"Superintendent Barry is a passionate educator who cares deeply about our students' academic success," board president Tom DenHerder says in the newsletter. "At the same time, new leaders bring different approaches and in this particular case, we both agreed that the approach was not a good fit with Zeeland Public Schools. As a result, we will look forward and not backward in the days ahead."

The school board held a meeting on May 24 to decide Barry's fate in the wake of a message he published in a newsletter to district staff.  Most of the message was taken from something written in a blog by education consultant Mike Rutherford.

At the meeting, Barry admitted to other acts of plagiarism since he became superintendent in 2011.  The board voted to suspend Barry for two weeks and put a letter of reprimand in his personnel file.  He would have also had to speak to students about why plagiarism is not acceptable.

Previous Coverage: Zeeland superintendent admits to more plagiarism

In the district's statement, board members say, "[The plagiarism] incident has already been addressed. This mutual decision was the result of both parties looking at the entirety of the past year and realizing that it was time to make a change."

In a final message to the district, Dr. Barry offered his support for its future. "Zeeland is a wonderful community and I have learned from this opportunity to work with the board and school community in my first year as superintendent," he wrote.  "At the same time, as I reflect on the year, I recognize that it is best for all to focus on a transition."

The school board named David VanGinhoven, assistant superintendent for business services, to be the acting superintendent.  The board is beginning its search for a new head for the district immediately.

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