ASHEVILLE – With little more than two dozen people and a modest spread of sodas and deli plates, Allen Johnson’s career with Asheville City Schools came to an end in the hallway of the administrative office he oversaw for more than six years.Read the full article
It was a low key send-off for the man who led so many high-profile initiatives for city schools.
In his tenure as the district’s superintendent, Johnson oversaw the system’s highest graduation rate to date, its lowest dropout rate in a decade and a project to build the district’s first new schools in nearly 30 years.
“He has been an exceptional leader,” said Jacquelyn Hallum, one of two board members present for the goodbye reception.
Three other board members couldn’t make it, and as a whole the Asheville Board of Education has been equally quiet about Johnson’s sudden departure.
Their silence about why Johnson would leave the district and retire, and why they decided to send him off with a $175,000 buyout has drawn a storm of criticism since.
A review of nearly 10,000 emails from Johnson and the city school board obtained through a public records request reveal how widely that discontent was shared — from City Council members to the Asheville City Schools Foundation.
But for anyone looking for answers, the emails offer only a few clues about the thinking of a politically appointed board with broad autonomy.