North Callaway Superintendent Keeps Job After DWI Offense

4 years 8 months 2 weeks ago Thursday, September 05 2013 Sep 5, 2013 Thursday, September 05, 2013 7:08:00 PM CDT September 05, 2013 in News
By: Maddie Heidenreich, KOMU 8 Reporter

CALLAWAY COUNTY - The North Callaway R-1 Superintendent will keep his job after the Board of Education reached a decision Thursday on how to handle his DWI offense. 

Superintendent Dr. Bryan Thomsen was placed on two years of unsupervised probation after he pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated last year. 

"I don't agree with drunk driving at all," said resident Helen Foster. "I've been down that road with people in my family; it's affected my children so I really hope that the kids at school especially and the school board do hold him accountable."

One school board member was aware of the incident shortly after it happened, but the remainder of the board did not know until last week. The board met Tuesday evening to discuss how to handle the "hiring, terminating, disciplining or promoting" of Thomsen. 

Thursday afternoon the Board of Education released this statement:

"In May 2012, Superintendent Dr. Bryan Thomsen was arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Thomsen informed the then Board President about the circumstances of his arrest. He pled guilty to the charges and has satisfied the conditions imposed by the Court. On Friday, August 30, 2013 the remainder of the Board was informed of the details of this matter.

Dr. Thomsen has made a personal statement acknowledging his mistake; expressing his apologies for his personal failure. The Board of Education takes this matter very seriously particularly in light of the fact that Dr. Thomsen is the Chief Executive of the District and, more importantly, serves as a role model for all of our students.

Dr. Thomsen has served as the District's Superintendent for the past five years and has done an exemplary job. While Superintendent Thomsen has demonstrated a significant lack of judgment, one mistake does not define a person, nor does it erase the strong positive accomplishments of the past five years. It is the expectation of the Board that Dr. Thomsen will use this situation as a teachable opportunity for District students.

Nonetheless, Dr. Thomsen's conduct violates his obligations to himself, his family, our students and our community. As a result, the Board has voted unanimously to place a letter in his file and to notify Dr. Thomsen that his employment will be terminated if there is another occurrence.

The Board is mindful of the effect of this situation on our school community. In addition to the disciplinary action, the Board has directed Dr. Thomsen to rededicate himself to providing the leadership necessary to provide our students with the highest level of education. In this effort, Superintendent Thomsen has the full support of the Board of Education."

Thomsen followed with a personal statement:

"In May of 2012 I made a terrible error in judgment and want to apologize to everyone for my actions. I take full responsibility for my actions and I am truly sorry for any negative attention this incident has brought upon my family and the district."

People in the community weighed in on the board's decision. "Retired and present farmers go to coffee at Petro every morning and we all agreed he deserved a second chance," said former School Board President Ken Butler. "He's been doing a good job at his position. Nothing to fire him over."

And some think the board made the right decision for another reason.

"If they are going to wait an entire year to do something about it, they should have come to this decision that they have," said resident Helen Foster. "I don't think it is right that they witheld it if that's what they did, but I'm sure that they had their reasons why. Maybe they wanted to see what was going to happen with the court system and probation."

Foster also hopes Thomsen will learn his lesson from this incident.

"I hope he does fly right this time and show them that he was worth given a second chance to," said Foster.

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