Schools: District 205 leaders deflect rumors of Sheffield resignation
By Jim Hagerty
In spite of District 205 statements that Superintendent Dr. LaVonne M. Sheffield remains at the head of Rockford Public Schools, reports of her resignation continue to emerge.
Tuesday, April 5, unconfirmed reports from sources close to the district indicated an announcement of Sheffield’s resignation could be expected as early as Thursday, April 7.
When reached for comment late Tuesday afternoon, April 5, District 205 Chief Communications Officer Mark Bonne said: “If an announcement of that magnitude were to be made, it would occur to all media and public at the same time. That form of communication would not be given by the district to any one media organization only.”
Saturday, April 2, several sources said Sheffield was preparing to resign. In an attempt to confirm the reports, The Rock River Times obtained comment from school board member Alice Saudargas (Sub District C) and outgoing Board President David Kelley (Sub District G).
While Kelley said a decision to terminate Sheffield had not been made, he would not discount that she’s decided to leave Rockford. Kelley said because there are people who “want LaVonne’s head on a platter,” her resignation would not come as a surprise.
Saudargas said the school board discussed terminating Sheffield during a closed meeting before the Tuesday, March 29, Board of Education meeting.
“We discussed it briefly,” Saudargas said April 2. “But, we didn’t get that far with it.”
Kelley also said he intended to contact Sheffield and inquire whether she was planning an exit. Attempts to reach Kelley, other board members and Sheffield were unsuccessful as of press time.
However, speaking to WNTA-1330’s Doug McDuff and Ken DeCoster on the air Monday, April 4, Sheffield would neither confirm nor deny that her time in Rockford was over.
“I can’t confirm,” Sheffield said. “I am not commenting on any of the discussions. There are rumors everywhere. I’ve said this long ago, ‘I am not confirming (or) denying. I’m not doing anything with the rumors because they are always out there.’”
After Sheffield accused DeCoster of perpetuating rumors, DeCoster asked her to clarify whether the weekend report in The Rock River Times was true.
“If I do it,” Sheffield said, “it’s a continuing kind of process. So, I decided about four or five months ago to stop. It’s a rumor after rumor after rumor. If you continue it, you get me in this continuing rumor mill. I am not doing it.
“Whatever happens—happens. I am a happy person. I am at peace with myself. I am going to run the schools until such time that I don’t. I am not saying anything.”
Bonne parroted Sheffield Monday afternoon.
“LaVonne Sheffield is the superintendent,” Bonne said. “The district has no comment on rumors concerning whether the superintendent or any other employee might be leaving at some time in the future.”
Bonne also said the report that Sheffield had vacated her office Monday, April 4, was false.
“She has been working in her office all day,” Bonne said.
From the April 6-12, 2011 issue