Watch CBS News

SPPS Approves Silva's Departure, Introduces Interim Superitendent

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The St. Paul School Board is expected to introduce the interim superintendent Wednesday morning.

On Tuesday night, the Board decided to fire the current superintendent, Valeria Silva. Prior to her complete departure, she will become an advisor for 15 months.

Silva has been the superintendent in St. Paul since 2009. She's worked in the district for 29 years. And, six months ago, she signed a new three-year contract.

However, the school board said they felt they needed new leadership to "ensure the ever-changing needs of our students are met."

The Pioneer Press reported that Silva will get a separation agreement worth more than $787,000 in salary and benefits.

Silva has faced growing criticism in the last year. St. Paul schools have struggled with school violence and declining enrollment.

The district is also facing a $15 million budget gap for the upcoming school year.

Dr. John Thein will become the Interim Superintendent. He retired last year as superintendent of the Roseville Area Schools.

He'll be at an 11 a.m. news conference Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Silva sent an email out to staff, parents, students and followers of St. Paul Public Schools saying she will still be committed to the district during and after her transition into an advisory role.

"It has been a true honor to serve the children and families of Saint Paul for almost three decades. My journey began in 1987 at Webster Magnet Elementary School, and during the last six and half years, I have had the best job in the world serving as the superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools. Like so many of our children, I arrived in this city not speaking English, and hoping to achieve the American dream. With hard work, support from my family, and guidance from great teachers, colleagues and the community, my dream was realized. My heart is full. As superintendent, my guiding light has been the welfare and learning of ALL students. Through work to increase equitable learning for ALL students, graduation rates across Saint Paul have increased from 61 percent to 80 percent. We have also improved the ways students learn using technology through a successful $39 million referendum. We have strengthened our community partnerships and improved the way families and communities engage with the District. As many of you know, my intention was to continue as superintendent until my contract ended in 2018. However, the Board of Education has decided to accelerate that schedule by transitioning to new district leadership sooner than that. During this upcoming transition, I am committed to supporting the students, families and staff of our extraordinary district."

In addition to Silva's departure, Director Jean O'Connell announced her resignation at Tuesday's board meeting. O'Connell said she was resigning because of the way the Silva deal was handled.

O'Connell has also served on the Board since 2009.

There will have to be a special election to fill O'Connell's seat.

The final development to come out of Tuesday's meeting was the boar decided that Galtier Community School will stay open beyond the 2016 – 17 school year so there can be more time to build enrollment.

Silva's last day as superintendent is set for July 18. She will then begin her advisory role.

SPPS will begin the search for her replacement immediately.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.