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Wentzville Superintendent Receives Generous Payout to Step Down Amid Controversy

Dr. Tormala’s resignation comes along with $1 million
Sydney Davis
Board members Julie Scott, David Lewis, Katie Lyczak and Jason Goodson listen to parents, teachers, and students voice their concerns at the regulatory school board meeting. This meeting was held Oct. 19, at Peine Ridge Elementary and lasted nearly five hours. The school board and Dr. Tormala met in an emergency meeting on April 11 when it was determined that she will take an immediate sabbatical and retire from the district by the end of the year.

Many people say that you cannot put a price on education. Despite that, tuition costs along with the costs it takes to not only start but also successfully run a school district are immense. 

Since the beginning of the Wentzville School District in the late 1800s, there have been a total of 19 superintendents. In 2022, Dr. Danielle Tormala was hired on as the new district superintendent, as the previous superintendent, Dr. Curtis Cain, moved school districts to Rockwood School District, after serving as the WSD superintendent for 10 years.

An email was sent out to the staff and students on the morning of April 12 from Dr. Tormala in which she announced her immediate sabbatical from her position, and resignation at the end of the calendar school year. This was unexpected to staff, students, and even newly elected board members. 

“I found out via the same email as everyone else,” newly elected board member Brad Welsh said. Welsh was elected this past month along with David Biesenthal, but was not sworn in until April 16, which was four days after the announced sabbatical and resignation of Tormala.  

After this announcement was sent out to the members of the school district, many rumors began to spread on social media as to why she is suddenly resigning from her position. At this time, it is still unclear if there was a specific cause or if this was a truly collaborative decision between her and the board of education members, as she stated in her statement. However according to an article by the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the police are monitoring her neighborhood as per requested by Tormala’s 

Just a mere 12 hours before the email was sent out, there had been emergency board of education meeting that was a closed session, due to “legal and personal reasons.”  

It has also surfaced that in turn of leaving her position as the superintendent, she will be receiving a total of $1 million, half of which was paid by May 3, and the rest to come by the end of June, as according to KMOV. As current public records show from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Tormala’s yearly salary was around $250,000 before taxes. 

It is unspecified who will be hired as the new superintendent, but as of right now, Mr. Bryan Bishop and Dr. Jeri LaBrot will be the co-interim superintendent until further notice.

Now that I am part of the board we will all work together to determine next steps in filing the superintendent roll. I have full confidence in Mr. Bishop and Dr. LaBrot to lead us until we find the best solution for WSD.” Welsh said.

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About the Contributors
Anna Simms
Anna Simms, Editor-in-Chief of LHStoday.org
Anna Simms is the editor-in-chief of LHStoday.org and this is her third year in publications. She is also in her senior year and second year at SCC. After high school, Anna plans on going to a university to study biomedical sciences, and later get a doctorate. She is also a part of Liberty’s drama club as an executive board member, and has done both acting and tech. Outside of school, you can find Anna either taking photos, editing, hanging out with friends, listening to music, or reading!

Sydney Davis
Sydney Davis, Editor-in-Chief of The 2024 Talon
Sydney Davis is an editor-in-chief of the Talon Yearbook and will soon be in her third year of publications while also a manager of the cross country team. She is in her senior year and her second year of classes at SCC. She loves listening to music and watching movies and reading in her free time, along with playing with her niece and nephews. Sydney dreams of being a concert photographer while traveling the world when she is older. She is unsure of where her education will continue after high school, but would like to major in either journalism or marketing. Worms love worms!

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