The Bulloch County Board of Education on Thursday night accepted Dr. Martin "Marty" Waters' resignation as Statesboro High School principal, at his request, although he had already not been offered a new contract.
With Waters' current contract set to expire June 30 and the resignation effective that same date, the new action makes no difference in his pay and has no effect on the school system, officials said.
Statesboro police arrested Waters May 9 on a misdemeanor charge of failure to report child abuse, and Bulloch County Schools Superintendent Charles Wilson subsequently did not recommend him for a new contract.
Unlike a vote May 13 that approved new contracts for 13 returning principals with Waters left off the list, Thursday's vote to accept his resignation was unanimous with all eight school board members present.
Steve Hein made the motion, which Cheri Wagner seconded.
"I want what is best for Bulloch County education, and accepting the resignation accomplishes that end," Hein said in a phone interview Friday.
Thursday's personnel action list had included only teachers, paraprofessionals, a media specialist and a custodian. Waters' resignation was added in closed session, and no reporters were present when the board returned to open session. Calls for more information were made Friday after Bulloch County Schools Public Relations Specialist Hayley Greene supplied the facts about the vote.
Waters' resignation letter, released at the newspaper's request but with his address information removed, stated only, "Due to personal reasons, I am resigning my position as principal of Statesboro High effective at the conclusion of my current employment contract on June 30, 2014."
It was dated May 14, the day after the previous vote, and addressed to Wilson.
"In view of the fact that Dr. Waters was not offered a contract for next school year, he asked if he could resign effective the end of this year," Wilson said Friday. "The board and I agreed last night to give him that opportunity, but we posted the open position for the Statesboro High School principalship on May 16 and are moving forward with our search."
Wilson intends to have a decision about next year's Statesboro High principal no later than the end of June, he said. Dr. Ken LeCain, an assistant principal, has been serving as acting principal since May 9 and continues in that role with today's graduation ceremony.
Calls to Waters' home have not been returned. A message was left on a voice mail or answering machine May 13 and again Friday, and a second call Friday was answered by someone who said Waters was not there.
Waters had been employed in the school district for 15 years and had served as principal of Statesboro High since 2005.
When they arrested him, police said Waters had known since March about suspected child sexual abuse between assistant girls soccer coach Jeffrey Tyler Crowder, 25, and a 16-year-old female student. Crowder was arrested April 30 and charged with felony sexual assault, two days after police were given information about an inappropriate relationship.
Assistant football coach Luke Edward Parks, 26, was arrested May 1 and charged with felony sexual exploitation of children and sexual assault, also involving a reported inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old female student.
The board's May 13 vote, approving the renewal list that did not include Waters, occurred before a May 15 state deadline for school employees to be informed of contract renewals. The vote was 5-2, with members Vernon Littles and Mike Sparks opposed and Mike Herndon absent. Both Littles and Sparks have said that their votes reflected an "innocent until proven guilty" view of Waters' situation.
However, Hein, who voted with the majority in the original action, said that the board had to vote on the recommendations as presented.
"The hiring or firing or nonrenewal of any employee is at the sole discretion of the superintendent," Hein said Friday. "It is the division of power."
Noting that the superintendent's recommendation was for new contracts for the 13 other principals, Hein said the board could not alter the recommendation, only approve it or deny it.
"Had approval not been granted for administrators, we would have been without leadership throughout the schools in Bulloch County," he said.
Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9454.