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Richmond Schools Chief Leaving Early

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Richmond Schools Superintendent Deborah Jewell-Sherman is ending her long goodbye much earlier than previously announced.

Sherman, who initially announced in early April that she would be leaving as schools chief at the end of her contract in June 2009, asked the School Board to allow her out of her contract early during the board's June 2 meeting, according to sources.

The School Board voted "to amend the superintendent's contract" at the end of it's closed session Monday night, the sources say, though the terms of that amended contract were not revealed at the time. Instead, an announcement will come Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. at City Hall.

"The superintendent is resigning as of July 31 and Dr. [Yvonne] Brandon will be offered interim superintendent," says one of the sources.

By the terms of Jewell-Sherman's previous contract, the School Board would have needed to buy her out of her remaining contract had they wanted her gone early. Richmond Public Schools has a long history of paying off previous superintendents with whom the board had become dissatisfied.

That was not the case in this Monday night, with the request coming from the superintendent to allow her out of the contract in order to pursue an opportunity.

The amended contract calls for the superintendent to receive $30,000 to remain as a part-time consultant to the School Board for the next six months.

Those consulting services, according to the new contract, will be called upon "from time to time," with all interactions passing through School Board chairman George Braxton.

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