CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A local superintendent says a school board member destroyed his career and created a hostile work environment and that is why he resigned.
Lakota School District's Matt Miller gave the scathing letter to the board, as it accepted his resignation and named an interim superintendent. Local 12’s David Winter talked to those who are upset, and not so upset, about Miller's departure.
His troubles began when a conservative wave hit school boards across the country during the 2021 elections. He was at odds with those speaking out against LGBTQ rights and Critical Race Theory.
The board member leading that charge is Darbi Boddy, who spoke out at a board meeting in September.
“We have a diversity program and we teach SEL, both of which are Critical Race Theory,” she said.
From that point, it was all downhill for Superintendent Miller. He says his detractors dug up allegations made during a contentious divorce proceeding that began in 2019. Court records showed restraining orders, and allegations of a sexual nature, with subpoenas for dating sites like Tinder and extra marital affair site Ashley Madison.
The school board launched an investigation, and so did the sheriff, but neither resulted in criminal charges or discipline from the district. In the letter to the board, Miller said he was resigning due to "the increasingly hostile work environment caused by Ms. Boddy" and her attacks were "retaliation for my efforts to protect Lakota students of all genders and races."
He said she "succeeded in her efforts and destroyed my career"
Miller would not go on camera, but Local 12 asked his attorney, “Why did Matt write the separate letter to the board?”
She replied, “Mr. Miller went on record to the Board with more details about why he had to leave so they would know what needs to change.”
Local 12 followed with, "Is Matt going to pursue legal action against Ms. Boddy and/or the board; if so, what would that be?”
She answered, "Mr. Miller continues to weigh all options available that would hold bad actors accountable for the damage they have done."
Local 12 also spoke with Liberty Township Trustee Tom Farrell.
“Matt’s departure will be a huge negative for Lakota,” he said.
Farrell says he thinks the attack on Miller was politically motivated.
“Some parents believe that Matt should have resigned because of the controversy and because the allegations were so egregious,” Local 12 posed to him.
“I believe that the majority of the parents and teachers believe in Matt and that we’re better in Lakota because of Matt Miller,” he replied. “We can’t let the vocal minority make decisions for us.”
Darbi Boddy did not reply to our requests for an interview. Local 12 did hear from one of the parents who led the charge to against Miller, who said even though he was not found guilty, she believes the evidence was enough to remove him.
The Lakota School Board appointed assistant superintendent Robb Vogelmann as interim superintendent during a special meeting Thursday night. Miller's last day as superintendent will be Jan. 31. He is moving on to a position with the Butler County Educational Service Center.
The school board released this statement:
It is with great disappointment that we learned of Superintendent Matt Miller’s notice of resignation from Lakota. On behalf of the leadership for our district-wide parent organizations, we extend our deep gratitude for Mr. Miller’s service and leadership for the past 6 years.
Through times of district growth and expansion as well as the unprecedented challenge of a global pandemic, Mr. Miller led the Lakota district with distinction. As officers, we’ve seen significant progress made. From all-day kindergarten to virtual learning to the award-winning Cyber Academy and the Incubator EDU program, it’s clear Lakota has led the way in education innovation. Mr. Miller has also been instrumental in building bridges amongst our own Lakota community and with local businesses and organizations, providing our students future-ready learning experiences.
We respectfully request that the members of the Lakota Board of Education ensure the continuation of the progress made in our district while putting the needs of students first. As parents and guardians, one of our highest priorities is for our kids to feel safe and welcome in their school. We hope Lakota’s current and future leadership will continue to build on the strong foundation that has been established, celebrating differences while ensuring a level playing field and providing the post-graduation tools needed for ALL Lakota students.