Lowcountry school superintendent is out, months after being hired
Four months after Dr. Eric Gallien was named Charleston County’s new school superintendent, the district board has accepted a settlement agreement releasing him from his duties. The unanimous decision was made after board members revealed an investigation into a complaint Gallien had created a hostile work environment showed he did nothing wrong.
It was that complaint that led to Gallien’s suspension last month, and a wave of allegations of racism and lack of transparency among school board members.
“We should be ashamed,” school board member Daron Lee Calhoun II said. He voted against Gallien’s suspension.
Board member Carol Tempel said no to Gallien’s suspension as well. She voted Friday to accept the settlement agreement saying it’s what Gallien wants.
“I think we put him through an awful lot of stress that was not needed,” Tempel said. “I hope that we can move forward.”
Much of the discussions about Gallien’s future were held behind closed doors, during an executive session of a special meeting that was called for 8 a.m. the day before. Board members say details of the agreement will be released once it’s fully executed.
It was an executive session meeting Sept. 25th in which Gallien was suspended that raised eyebrows. Lawmakers and the SC Attorney General’s Office questioned if the meeting violated the state’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Gallien, meantime, sued the school district alleging breach of contract and violating the FOIA law.
Board members say the search for a new superintendent will begin in January. They elected interim Superintendent Anita Huggins to serve as the acting superintendent until a replacement is named.