Mount Vernon School Board President Whiteside Abruptly Resigns

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MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Gerald Whiteside, the Mount Vernon School Board President, has resigned from his position although his term doesn’t expire until the end of the school year.

Last week, in an e-mail to school board members and interim Superintendent Judith Johnson, Whiteside announced his intention to resign, effective immediately. He is not expected to be present at the next board meeting in March.

Whiteside has been a mainstay on the Board of Education for three years, since his election in 2011. According to the district, it has not been determined who will head the board in his absence. Whiteside could not be reached by The Daily Voice for comment.

Parents were surprised by Whiteside’s abrupt resignation when alerted of the news.

“It’s surprising, especially since there’s only a few month lefts in the school year,” Angela Garner, who has three children enrolled in the district, said on Thursday. “Just hope everything is alright with his personal life.”

Chip Turner, 33, whose son is in fifth grade, said that having one less talking head at the table might be beneficial for the board, which has been known to be divided over certain issues on occasion.

“Something must have happened to spark this, so you feel bad for the man, but ultimately this might be a good thing overall for the district,” he said. “With one less person to argue in meetings, maybe they can come up with agreements on more things.”

Whiteside’s departure comes while the board is in the process of interviewing for Johnson’s permanent replacement. The district has narrowed the choices down to the final candidates, and an announcement is expected soon. If none of the candidates are appropriate choices, the search will be re-opened.

“If the trustees determine that there is an insufficient choice among the six, then the board will direct the Superintendent Search Committee to re-open the search. If the trustees determine that there are three top finalists, or if less than three is sufficient, the top finalists will be presented for a public, community-wide, forum,” the board announced last month.

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Why did he abruptly resign? Was he forced to resign? Or did he see things happening, that he didn't agree with, and decided to leave before it hits the fan?