CRANDON - UPDATE 3/23/18
The Crandon School Board voted unanimously Friday evening to change the wording of superintendent Dr. Doug Kryder's absence from the district.
Kryder is now on "paid administrative leave." Originally, he had been "suspended with pay."
The board said it made the change based on advice of its lawyer. The board met for two and a half hours in closed session on Friday.
Kryder is under investigation by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.
ORIGINAL STORY 3/15/18
Crandon superintendent Dr. Doug Kryder has been suspended with pay pending the results of an investigation.
The Crandon School Board made the decision after more than four hours in closed session discussions Thursday night.
On Friday, Newswatch 12 learned the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office is conducting the investigation.
Kryder has been under pressure from a Crandon community group in the last two weeks. The group, called Citizens United for Education, has been calling for Kryder's removal. The organization says Kryder made false statements about popular former middle/high school principal Andy Space, who resigned Feb. 2. Group members also accuse Kryder of leading Crandon to poor school test scores, poor enrollment numbers, and an unsafe school environment.
No interim superintendent was named during Kryder's suspension.
Responding to a text message from a Newswatch 12 reporter late Thursday night, Kryder declined to comment.
Public pressure on Kryder reached a new high this week. Almost 200 people packed a Crandon School Board meeting on Monday night, with many calling for Kryder to be let go. Soon after, the board scheduled Thursday's meeting, which was held almost exclusively in closed session.
Space's abrupt departure from the district in late January put added focus on the school's leadership. Space had worked for the school for nearly 30 years, most recently as middle/high school principal. Parents, staff, and students were left with little immediate explanation for why he left.
We later learned that the Crandon School Board voted to give Space a preliminary notice of non-renewal on Jan. 15, signaling it didn't want him back next year. Space signed a resignation agreement on Feb. 2.
According to Space, he got a letter signed by Kryder only after he signed that agreement. That letter presented four pages of claims about Space's behavior. The letter claimed Space mishandled a situation with weapons on campus, used demeaning names for female staff members, and said he couldn't improve learning because his staff was mostly women.
Space quickly threatened a lawsuit and called many of the claims "inaccurate" or "not true." Newswatch 12 has subsequently discovered multiple inconsistencies in Kryder's accusations against Space.
Last Friday, a current teacher told Newswatch 12 many members of Crandon's staff have little confidence in Kryder.
It's unclear how long the investigation into Kryder may last. Kryder is in his third year leading the district.