Carthage ISD voted Thursday just now to voluntarily separate from their agreement with Superintendent John Wink.
Jim Dunlap has unanimously been named interim superintendent. Both actions are effective immediately. Trustee Elzie Hicks was the lone trustee to vote against the voluntary separation.
The Watchman has requested a copy of the separation agreement from the district.
Board President Ben Donald declined to comment Thursday. The district’s attorney, Dennis J. Eichelbaum, reiterated the actions the board took and did not elaborate on the specific items in the separation agreement, saying it would be a public record that the Watchman could request.
Wink joined the district in January 2019, coming from Blue Ridge ISD near Dallas to succeed longtime Superintendent Glenn Hambrick. In addition to Carthage ISD and Blue Ridge ISD, Wink has previously worked at Tatum ISD, Hallsville ISD, Gilmer ISD and Longview ISD. Wink is a Longview native.
Dunlap helped Carthage ISD lead the superintendent search that hired Wink, working as Chief Operating Officer and Lead Consultant for Arrow Educational Services. He is a Carthage native who served as superintendent at various East Texas schools, including Hallsville and Beckville ISDs.
This was the second special board meeting that Carthage ISD called this week to discuss Wink’s position.
A Sunday meeting brought out supporters of Wink, as well as supporters of a Baker-Koonce Intermediate School teacher who was placed on administrative leave and who Wink had recommended be fired after he said she admitted to handing out a drug without a proper prescription and using her position to circumvent district protocols to get a particular diagnosis for a child.
The school board heard about 45 minutes of public comments Sunday before it went into closed session for three hours. Just before 11 p.m., the board resumed its public meeting and announced no action would be taken.
Thursday’s meeting at the Carthage High School Performing Arts Center included just two public comments before the school board went into executive session for about 15 minutes.
Sequoise Givens, a parent and nurse practitioner, told trustees Thursday that the discussions around whether or not to fire Wink were ridiculous.
“I have to respectfully say that I think it’s ridiculous because I read in the paper that the teacher actually admitted that she gave the medication. So with that being said, I have to wonder what is this really about? Why are we really here?” she said. “It seems silly to me that a man is possibly being fired for doing his job. I really think that we’re losing focus here. These meetings are supposed to be — and I’ll repeat supposed to be — about the students.”
Givens, who has worked as a nurse practitioner for more than 22 years, put it plainly to the board: Giving medication without a proper DEA or NPI number is wrong and illegal. She said that even with her experience, she doesn’t feel comfortable giving such medication because so many things can go wrong and there are so many potential side effects.
“Consider your instincts,” she said. “Ask yourself if what he did is best for students. Anything that we might not know about that he’s basically on trial for today, ask yourself ‘Is that what’s best for the student?” Because that is the only reason that we’re supposed to be here.”