Fmr. Berkeley Co. superintendent files lawsuit against district, school board members
BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - A former Berkeley County school superintendent has filed a lawsuit against his former employer, members of the school board and his replacement alleging they conspired to oust him from his position.
In the filing, former superintendent Deon Jackson claims board members Mac McQuillin, Sally Wofford, Kathy Littleton and Michael Ramsey held private meetings in violation of the state’s Freedom of Information Act.
The lawsuit states the alleged meetings constituted a quorum of the board based on the seats of newly elected members of the board being vacant until they were sworn in on Nov. 15.
“Upon information and belief, the four re-elected members of the board, Defendants McQuillin, Littleton, Wofford and Ramsey, held private meetings in-person and via telephonic means, which constituted an illegal board meeting comprised of a quorum to discuss and decide upon the termination of [Jackson],” the lawsuit states.
Court documents state that Jackson received a phone call from Mac McQuillin the Sunday prior to the Nov. 15 board meeting in which McQuillin informed Jackson of the board’s intentions to fire him during the meeting.
McQuillin offered for Jackson to resign before the Nov. 15 board meeting and suggested that failure to do so would be “embarrassing” and make it difficult for Jackson to be hired elsewhere, court documents state.
On Nov. 23, McQuillin released a statement on why Jackson was fired.
In it, McQuillin stated the board lacked the trust and confidence in Jackson to lead the district.
“We lacked trust and confidence in Mr. Jackson to lead the District,” McQuillin stated on Nov. 23. “It is suffice to say that no superintendent can effectively lead without the support of the elected officials entrusted with overseeing our schools. The most important job of any school board is to appoint a superintendent that can put students on the path to academic success. The members voting to terminate Mr. Jackson found him lacking in this regard.”
He went on to cite the academic decline in the district and wanting to reverse that decline stating the members who voted to terminate Jackson lacked the confidence that he could perform the job consistently.
In the lawsuit, Jackson is seeking compensatory and punitive damages as found appropriate by a jury along with reasonable attorney fees and other litigation expenses.
The named board members and Berkeley County School District have not yet returned requests for comment.
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