Wayne-Westland schools vote to suspend superintendent for investigation

The Wayne-Westland school board voted to put the district's superintendent on administrative leave. 

Shelley Holt is under investigation for claims about her behavior. The tension inside a district meeting held Thursday night was so thick, it could be cut with a knife.

"Why are you on the board of education if you do not want to investigate the allegations of prejudice, abuse of power and mishandling of funds in your district by your super intendent," said Madison Boettcher, former Wayne-Westland school student. "Maybe it is because Dr. Holt is the hand that feeds you, your 44 percent pay increase."

Students, parents and concerned citizens sounded off as the Wayne Westland school board addressed controversy surrounding Supt., Dr. Shelley Holt. It voted to investigate claims against its top educator less than two years into the job.

"The entire administrative staff of the central office has left," said John Goci, former school board member.

"Every one of us know that when a new person comes in, normally the people that have been there have a real problem with that," said Jean Overman, Western Wayne County NAACP. "So to say that there is this great exodus - what company does not have that?"

Teachers and students have accused Holt of creating a culture of fear and intimidation, having administrators give employees bad evaluations as well as misusing funds and taking questionable trips.

"That is totally outrageous, every trip that she has ever taken was supported and approved by the board," said Anthony Adams, Holt's attorney. "Whatever misuse of funds I wish they would have let us know that, this is a superintendent that was highly evaluated by the board."

Holt declined to comment, but her lawyer Anthony Adams addressed the criticisms and allegations.

"Out of a four-point scale, her last evaluation was 3.97 - so no wall of a sudden we have questions about her performance?" Adams said.

"This is what I see - a well-equipped, well versed and well to do woman, who also happens to be black - being bombarded," said Connie Mitchell, a concerned citizen.

That struck a nerve in an already divided room.

"My black child is not being represented in this school, I will not walk away," yelled one parent.

"My white children are not being 

Several students and teachers voiced their disapproval of dr. holt, but others say she's been the catalyst for positive change in a struggling school district.

"If you look at our school data, and our decrease in suspensions, referrals for behavior, and if you look at our nwa scores we have more achievement than most in an at-risk building," said Amy Gee, principal of Hicks Elementary School.

Holt is on administrative leave pending the suspension for the investigation. It is unclear if there is a timetable for the investigation.