By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer
Clovis Christian School announced Friday it has hired Ladona Clayton as its superintendent to replace Stephen Schultze on the heels of controversy over his involvement with a fugitive.
Clayton is the former deputy superintendent for Clovis Municipal Schools.
Ben Wright, Clovis Christian school board president, said the school is excited to work with Clayton and believes her vast experience in education will be a boon for the school.
Wright said Schultze and the school mutually decided against renewing his contract when it recently ended.
The decision follows public outcry over Schultze’s involvement with a fugitive sought by the U.S. Marshal’s Service on child rape charges in Missouri.
Jerry Klinker was captured in April while living at Schultze’s Clovis home.
Schultze was placed on administrative leave two days later, when investigators seized Schultze’s computer at the school.
He was later reinstated when the Curry County Sheriff’s Office said they found no evidence of criminal activity.
Then in May, Schultze reportedly picked Klinker up from Preston Smith International Airport in Lubbock and brought him back to Clovis after Missouri detention officials released him by mistake.
Police arrested Klinker a second time and returned him to Missouri.
Schultze wasn’t charged in connection with either incident.
But public concern became a concern for the school, Wright said.
“The board’s convinced it’s egregious what happened to the man (Schultze) in the court of public opinion… (but) it became damaging to the school,” he said.
“The board’s still convinced that Mr. Schultze engaged in no wrongdoing… it was a mutual decision that it was in the best interests of the school (not to renew his contract).”
Wright said Schultze is in the process of moving from the area and he has the full support of the board in future endeavors.
“He’s seeking employment elsewhere with a very strong recommendation from the board… The board is not unhappy with Mr. Schultze,” he said.
Clayton, who is expected to receive a doctorate in educational leadership in August, comes to the position with more than 20 years of experience from her work with Clovis schools, according to a press release from Clovis Christian.
Wright said her doctoral dissertation involving research she has done on the Holy Spirit in education was impressive.
“We’re pleased and she’s pleased,” he said.
“We’ve been on a course of improving the school for the past year and I think she’ll build on that and continue it.”
The school has also hired Linda D’ Amour as its elementary principal, the release said.
D’ Amour, a doctoral candidate at the University of Phoenix, has 14 years classroom experience, has taught college level classes and spent four years in school administration.
Clovis Christian School serves approximately 230 students, elementary through grade 12.