Aberdeen superintendent placed on paid leave pending investigation

School board met Saturday to evaluate ‘complaint involving a matter that occurred at a school’

Aberdeen School District Superintendent Jeffrey Thake was placed on paid administrative leave over the weekend, pending an outside investigation into a matter that occurred at a school.

Details of the investigation and the matter involving Thake are still murky.

“Because this is a personnel matter, and until the investigation is complete, there will be no further comment from the board,” President Jennifer Durney said in an April 20 announcement posted on the district’s website. “We are confident that this matter will be handled fairly, thoroughly, in compliance with state law, and with respect for all involved. We also appreciate everyone’s patience until the report is complete.”

The announcement did not name the “outside” entity tasked with completing the investigation or say how long the process might take.

The board convened a special meeting on Saturday, April 20 at 1 p.m. at the district’s administrative building and immediately called an executive session to consider a complaint brought against a public employee and discuss with legal counsel.

Following the session closed to the public, the board voted to place Thake on leave.

In Thake’s absence, the school board shifted superintendent duties to a pair of program directors: Lynn Green, who runs the CTE program, and Traci Sandstrom, director of teaching and learning.

The board’s next regular meeting will take place May 7.

Thake, who is originally from Illinois and last served as chief of the Williston Basin School District in North Dakota, has served as Aberdeen superintendent since the school board selected him unanimously in March 2022.

Contact reporter Clayton Franke at 406-552-3917 or clayton.franke@thedailyworld.com.