School Board Cancels Sibbitt’s Contract

by Staff on April 13, 2011 · 2 comments

in Local,Schools

Dr. Alva SibbittA few weeks after hearing testimony from more than 30 “witnesses”, Mitchell School Board members voted unanimously to cancel the contract of Dr. Alva Sibbitt Monday evening, “effective immediately”, four months after he allegedly rammed his school-owned vehicle into a Indiana State Police patrol car.

“In the Matter of the Teaching Contract of Alva L. Sibbitt, Jr.”, the School Board noted 22 “findings of fact” and several “conclusions of law”:


  1. The Board has jurisdiction over Dr. Sibbitt and the authority to determine whether or not his employment should be continued.
  2. The Board has followed an appropriate process in its consideration of Dr. Sibbitt’s contract and has afforded Dr. Sibbitt all rights that he is entitled to receive under law.
  3. The Board has the authority to cancel Dr. Sibbitt’s contract as superintendent and teacher in Mitchell Schools if it determines that such cancellation is in the best interest of the Mitchell Schools. The Board may also base cancellation of the contract on other good and just cause.
  4. In determining the best interest of Mitchell Schools, the Board notes that Dr. Sibbitt is the chief administrative officer of the school district and is charged with carrying out the policy decisions of the Board. It is important that the Board be able to have confidence in his judgments and respect for his conduct. It is also important for Dr. Sibbitt, in his position, to model appropriate behavior for all staff members and students.
  5. Dr. Sibbitt’s actions in this case are contrary to the values of Mitchell Schools. The Board does not believe that he can be an effective leader of the Mitchell Schools or carry out the policy decisions of the Board in an efficient manner. His continued employment as Superintendent would not serve the best interests of Mitchell Schools.
  6. For the same reasons, Dr. Sibbitt’s continued employment as a teacher in Mitchell Schools would not serve the interests of Mitchell schools.
  7. As defined in Indiana law, “other good and just cause” for the cancellation of a teaching and superintendent contract is defined to include any ground put forth in good faith that is relevant to the Board’s task of building or maintaining an efficient school system.
  8. All of the reasons which lead this Board to conclude that cancellation of Dr. Sibbitt’s contract is in the best interest of Mitchell Schools also support the Board’s decision that it has good and just cause to cancel that contract.
  9. Dr. Sibbitt’s employment contract with Mitchell Schools, both as superintendent and teacher, should be cancelled immediately for the best interests of the Mitchell Schools and for other good and just cause.

“Based on the foregoing findings of fact and conclusions of law the contract employing Dr. Alva L. Sibbitt, Jr. as superintendent and as a teacher in Mitchell Schools is cancelled effective immediately.”

The document, dated Monday, April 11th, was signed by all five board members: Jamie Kirk, Debra Beeler, Michele Super, Marnie LaFevor, and Chris Shaw.

Royce Turner
Royce Turner

I have mixed emotions about this whole story. I was a teacher in the Paoli School system for 5 years, before becoming a victim of the somewhat "panicked" budget cuts that came about in 2010. I am now very happily employed in the state of Washington. However, concerning this story.....Doctor Sibbitt is a good man. Yes....he is the one who suggested to the board that my contract be ended and that the television / media program at the school be "mothballed" least temporarily. BUt, I am sure that over time, it will return. So, I guess I should have bad feelings against the man. However, I learned in the five years I was privileged to have been a teacher in Paoli that he is a person who makes the tough decisions. He is a down to earth good man who makes hard decisions everyday. Some of those decisions don't sit well over time with some of the other "good ol boys" in that area. But....look at who brought so many good things to the Paoli Community....Doc Sibbitt. Look at who defended the school district in so many fights with the state to get funding for the schools...Doc Sibbitt. Look at who was a strong member of the town board and spearheaded many improvements to town - like the park on the west side and the auditorium addition to the high school...Doc Sibbitt. Those are just a few that I know about from the five years I was in Paoli. I am sure there are many more. This man turned around a sleeply little town and gave it some real hope with their school system over 30 years! Maybe the man stepped on a few toes along the way and this was the perfect opportunity for a somewhat over-zealous young trooper to make a name for himself. But, sharpness and quick recognition will always be over-ruled by longevity and wisdom. Based on the story accounts I have read, Dr. Sibbitt got burned by some young punks with a badge - looking for a little revenge or noteriety. And, that is a shame for the Paoli community and the whole area. Younger, aggressive folks, or "sharks" in the school system are pushing to take over and lead in Paoli now. I just hope they will slow down and reflect....because wisdom is what they will need to lead.....just like Dr Sibbitt did for so long. Remember.....the guy suggested, and board agreed, NOT to renew my contract. But, I will still tell you today and years from now, he is a good man, a strong leader and a guy who gets things done. This incident seems to be getting blown WAY out of proportion - in Paoli and in Mitchell....especially with the recent decision to end his contract as Superintendent there. From this teacher's perspective, the Paoli community and the young officers in the area need to step back and chill. Make a name for yourselves the right way. EARN your recognition. Did the man make a few mistakes? Yes. But...Mitchell, Orleans, Paoli, French Lick, and the entire area should wake up and realize how much this man has done for your area. I wish you all good luck. Royce Turner

Philip Scott
Philip Scott

I have listened to Dr. Sibbitt's statement made at the police station shortly after his arrest. While I am neither an attornery nor a police officer, it is my considered opinion that Dr. Sibbitt does not possess the temperment, judgement, nor knowledge of state law to deserve his position as Superintendent of Mitchell Schools. He deserved to be terminated, which has now been done. The school board noted, among other things, that he could not be an effective role model for staff or students, and I agree wholeheartedly. For my final thought, I would like to ask how Dr. Sibbitt would have handled a 16 year old student who committed the same acts. My guess is that he would have demanded a harsher court outcome than he will likely get in his own case.

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