Knapp resigns

MIDDLEBURG – Two seats were left unfilled at the start of the Midd-West School District’s Board of Directors meeting Monday night at Middleburg Elementary School.

Midway through the meeting the seat in the corner was filled by director Shawn Sassman. However, the one front and center was noticeably left vacant – by superintendent Dr. Wesley Knapp.

After hearing business, financial and athletic reports, comments from the public regarding curriculum and bus stop issues and approving the senior class trip to New York City, the biggest news of the night was presented by board president Victor Abate.

Abate stated it was not on the agenda due to the timing, but Knapp had requested the board accept his resignation as superintendent effective Dec. 31, 2013.

Board members quickly voted unanimously to accept the administrator’s resignation.

“I am saddened by this,” board member Richard Aucker stated for the record after the resignation was official.

Knapp is currently on a leave of absence through the end of year. Assistant superintendent Daphne Snook will take over his duties until a replacement is named. Snook has been at her current position since July 2009.

Knapp’s resignation was discussed in an executive session prior to the regularly scheduled meeting. This was the first time most board members learned of Knapp’s intention to step down as leader of the district.

“I learned about it at 1 o’clock this afternoon,” Abate said.

Neither Abate nor solicitor Orris Knepp III would confirm why Knapp chose to resign so suddenly. They also did not offer a reason for his current leave of absence, which continues through the end of the year.

Knapp was in his fifth year as superintendent of Midd-West School District. Overall, this was his 53rd year as a professional educator.

A joint public statement said Knapp believed his exit would give a newly-elected board that is expected to be seated in December the opportunity to seek a superintendent who will share the goals of the new board and give them the opportunity to purse those goals.

Knapp gave the district a five-year commitment when he was hired in December 2008. That commitment will be met when is resignation is official on New Year’s Eve. His contract would have continued through 2016.