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Lewes, Delaware
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April 26, 1996     Cape Gazette
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April 26, 1996
 

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4 - CAPE GAZETrE, Friday, April 26 - May 2, 1996 Peck transferred to assistant principal's post at Cape High By Kerry Kester In her first exercise using a new board policy which allows the su- perintendent to make administra- tive transfers without seeking board approval first, Superinten- dent Suellen Skeen has transferred Margaret Peck, athletic director, to the position of assistant princi- pal at Cape Henlopen High School, effective July 1. She apprised the board of her decision during executive session of the Cape Henlopen Board of Education meeting on Thursday, April 18. Skeen was able to hire an addi- tional assistant principal at the high school because projections show the school at 57 teaching unitL four more than last year. The requirement for a state-fund- ed additional assistant principal at the high school is 55 units. Peck, who has served as athletic director for 12 years, said she is pleased to be changing her duties in the district. "I think it's basically a way to serve the school community in an- other capacity," said Peck. 'TII maintain my interest in athletics by being extremely sup- portive. I came here when the se- niors were in the first grade, and now I'm graduating with them," Peck said. "I'm looking forward to work- ing with the student body in new av- enues," she said. "And I look forward to working with an outstand= ing staff. I do think Cape PECK Henlopen High School has an outstanding professional staff." Skeen was able to make the transfer because the athletic direc- tor's position, although paid from a teaching unit and some local funds, was considered administra- five. According to Butch Archer, board president, the athletic direc- tor's position became an adminis- trative position about three or four years ago. "She's on an administrative contract," said Skeen. "She was funded by a teaching unit. The board paid the difference between the teacher unit and the adminis- trative salary [from local funds]. I don't anticipate the athletic direc- tor position being an administra- tive position any longer." The athletic director's position is expected to open within the next week. Skeen said the board would have to make a final decision on how the position would be out- lined, but her recommendation is for a half time athletic director/half time teacher posi- tion. Peck, who earned her bachelor of science degree in physical edu- cation from Indiana University, earned her master of.science de- gree in secondary education, with an emphasis on counseling. Prior to her tenure in the Cape district, she was an assistant prin- cipal at Indian River High SChool and at Sussex Central Junior High School, where she also served as a guidance counselor. Before moving to Delaware, she was a physical education in- structor at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., where she also coached intercollegiate basketball and field hockey. "Marge has done a hock of a job for us," said Archer. "She's brought a lot of positive recogni- tion to the district because of all she's done." Cape District will see personnel changes in 1996-97 school year By Kerry Kester Although the Cape Henlopen Board of Education will not suffer the agony of distributing pink slips to regularly contracted educators in the district, present projections indicate the district will see some staffing changes. According to Superintendent Suellen Skeen, in addition to the high school earning an additional assistant principal, Shields Elementary School may also qualify for one. "The numbers aren't firm yet," said Skeen, but she is relatively certain the school will qualify. However, she said, that news is offset by the enrollment projections at H.O. Brittingham Elementary School, where numbers are down and the school faces the loss of an assistant principal. "Nobody is going to be rifled [reduction in force]," said Skeen. "We'll be moving some teach- ers around." Milton Middle School and Rehoboth Elementary School will remain nearly the same, both in terms of its professional and administrative staffing needs. Lewes Middle School may lose one teaching position, but it will still qualify for an assistant principal. That position is cur- rently being held by Wayne Steele, who has resigned from the job and will return to his high school driver's education assignment. "We probably will lose some paraprofessionals," said Skeen. Due to a reduction in federal funding, Title I, some paraprofessional positions will have to be eliminated, said Skeen. The paraprofessional lay-offs will be based on seniority. However, she said, the district has not yet determined what the attrition may be, so it is possible that when retire- ment or resignation information becomes known, shuffling assignments may preserve some jobs. Skeen said all those employees, professional or support, who are on temporary contracts, will not be rehired until there are more conclusive enrollment counts. Skeen still in contention for state superintendent of schools position By Kerry Kester Cape Henlopen Board of Education Su- perintendent Suellen Skeen has made it past another round of cuts in Delaware's search for a new state superintendent. Skeen is one of seven who is now in contention for the state's top education leadership post. "The next step is personal interviews with the candidates," said State Board of Education President Paul Fine. The inter- views will be with the State Board, an edu- cational advisory group comprised of edu- cational leaders and with the Delaware Business Roundtable. Fine said he is uncertain whether there will be another round of cuts following the interviews. "I think it's going to flush itself out after this next stage," said Fine. It may or may not be necessary to have another stage of interviews with a smaller number of candidates. "We feel that the superintendent's posi- tion is critical at this time in the state's his- tory," said Fine. "The challenge to strengthen Delaware's public school sys- tem and move New Directions forward is considerable. Each candidate comes with the knowledge and background necessary to move our education reform ahead." "I'm just so very pleased," said Skeen. "I certainly think that we've made wonderful strides in this state on reform." The next stage of educational reform in Delaware, she said, pertains to professional develop- ment and instructional strategies. "And that's what I'm good at," she said. "It's re- al exciting that the next step is the instruc- tional piece." Skeen said that if she is hired, it will be with regret that she leaves the district. Clampitt Continued from page 1 on it." Smith repeated a previous state- ment that city officials had no knowledge of Clampitt's activities that led to the unlawful sexual in- tercourse charges. Judge addresses Clampitt While Lewes awaits more no- tice of the suits, Clampitt will have plenty of time to consider the words of Superior Court Judge William Swain Lee who stood by a sentence agreed to by lawyers for the state and for Clampitt. Asked whether he wanted to comment before sentencing, Clampitt declined. 'TII stand by the sentence as crafted," said Lee, as Clampitt, with head bowed, and his lawyer, Gone Maurer, stood before him. "The victims were involved in the process and the needs of society are met. The police department is the first line of defense that soci- ety has against those who would break rules. Police officers are cloaked with the greatest power of any group over the citizens of so- ciety. When that power is abused it's frightening. The victims have no place to turn to for protection. We have to respond strongly and forcefully. "You," said Lee to Clampitt, "failed in your commitment to the society you were sworn to protect. Instead you chose to use it for your own purposes." Lee ordered Clampitt to have no contact with the victims after he is released from prison and ordered him to get counseling "specifical- ly for sexual problems." When Clampitt was led from the courtroom to a courthouse holding cell, his wife, sobbing loudly, was led by a friend from the courtroom. In the courthouse entryway downstairs, she was comforted by the friend while one of her four children held her legs and asked: Where's daddy, mommy, where's daddy?" Sad and tragic In opening statements at the sentencing, Clampitt's attorney, Maurer, termed the entire situa- tion "sad and tragic for very many reasons. For the victims, for Lewes Police Department, and the greatest problems of all are for Mr. Clampitt's wife and family. She's present in the courtroom and she stands by him at this time. He also will have a tough time of it. It strikes me that he [Clampitt] was not sure he believed he was actually using force to acomplish his purposes. But now he's ac- cepted responsibility for his ac- tions." After sentencing, Maurer reiter- ated that he didn't think the sen- tence was light. "He'll now have a chance to serve his time and then get his life back together." Deputy attorney general Steven Wood called Clampitt's crimes "tremendously horrifying. He used the power of his authority not as a shield but as a sword to violate two innocent victims. It's truly every woman's nightmare. Trying to minimize that at this point only makes matters worse." Clampitt was convicted of two counts of unlawful sexual inter- course related to two separate in- cidents, in 1994 and 1995, when he took the victims to the Lewes police station - after stopping the cars they were in for traffic mat- ters - and had sex with them after telling them what kind of trouble there would be if they didn't ac- cept his advances. He played upon their fears for his own sexual gratification," said Wood. His sentence also reflect- ed conviction on charges of offi- cial mis-conduct. Correctional department offi- cials said Clampitt was taken to Morris Correctional Institution in Dover where it's likely he will serve most of his term. Morris usually houses DWI offenders. He will be eligible for 90 days of reduced sentence for good behav- ior for each year of his sentence. Former Lewes Police Officer Gilbert Clampitt leaves Sussex County Courthouse in the custody of correctional officers Dennis Eskew (left) and Bill Pride on April 19 after being sen- tenced for unlawful sexual intercourse.