Earl Kim resigns due to lack of ‘positive team dynamic’

BOE elects Tamu Lucero as new superintendent

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Earl Kim resigns due to lack of ‘positive team dynamic’

Board members congratulate Dr. Tamu Lucero after her appointment as superintendent April 23.

Board members congratulate Dr. Tamu Lucero after her appointment as superintendent April 23.

Isabella Garcia

Board members congratulate Dr. Tamu Lucero after her appointment as superintendent April 23.

Isabella Garcia

Isabella Garcia

Board members congratulate Dr. Tamu Lucero after her appointment as superintendent April 23.

Sam Diamond and Isabella Garcia

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On Tuesday, April 23, in a Stamford Board of Education meeting, incoming superintendent Dr. Tamu Lucero took the place of outgoing superintendent Earl Kim, who had announced his intention to resign Friday, April 12.

During an approximately hour-long recess, the board met with an attorney in a private meeting separate from where the general meeting was held. Kim and Lucero, along with other Stamford Public Schools employees, waited for the meeting to end and the board to officially elect Lucero as the new SPS Superintendent.

After the private meeting was over, the board emerged from their chambers and immediately granted Lucero the position of superintendent. Kim left the room shortly before the official announcement was made.

“I will prove you right,” said Lucero in front of the board minutes after her acceptance.

According to Mayor David Martin, Lucero was an “outstanding contributor” to many City of Stamford projects, such as the new Strawberry Hill school. Each board member then individually congratulated her on her position.

Lucero spoke very optimistically when accepting the position, and said she was eager to “roll up her sleeves” and continue with the work left to do in Stamford.

An official reason for Kim’s departure was not given, but following the initial email students, parents, and faculty were concerned and did not understand why Kim would be stepping down following a three year extension of his contract in July of last year.  In an SPS press release, Kim said, “It is my strong belief that a positive team dynamic among board members and the superintendent is critical to the success of any district. It is with that in mind that I offered my resignation to the board at this time.”

Board of Education President Andy George told The Round Table that Kim is a “very disciplined man,” and said that the board, along with other issues such as the Mold Task Force’s ongoing work, put a tremendous amount of pressure on him. George said that city officials, the mold task force, the  BOE, and other community members and organizations were “not working like a team” as much as Kim wanted, so he announced to the board he was going to step down.

Regarding the lack of an official reason for Kim’s departure, George said that as the board was still figuring out when Kim would be leaving and who would be taking his position, they did not want to tell the public what was going on until there was more information.  This allowed the BOE the time to figure out who would be taking Kim’s position.  Lucero had gone through the interview process three years ago, and George said she “knows what a district such as Stamford needs.”

Isabella Garcia
The BOE applauds Dr. Lucero’s appointment as superintendent of schools April 23.

Kim did say that he would stay until the BOE found someone to take his position, but George emphasized that it would not have been in the best interest of the district for Kim to stay on with the public knowing he would be resigning. Realizing that, they moved the transition period up since Lucero was already in the district and the board  knew she was a leader the district could look up to.

George said discussion about Earl Kim’s resignation began in March of 2019, but the board wanted to have all the details together before they announced anything to the public.  However, as rumors started to go around, they needed to quell them, and decided to announce that he would be stepping down so that students, families, and faculty would be able to focus on their jobs.

George confirmed that there would be no consequences for Kim breaking his contract, as he was resigning and not being fired.  

Editors note: This story has been updated to provide additional context for comments from Board of Education President Andy George.

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