Canon-McMillan school directors on Monday unanimously approved an 11-month sabbatical leave for Superintendent Helen McCracken, citing medical reasons.
The leave is retroactive, effective from July 18 through June 29, 2012. Assistant Superintendent Michael Daniels will serve as substitute superintendent in her absence.
According to her contract, she is entitled to at least one-half of her pay during the leave, which will also mean a $70,000 savings to the district, school officials said.
School directors named “restoration of health” as the reason for McCracken’s sabbatical, but wouldn’t offer further details.
“It’s unfortunate to lose a leader for a year like this,” said Joe Zupancic, board member. “Those who don’t appreciate what she does for this district will learn how sorely we will miss her. Dr. McCracken knows how to hold feet to the fire and is very well respected by all administrators,” he said.
During McCracken’s tenure as superintendent, two elementary schools were awarded Blue Ribbons and a middle school was named among national Schools to Watch recipients. In addition, she saw the district through one of its most difficult budget years, he said.
McCracken could not be reached for comment, but in a district newsletter earlier this year she wrote that she is a graduate of Canon-McMillan and has devoted her entire professional career to the children and community.
“You can find several people of my ilk among your friends and neighbors; there is just something about CM that called upon us to stay and do our (l)ife’s mission here,” she said in the newsletter.
School directors Zeffie Carroll and Laura Grossman, and board President Debbie Link, were absent from Monday's meeting.