The new assistant superintendent for Williston Public School District No. 1 has left his position after he was denied a teaching license in North Dakota.
Jay Eitner, who board members gave a one-year contract to on July 30, parted ways with the district Friday, according to school board President Joanna Baltes.
The district requires all administrators to hold the proper North Dakota license, and Eitner was unable to obtain one, she said.
According to Becky Pitkin, the executive director of the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board, Eitner’s application for a license was denied by the board. The board denied the license because Eitner had applications for a license in other states rejected, as well.
North Dakota belongs to a nationwide clearinghouse that tracks applications for educator licenses, and applications by those who have been denied elsewhere are flagged.
“Because we trust the homework and the investigators in other states, we honored our clearinghouse,” Pitkin said Monday.
It was not immediately clear what other states Eitner had applied in or why those applications had been rejected.
Eitner’s appointment stirred controversy and mixed feelings from board members when they considered it on July 30. When Eitner was the superintendent of a New Jersey school district, he was accused of ageism and sexual harassment.
Board member Heather Wheeler said she’d spoken to a large number of people in advance of Eitner’s contract being proposed to the board.
“There are a number of reservations because of a past history,” she said. “I have those reservations, as well. However, at the same time, they are the past.”
Eitner spoke to the board at the July 30 meeting and defended himself. He said he had been targeted for retaliation because of the changes he’d been trying to make in the district and denied doing anything improper.
He also highlighted an improvement in test scores during his time as head of the district.
Board member Dr. Theresa Hegge said she supported district superintendent Jeffrey Thake and believed in his vision, but worried that hiring Eitner might distract from the district’s goals.
“I question introducing another potential issue or distraction,” she said. “I don’t think we need a distraction.”