A Howard County school administrator who had been at the center of a grade-tampering investigation has submitted her resignation, effective Aug. 27.
Kimberly Statham, the county's chief academic officer, said yesterday that the past year has been difficult for her family and that she plans to pursue other opportunities in education, which she declined to specify. She will work for the school system for a year as a consultant, being paid $75,000, Superintendent Sydney S. Cousin said.
"You just have to check your heart and your gut," Statham said. "It's just time for me to move on and do some other things. No real mystery behind it."
Statham had been reassigned to a teaching position by then-Superintendent John O'Rourke, based on an initial inquiry into allegations that she had taken advantage of her position to help alter a failing grade for her daughter, who attended Centennial High School in Ellicott City at the time.
In May, however, the county school board concluded its own review and found no basis for the accusations. Cousin, who took over for O'Rourke, reinstated her as chief academic officer.
"I accepted Dr. Statham's resignation with reluctance," Cousin said in a written statement yesterday. "She has contributed her considerable talents to the betterment of this school system and its students."
Sandra Erickson, the school system's chief of administration, will temporarily assume Statham's duties. Cousin said he has not determined whether he will fill the position permanently or reorganize his staff.
Statham, 45, arrived in Howard County in 2001 with a reputation as a rising star cultivated during 21 years in Montgomery County schools. She has been credited for developing a comprehensive plan to close an academic achievement gap between Howard County's white students and their black and Hispanic counterparts. The plan ranked schools according to performance and directed resources to struggling campuses, especially among elementary schools. School officials said that strategy has paid off, citing improved test scores.
However, many teachers complained about the amount of paperwork that the plan demanded, and some questioned its usefulness.
Statham said she is proud of what she accomplished during three years in Howard County. Her only regret, she said, is the "nonsense" she and her family went through over the grade-changing accusations.
"I knew if I stuck it out, the truth would prevail and it did," she said. "I've grown a lot in the positions that I have, and I'll take those skills with me."