Bev Hammond, who resigned Jan. 18 as superintendent of the School District of Mystery Lake, has reached an out-of-court settlement in her $5.29-million lawsuit against one of her former employers, the Wild Rose Public School Board in Rocky Mountain House, Alta.
Hammond who came to Thompson as superintendent on Aug. 1, 2010 – a year after Ryan Land arrived to become probationary principal of R.D. Parker Collegiate – is remembered mainly for an explosively controversial 17½-month tenure in which Land was first publicly rebuked and later fired at Hammond's instigation, accused of being the person ultimately responsible for the changing of marks and the use of inappropriate activities for community service credits at R.D. Parker Collegiate, Hammond told the Thompson Citizen last July. Land, manager of corporate affairs for Vale's Manitoba Operations since last May, as a member of the Thompson Teachers' Association of the Manitoba Teachers Society, grieved his firing and also filed a complaint with the Manitoba ombudsman's office.
The community largely split in the Hammond-Land saga with diehard supporters to this day on both sides of the debate.
The Hammond settlement was reached April 2 and first reported by the Red Deer Advocate April 5.
The terms of the settlement are confidential. The case had been headed for a civil trial in the Court of Queen's Bench in Red Deer in October.
Hammond was deputy superintendent from 2003 to 2007 of Wild Rose School Division #66, based out of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, and became superintendent in January 2008 on a five-year contract, but a year later on Jan. 21, 2009, while on sick leave expected to run through June 2009, was fired by the Wild Rose School Division on a "without cause basis," trustee Keith Warren told the Drayton Valley Western Review in an interview in 2009. On April 14, 2009, Hammond launched a $5.29 million lawsuit in Red Deer, against the Wild Rose School Division, along with two of its trustees, Warren, and Eric Tait. Wild Rose School Division also takes in Drayton Valley, Caroline, Leslieville, Breton and Condor.
According to Hammond's statement of claim, a medical condition prevented her from working for a period of time in 2008. The division and Hammond executed a mutual termination agreement that would pay her $367,870 equal to 12 months salary, benefits and pension. Hammond claimed the school division failed to honour the agreement and instead offered salary and unused vacation entitlement of roughly $175,000.
Hammond resigned from her post on Dec. 31, 2008.
The Red Deer paper said Hammond has issued a statement saying, she was "pleased with the terms of the settlement and wish to thank everyone for their unwavering support during the course of this litigation." The Thompson Citizen was not able to reach Hammond for comment Monday afternoon, but in an e-mail reply to our query she replied Tuesday morning: "Yes, this is an accurate summary. I have no further comment. Thanks."
Hammond resigned as superintendent of the School District of Mystery Lake Jan. 18. She had been on medical leave from Dec. 13 through Dec. 22 and on holidays from then through Jan. 9 when classes resumed. She attended the school board trustees' meeting Jan. 10.
In an e-mail sent about 5:25 p.m. Jan. 18 to all School District of Mystery Lake trustees and staff, Hammond wrote:
"It is with both regret and anticipation that I must advise you of my resignation as your Superintendent/CEO of Schools effective immediately. Life has a way of throwing us a few curve balls from time to time and my decision, while not an easy one, is the right one for me at this time both personally and professionally."
She started her teaching career in Alberta and later spent almost five years in the Yukon, both teaching and later working for the Yukon Department of Education. Hammond has also been an instruction and programming co-ordinator for the Foundations for the Future Charter Academy in Calgary and a high school vice-principal in Hope, British Columbia. Hammond was one of three finalists for the superintendent's job with the Juneau School District in Alaska in April 2009.