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Superintendent departure terms from a $52,500 sexual harassment settlement and poor performance?

Months after the district settled a sexual harassment claim, Superintendent Dr. Lesli Myers-Small is leaving. School Board President Cynthia Elliott confirmed the departure in an email to RCSD staff. Allegedly, Elliott stated, "I am writing to inform you that last evening the board of education and superintendent Dr. Lesli Myers-Small began the process of a separation agreement. Sadly, this news was prematurely shared in an article in the Democrat and Chronicle this morning. I want to assure you that a seamless transition is one of our top priorities, as we are preparing to open schools in just over a month."

In May, The Democrat and Chronicle reported Rochester City School District planned to pay Chief Financial Officer Carleen Pierce $52,500. The settlement was from a sexual harassment complaint Pierce filed against Superintendent Dr. Lesli Myers-Small. At that time, information regarding the person who filed the complaint or what happened remained a mystery.

It was later revealed the complainant was CFO Carleen Pierce. Pierce was appointed as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) on August 10, 2020, after serving as an interim CFO since 2015. The incident allegedly took place at a Retreat at East High School. A source claimed that during the event, several witnesses watched in disbelief as Myers-Small touched Pierce’s breast and overheard her complimenting Pierce’s legs. The source claimed that Pierce is a well-dressed woman and wears pumps that give the appearance of muscular legs. The source also claimed that a superior witnessed the indecent interaction between Myers-Small and Pierce. Pierce allegedly was reluctant to file a complaint but was pressured to do so.

Former Board President Van White stated, "It has come to our attention there are some allegations made against the superintendent (Myers-Small) and we’ve retained outside counsel to investigate those allegations. The allegations are currently under investigation by the law firm Woods Oviatt Gilman.

The problems between the board and superintendent began after Dr. Myers-Small took an unapproved vacation. President Beatriz LeBron hinted that Superintendent Dr. Lesli Myers-Small was on vacation during a Facebook Live. Later that same day, LeBron sent an inbox to an undisclosed recipient stating, "They clowns ... I've been arguing all damn day with Van and Amy especially." LeBron goes on to say, "... Van has an office in cornhill and Amy works at Brighton highschool 😒 🥴 she a whole clown too". Allegedly a heated conference call took place as Myers-Small vacationed in Las Vegas.

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