Winston officially quits Henrico school board - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Winston officially quits Henrico school board

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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) -

Henrico School Board member Diana Winston has officially called it quits, turning in her letter of resignation Monday.

Winston, who represents the Three Chopt District, walked out of the last week's school board meeting as the members met to discuss superintendent Dr. Patrick Russo's contract extension. During that meeting it was decided that Dr. Russo would go on paid annual leave.

According to the letter of resignation, August 21 will be Winston's last day. In her letter of resignation she thanked the community but also said  the misinformation reported to journalists by ex-employees and a former board member was inaccurate, sensational and she told them, "…to ‘get a life.'"

"There is no one that loved children of Henrico County more dearly in a professional role than Mrs. Winston," said School Board President, Beverly Cocke.

But the board did confirm, there is an investigation going on and the Henrico Commonwealth's Attorney is now involved.  Reports have suggested the Winstons and Dr. Russo have a very close relationship.  Attorneys are trying to see if there was a conflict of interest when it came to Mr. Winston's business Techno Marketing at their contract with the school district.

The school board says there are concerns involving Dr. Russo and the Times-Dispatch has reported inappropriate emails. Right now, school leaders continue to refuse to comment about those reports of alleged inappropriate emails and say the review must be completed first.

"I understand that, parents want to know, our citizens have a right to know and frankly we too want to know those answers," says Cocke.

Deputy Superintendent Dr. Patrick Kinlaw, say the information will be made available soon. 

"When you get into a review like this, it has to be a confidential review to protect everybody involved. To protect the school board, the school system, the superintendent," says Dr. Kinlaw.

He says despite this shake up, the district is ready to welcome students for the first day of school on September 3. 

In the meantime, the board says they will appoint someone to fill in for Winston.  Her position will not go to a vote until November 2014 because it's too close to this year's election.

Right now, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Kinlaw will take on Dr. Russo's responsibilities.

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