Dr. Luvelle Brown resigned from his position as Superintendent of Ithaca City School District at a meeting on Jan. 12. His resignation was accepted by the school board and is effective Feb. 1. Brown has taken a job as head of equity, diversity and inclusion for Discovery Education, a global education company.
However, the resignation comes shortly after a group of advocates wrote to Commissioner Betty Rosa of the New York State Department of Education regarding complaints against Brown. The letter opens with the following:
"We write in response to the grave allegations regarding longstanding and grossly inappropriate use of public office and authority by the Superintendent of the Ithaca City School District (ICSD), Dr. Luvelle Brown, in his efforts to wage personal war against his former spouse and the mother of their two children, Ms. Anjanette Brown, by undermining her rights, silencing and humiliating her and destroying her reputation; as well as allegations of recurrent unethical conflicts of interest, and other areas of professional misconduct, such as the misuse of school and district staff, resources and facilities to flout and evade court orders in a manner that has negatively affected the rights, protections and success of the children in the school system and the morale, behavior and work of teachers and staff.
We also write with concern about the refusal of the ICSD Board of Education to investigate the many points and material evidences provided in the substantive petition submitted by Ms. Anjanette Brown on November 22nd, 2020. In her meticulously detailed document, she provides numerous instances of unacceptable experiences of discriminatory treatment, marginalization, silencing, gaslighting and isolation she had suffered, of specific state, federal and school district policies violations, in all, she submits 200 pages of emails, reports, and even legal depositions that back up her accounts of abuse of power in the district and its deeply negative impact on her children’s educational development and wellbeing, leaving them with serious deficits in the customary benchmark reports. "
The lengthy document goes on to include numerous other allegations against Brown on behalf of his ex-wife, Anjanette Brown. Like the letter mentions, the school board did receive a copy of Anjanette's complaints and allegations against Luvelle, ICSD Board of Education Vice President Sean Eversley Bradwell confirmed.
Bradwell said the board did conduct an investigation into the claims.
"We found many of the claims to be without merit and others to be outside of the purview of school district business," he said. "It was clear to us that much of what was discussed was a long-running separation and custody dispute."
He added that this had been going on over several years, and it wasn't the first time the board had received allegations from Anjanette.
Bradwell also categorically denied that the allegations had anything to do with Luvelle's decision to resign. Instead, he pointed to a reevaluation of priorities after the death of Luvelle's mother and the fact that he had served 10 years in the New York State retirement system.
"I think that pushed him to be more reflective about what he wants his life to include," Bradwell said. "I think it was the right opportunity at the right time."
The letter detailing the allegations was sent to the Commissioner of the Board of Education on Jan. 5, and Bradwell expects to hear something back by the end of the week.
"I'm quite certain the state will not look t this because there's nothing to look at, honestly," he said. "The board has completed its investigation and I'm sure there will be a receipt from the commissioner's office."
The letter specifically asked the state to support Anjanette's "appeal for justice in this matter and to conduct a thorough, objective and transparent investigation with due protection for whistleblowers. Ms. Brown is not asking for intervention with personal matters."
The letter also requests the state investigates "the ways ICSD denied her son provisions under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act," and that t holds the "Superintendent and the Ithaca City School District accountable to uphold its unified Code of Conduct and take the ICSD Board of Education to task for refusing to uphold Article 5300.20: Rights and Expectations of Essential Partners."
This story will continue to be updated.