Resignation of Citrus educator detailed

The administrator admitted taking equipment from a school, the superintendent says.

Published August 18, 2006

INVERNESS - New details emerged Thursday about the abrupt resignation of school district administrator Stephen Myers, who is being investigated by the Citrus Sheriff's Office in a theft case.

Superintendent Sandra "Sam" Himmel said Thursday she accepted Myers' resignation after he admitted taking home a DVD/VCR player from Homosassa Elementary School.

The Sheriff's Office said it is also investigating Myers for taking home a school district shop vacuum.

Himmel said school officials first learned of the theft from Myers' wife, who also works for the school system.

Carin Myers told authorities over the weekend that her husband wanted to give their daughter the DVD/VCR player as a gift.

Stephen Myers, 57, served as the district's director of support personnel and risk management. His annual salary was $78,815.

The Myerses did not return telephone calls Thursday seeking comment for this story.

Himmel said she placed Myers on paid administrative leave immediately.

"We have to treat him the same as any other employee," she said in an interview Thursday.

After the Sheriff's Office opened an investigation, Myers called Himmel saying he had resigned. His last day was Aug. 11.

The School Board is expected to formally accept his resignation at a meeting Tuesday.

The State Attorney's Office will decide whether or not to file criminal charges against Myers after the sheriff's investigation is completed.

Himmel said the DVD/VCR player has been returned to Homosassa Elementary. The small school, which was the site of major construction flaws in 2004, serves mostly underprivileged children.

This is not the first time that Myers' use of school district property has invited scrutiny.

While he was principal of Crystal River High School, Myers was questioned by then-superintendent David Hickey for taking the school's grill to University of Florida football games.

Himmel said Thursday she was not aware of any previous instances when Myers' use of district property got him into trouble.

She said she had allowed Myers to use the school's grill for special functions at the Plantation Inn & Golf Resort, which allowed the school's golf team to use its facilities, she said.

In 2003, when Myers was principal, Crystal River High School's image took a blow after allegations surfaced about ethical, policy and rule violations involving the school's athletic program.

After an internal investigation, Myers was reprimanded and head baseball coach Brent Hall was not rehired.

Last July, Himmel decided to remove Myers from the school and offer him an administrative job in the main district office in Inverness.

Myers, who made $79, 515 his last year as principal, accepted the position of director of risk management and support personnel and agreed to a pay cut.

In his new role, Myers oversaw health coverage for district employees. He also participated in salary negotiations and enforced professional standards.

Before moving to Citrus County, he was assistant superintendent of Charlotte County schools for three years. He also held an administrative job with the Kansas City School District.

Eddy Ramirez can be reached at eramirez@sptimes.com or 860-7305.