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New Waynesboro High School hire left Ohio job due to sexual-misconduct allegations

Chris Graham
joshua herndon submitted
Photo: Waynesboro Public Schools

The newly hired assistant principal at Waynesboro High School left a job as principal at an Ohio high school in 2022 amid an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct.

Waynesboro Public Schools announced the hire of Joshua Herndon in a press release sent to the local media during Tuesday’s Waynesboro School Board meeting.

The release noted that Herndon’s appointment “reflects the division’s steadfast dedication to fostering excellence in education,” and listed items from his education resume, including his previous appointments in Waynesboro as assistant principal at Westwood Hills Elementary School and at Kate Collins Middle School, where he served as both assistant principal and later as principal, and referenced his time as a high school principal in Ohio.

Herndon, according to his LinkedIn resume, worked as a principal in Southeast Local Schools from July 2020-December 2022.

The Kent, Ohio,-based Record-Courier reported in December 2022 that Herndon and a data coach in the Southeast school system, Amber Vankirk, had been placed on administrative leave on Nov. 30, 2022, pending an “unspecified investigation.”

The Record-Courier then reported on Jan. 4, 2023, that the investigation involved “allegations of sexual misconduct.”

That January 2023 report cited letters from the school system’s superintendent, Bob Dunn, informing Herndon and Vankirk that an investigation was being conducted “into your alleged misconduct involving another Board employee at the High School on November 30, 2022,” and referred to the issue as “alleged sexual misconduct.”

The letters, according to the newspaper, warned that discipline, “up to and including termination,” could occur as a result of the alleged misconduct.

Both Herndon and Vankirk submitted resignation letters on Dec. 12, according to the Jan. 4, 2023, Record-Courier report.

From there, Herndon went to a job as a HR talent development coordinator with Charlottesville City Schools, with his term there beginning last July.

The press release from Waynesboro Public Schools announcing Herndon’s hire for the WHS assistant principal job also notes his current job in Charlottesville.

The release also includes a glowing quote from Superintendent Jeffrey Cassell touting the Herndon hire.

“We are thrilled to welcome Josh back to Waynesboro,” Cassell was quoted in the press release. “His dynamic leadership style and unwavering commitment to student success make him an invaluable addition to our administrative team.”

We reached out to Waynesboro School Board Chair Debra Freeman-Belle and Ryan Barber, the assistant superintendent who heads up the human-resources office at Waynesboro Public Schools, for comment on the situation with Herndon’s resignation from the job in Ohio.

Freeman-Belle referred us to Barber for comment, and Barber’s comment was to refer us back to the press release that went out Tuesday night.

“The school division has provided our press release. I’ve attached it again for your convenience,” Barber wrote in his email.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].