New board of education members sworn in after settlement agreements forced two resignations

Target 3

DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA)– Two new members were sworn into the Danville Board of Education Wednesday night.

They replace former members who stepped down last month as a condition of two settlements. One agreement was made with superintendent Alicia Geddis, the other with her administrative assistant. Former board member Lon Henderson and former board president Bill Dobbles resigned.

Those agreements, which cost the school district about $655,000, put claims of sexual harassment and misconduct to rest.

New members Tyson Parks and Christopher Easton were sworn in at the Board of Education meeting Wednesday, promising to uphold the best interest of Danville schools.

“We have great people helping our education system in Danville,” Easton told WCIA in an interview following the board meeting. “And I just thought it’s not common to have a vacancy come up.”

Easton is a chaplain. He’s also been a substitute teacher and is the parent of two kids in Danville schools.

“I think we can keep our kids encouraged, we can keep their futures very bright,” he said.

His goal for the future of the district is to see everyone who enters kindergarten, graduate high school.

Parks has lived in Danville for nearly three decades.

“The 27 years I’ve been in Danville, I’ve watched the school board very closely,” he added.

Parks is the district superintendent for the African Episcopal Church. He said he’s already been having conversations with community members about addressing gun violence.

“Some people have indicated that there’s a good possibility that what we need to do is look at bringing into our school district, a similar situation which they’re doing in Champaign with the metal detectors,” Parks shared.

We asked both new members about their predecessors.

Renée: “Do you have any concerns about the way that happened or the conduct within the board?”
Parks: “I don’t because I don’t know all the logistics.”

In a letter to the board last year, Geddis’s lawyer said the reason she requested a sexual harassment investigation into then-board member Lon Henderson was because it was not addressed appropriately by the board, which was headed up by Bill Dobbles at the time.

Renée: “How do you make sure complaints are addressed more immediately in the future?”
Easton: “I think education is really important. I have been through hours and hours of education on what to do when incidents occur, and so just not being afraid to talk to people when there’s conflict at any level.”

The investigation concluded that although the accusations against Henderson were substantiated, some in part, it did not find enough evidence to label Henderson’s conduct as sexual harassment.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.