Ocean County Politics

Inside Ocean County Government


Barnegat: Superintendent Claims Nepotism, Corruption, Then Walks Back Her Allegations

BARNEGAT – Superintendent Karen Wood is walking back her claims of unethical activities in an official statement following a social media posting in which she made allegations of nepotism, coercision and corruption.

In a late July social media posting, Wood decried a slew of alleged unethical activity that she claimed was taking place in her district, but did not name names, only citing “some members of the Barnegat Board [of Education].” That board previously voted not to renew the superintendent’s contract, which led to calls from community members to renew the contract, with supporters of Wood creating a Facebook group advocating for the renewal of her contract.

“If the community knew the corrupt, anti-ethical acts, the bullying, the coercion, the misrepresentation of the Superintendent would they still support it???” Wood questioned in her original posting. “I’m so sad that small town politics allows for corruption, nepotism etc. I will always remain committed to student and teachers in Barnegat,” she added.

Earlier this year, nepotism became a concern when a relative of board of education vice president Robert Geddes was slated to be hired at a board meeting, and another board member, Gary Brown, created controversy when he responded to a resident with profanity-laced Facebook messages.

Screenshots Of Wood’s Original Postings:

Wood Apologizes, Deletes Posts

But just a few days later, Superintendent Wood was singing a different tune. In a statement dated August 1st that was emailed out to community members using the school district’s messaging system, and obtained by Ocean County Politics, she aplogized for her posting.

“On Saturday, July 23, 2017, on my private FaceBook account I posted a message that has become a distraction and, in retrospect, I made some poor word choices,” Wood said in the statement, which appeared on school district letterhead. “As a result, I removed the post, but now I want to make clear that I have no knowledge of any illegal or criminal conduct by any members of the Board, nor have any Board members displayed any such conduct. I am presently unaware of any violations of the School Ethics Act by any members of the Board. I sincerely apologize to the Board, staff and to the community for making the statements.”

Since these two statements appear to be factually and legally contradictory, we encourage anybody within the school district with information about these allegations to contact our partner website JerseyLeaks.org with any information, documentation or evidence that can substantiate them.

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