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Brent Jarrell, former principal at Barboursville Middle School, exits the room where his termination was discussed at Tuesday night’s Cabell County Board of Education meeting, which lasted into the morning Wednesday, April 21, 2021.

HUNTINGTON — Following an executive session that lasted nearly four hours, members of the Cabell County Board of Education voted to terminate the contract of Barboursville Middle School’s principal early Wednesday morning.

After conversations behind closed doors between Brent Jarrell, county administrators and others, the board voted to uphold Superintendent Ryan Saxe’s recommendation to ratify an unpaid suspension beginning April 8 and terminate Jarrell’s contract.

The decision, which didn’t come until after midnight Tuesday, was 3-2 in favor of the superintendent’s recommendation. Board members Skip Parsons, Charles Shaw and President Mary Neely voted in favor. Members Alyssa Bond and Rhonda Smalley opposed.

Despite the decision to terminate Jarrell’s contract, the superintendent failed to give a reason for the termination, claiming he could not comment on any personnel matters as they relate to specific employees.

Saxe did say the reason for such a lengthy executive session was due to board members “carefully considering everything.”

Jarrell was placed on administrative leave by the county effective Jan. 29. That decision was voted on by the school board March 15.

The administrative leave was effective “until a resolution could be reached,” but no additional details were made available to The Herald-Dispatch at that time. Barbara Carlton, a retired principal in the county, has served as acting principal while Jarrell has been absent from the school.

Former Barboursville Middle principal Jerry Lake spoke highly of Jarrell during the public comment portion of Tuesday’s meeting and urged board members not to terminate his contract, saying Jarrell has faithfully served the school district for more than 30 years and didn’t deserve the result.

Saxe said the process to hire Jarrell’s permanent replacement begins with a job posting for the principal, then when candidates are identified they will go through the interview process before making a recommendation on a candidate and a start date.

Jarrell declined to comment following the vote.

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