Alachua County Superintendent Carlee Simon, School Board Member Gunnar Paulson respond to letter limiting in-person conversations

Published: Nov. 5, 2021 at 4:46 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -The Alachua County School District Boardroom is one of the only settings in which Alachua County Superintendent Carlee Simon and School Board member Gunnar Paulson openly speak. An early October phone call between the two is the first reason why Simon is limiting conversations.

“After that call, I decided that you know, I was not going to accept that type of behavior,” said Simon.

TV 20 obtained an email sent to Paulson from Simon saying all future communication will be on paper or with a third party present. Simon accused Paulson of sexist comments from their phone call, repeatedly violating Sunshine Laws and mistreating staff. She said she’s hired a private attorney to protect herself.

“And those executive sessions, he’s been professional in that aspect,” said Simon. “This most recent board meeting he has shared some of his concerns but I have not seen anything like the phone conversation that I had with him.”

RELATED STORY: Alachua County School Board votes to extend mask mandate for K-8 students until December 6th

TV 20 asked Paulson for his response to Simon’s accusations and while he refused an interview, Paulson sent us his emailed reply to Simon’s letter. In it, Paulson called Simon’s leadership practices concerning, her email unprofessional with tones of bullying as well as full of misrepresentations of their phone conversation. Paulson mentioned his tenure as an educator and said he’s deeply troubled by her email.

Alachua County School Board member Gunnar Paulson's response to Supt. Simon
Alachua County School Board member Gunnar Paulson's response to Supt. Simon(WCJB)

“I need to work with the five board members,” said Simon. “I need to work with the board as a collective body and we do have many things that we need to focus our energy on.”

There have been five meetings since Simon sent the letter. School board members meet again on Nov. 16.

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