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Ousted Mesa Superintendent issues public statement, calls accusations "false and misleading"

Mesa Public Schools
Posted at 7:52 PM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 21:54:05-05

MESA, AZ — For the first time, Dr. Ember Conley is directly responding to questions regarding her paid administrative leave last fall, and eventual resignation as superintendent of Mesa Public Schools.

In a 14-minute video and three-page written statement Conley recounts her achievements as superintendent and addresses the restructuring of district leadership and questions regarding executive team compensation.

She resigned amid questionable spending on executive pay raises and contracts that may not have received Governing Board approval, which violates state law.

A district internal audit later found there were more than $140,000 in unapproved raises for eight different members of the superintendent’s staff, along with two contracts which were never approved by the board, totaling $270,000.

Still, Conley maintains there was no wrongdoing and says she resigned because of personal challenges and the demands of the superintendent job.

She says in part, "There is no mystery or wrongdoing... This situation in Mesa has resulted in hundreds of hours being taken away from educating the students and has eroded the public trust. It is troubling to read reports of wrong-doing or deception on the part of the Superintendent, which are false and misleading."

Mesa Public Schools, responding to the public statement by saying, "The Governing Board appreciates the service of Dr. Conley during her term as superintendent and wishes her well in future endeavors."

The district is currently searching for a permanent replacement and hopes to name a new superintendent by April 14.