School Board to continue e-mail investigation | SteamboatToday.com
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School Board to continue e-mail investigation

Board president wants to make sure no confidential information policies were violated

— The Steamboat Springs School Board will continue its investigation into how e-mails sent by John DeVincentis in 2004-05 were obtained and given to the Steamboat Pilot & Today.

On Wednesday, former School Board member Pat Gleason admitted that he gave the e-mails to the Pilot & Today. Gleason asked School Board President Denise Connelly to abandon the investigation, saying it was a waste of time and money now that he has come forward as the newspaper’s source.

But Connelly said she has received letters from concerned parents “urging the completion of the investigation to make sure we have policies in place to protect confidential information of students and employees.”



The e-mails were sent between DeVincentis and a teacher in Mercer Island, Wash. They started in August 2004 and ended in May 2005. DeVincentis used his school computer and school account to send the e-mails.

In a letter sent to the newspaper, Gleason said he had access to the DeVincentis’ e-mails as a School Board member. The e-mails were taken from DeVincentis’ school computer after he retired from the school district in 2005.



Connelly ordered the investigation last week during a special School Board meeting. The investigation began this week. Connelly said the School Board has hired attorney Earl Rhodes of Younge and Hockensmith, a Grand Junction law firm, to conduct the investigation. Rhodes conducted interviews with board members this week and is expected to interview staff today.

Connelly said she does not know how long it will take to complete the investigation.

Connelly said Gleason’s admission that he is the source of the e-mails increases the need for the investigation.

“I just feel the investigation is even more necessary now to make sure we have adequate policies in place and to make sure they have not been violated,” she said.

On Thursday, Gleason said he was aware the investigation was continuing.

“I have no clue what’s going to go on,” he said. “Maybe they’ll send (the investigator) my way.”

DeVincentis said Tuesday he is no longer communicating with the newspaper and did not return calls seeking comment Thursday. DeVincentis said last week that he will not be involved in the investigation except to “answer any question asked” of him.

The e-mails DeVincentis sent were harshly critical of Cyndy Simms, a former Steamboat superintendent and the current superintendent in Mercer Island. In the e-mails, DeVincentis suggests ways to undermine Simms, including using aspects of her personal life. He also brags about lying to the Mercer Island School Board to get the board to hire Simms.

He uses derogatory terms to refer to her and jokes about spitting on her and being in the throes of passion with her.

DeVincentis has apologized for the content of the e-mails, saying he was angry at the time the e-mails were written and they were meant to be private.

-To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com


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