Former Webster superintendent is back in school in Lyons 

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Former Webster Schools Superintendent Carmen Gumina, whose hasty resignation last year was fraught with controversy over the payout from the district and accusations of him carrying out a personal vendetta, has been hired by a Wayne County school district.

Gumina was appointed as the interim principal of the middle and high school in the Lyons Central School District in November and has since transitioned into a new role in the district.

Lyons Superintendent Matthew Barr on Monday declined a request for an interview, but wrote in response to an email inquiry that Gumina left his interim post in February, after the job was filled on a permanent basis, and that Gumina was now providing “instructional coaching and professional development” within the district.

Barr did not comment on how or whether the circumstances of Gumina’s departure from Webster were considered during the hiring process.

A message left for Gumina on his cell phone was not immediately returned.

Gumina, 57, had worked in Webster schools for 25 years in various capacities — as a teacher, principal, and central office administrator — before being named superintendent in 2014.

But he resigned abruptly in April 2021, a few days after a former teacher alleged in a federal lawsuit against the Webster school district that Gumina had steered investigators toward him because both men were sleeping with the same woman, a district employee.

The teacher, Kali Watkins, had been charged with raping a girl who played on the Webster Schroeder High School basketball team that he coached. He was acquitted after his lawyers showed that he had a solid alibi for much of the afternoon that the attack was alleged to have taken place.

Shortly after the lawsuit was filed and its allegations became public, Gumina announced he was “retiring.” The lawsuit is still in litigation.

“I’ve realized that I just don’t have the fight left in my soul,” Gumina reportedly wrote in a letter to staff. “My ‘tank’ is empty, and I think it’s because I’ve left everything out there in the district with you and the students.”

His resignation was controversial in part because the district ended up paying him $166,000 to settle a dispute regarding the circumstances of his departure. What aspect of his leaving was in dispute was never made public because the agreement between the parties barred them from commenting.

The New York State Teachers’ Retirement System lists Gumina as having retired on May 3, 2021, and receiving a pension.

It is not uncommon for retired educators who are receiving a pension to work again in the school system. Most require what is known as a “211 waiver” — a reference to Section 211 of the state’s retirement and social security law.

David Andreatta is CITY's editor. He can be reached at [email protected].
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