By Gabriel Harrison
Carmel Superintendent of Schools Andy Irvin stressed at the Board of Education’s final meeting of the school year last week how his recent decision to resign was entirely voluntary.
The meeting came about a week after Irvin announced he was resigning from his position as a controversy brewed over whether a Twitter account filled with questionable posts belonged to him or was created by an imposter.
At the June 23 meeting, Irvin mentioned nothing of the Twitter account issue or social media in general, but insisted he was not pressured to resign.
“My decision to resign was my choice,” Irvin said. “It was not asked for by anybody, it was not influenced by anybody, it was a choice that I made knowing that it was in the best interest of everybody involved, including me.”
On June 15, in an email to The Putnam Examiner, Irvin had confirmed his intention to resign, without citing his reason. Irvin also sent a letter to the school community around the same time noting how social media posts were “made on an account that used my likeness to impersonate me.”
“There are many posts on the account that I would have no problem being associated with but there are also racially insensitive, sexually insensitive and some just plain disgusting posts that make me sick to my stomach,” he added in the letter. “The Twitter account is not my account and the posts are not mine. It is unfortunate that these posts are bring brought to light at a time after I have informed the BOE and community of my intention to resign my position. I hope that my actions have made it clear who I am and what I stand for. I have made many mistakes in my career and in my life, but these are not among them.”
Irvin did not reply to a follow-up question from The Putnam Examiner at the time asking why he decided to resign.
“I am sorry that someone felt and continues to feel the need to drive wedges within the CCSD community and I am sorry that those insensitive messages are being circulated at all,” he had written in his letter about the Twitter account.
The apparent Twitter account in question — @No1NYSOXFAN maintained by someone identified as “Andy” — remained active as recently as in the days following Irvin’s announcement but does not appear to be currently accessible. The account displayed an image that appeared to be Irvin’s likeness. It also featured hundreds upon hundreds of tweets dating back to Sept. of 2011 through March of 2017. While lots of the tweets are about rooting on Red Sox baseball, many are sexually explicit, embrace controversial political positions and use salty language.
In the email to the school community, Irvin had written, “There are many posts on the account that I would have no problem being associated with but there are also racially insensitive, sexually insensitive and some just plain disgusting posts that make me sick to my stomach.”
Attempts to access the Twitter profile on June 23 resulted in a message stating “This account doesn’t exist.” It is unclear if the account was deactivated by the account operator or by Twitter.
“Twitter accounts that pose as another person, brand, or organization in a confusing or deceptive manner may be permanently suspended under Twitter’s impersonation policy,” Twitter’s impersonation policy states. But it also says, “Twitter users are allowed to create parody, newsfeed, commentary, or fan accounts.”
Irvin, at last week’s meeting, additionally requested his resignation date be June 30 instead of August 30 to allow officials with a long-term stake in the process to take charge of planning for school reopening.
The board has enlisted the help of Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES for help in the new superintendent search process.
In a presentation to the board, James M. Ryan, CEO of PNW BOCES, repeatedly emphasized the need for transparency in the search. He said the process will involve opportunities for the public to submit feedback on the kind of person they would like to see selected, and should include a select group of community members who will be permitted to meet the candidates for the position.
The meeting was a final session for other school officials as well. James Reese did not run for reelection and Trustee Tara DeTurris did not win another term in the June 16 election. Debra Heitman-Cayea and Matthew Morello, who ran for the board in a field of six candidates including DeTurris, were victorious in their campaigns and will be joining the board as new members.