BIXBY, Okla. — The superintendent of Bixby Public Schools has resigned in the wake of accusations of sexual assault among members of the football team.
The Bixby Board of Education held a special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
During the meeting, the board approved superintendent Robert Kyle Wood's resignation.
Lydia Wilson, a 20-year education veteran and principal from Bixby Central Elementary School, will serve as the interim superintendent, and the board of education will begin a search for a new superintendent on January 18, 2018.
The district will rely on help from the Oklahoma State School Boards Association to facilitate the search. The process could take 2-3 months and the district anticipates a July 1 starts day for the next superintendent.
Five Bixby football players are accused of sexually assaulting a teammate at Wood's house in September.
Officials said Wood will receive all benefits through October 2018, at which point the board said they will have to decide whether to continue paying Wood.
Wood's attorney, Paul DeMuro, maintains that Wood did not break any laws, and said that Wood was stressed dealing with the accusations, despite support from the community.
DeMuro said Wood didn't want to resign, but he allegedly decided it was the best decision to resign.
He said Wood has not begun to look for other work opportunities and is instead focusing on Christmas shopping with his family.
DeMuro told FOX23 he will not comment on the ongoing case, but he said in a statement that he will respect the Rogers County District Attorney's investigative process.
DeMuro released a statement concerning Wood's resignation Tuesday evening:
"Dr. Robert Kyle Wood announced today his resignation and retirement as Superintendent of the Bixby School District. In light of recent events, Dr. Wood decided it was in the best interests of the Bixby School District, the Bixby community, and his family to step away at this time.
"Although this has been a challenging time for Dr. Wood and the Bixby School District, recent events cannot erase Dr. Wood's many accomplishments as a life-long Oklahoma educator, including his successful 11-year tenure as Bixby's Superintendent. Under Dr. Wood's leadership, Bixby has become one of the most academically successful and desirable school districts in the State. As the District has grown, Dr. Wood helped create a culture of professional excellence, managed the on-budget and on-time construction of numerous state-of-the-art facilities, and managed the District's budget to allow our hard-working teachers and staff to receive annual stipends, an accomplishment that gives Dr. Wood great satisfaction. Dr. Wood left the District in great shape, academically and financially. He is proud to have helped position the District for continued growth and success.
"In resigning, Dr. Wood expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to have served the District and the Bixby community as Superintendent, and extended his thanks to his many friends and colleagues in the District for their friendship and service during his tenure. 'I am particularly grateful, for the many people who have supported me and my family through these challenging times,' Dr. Wood commented.
"The media's reporting of recent events has, in several important ways, been inaccurate, misleading and incomplete. Dr. Wood did not violate any law regarding reporting of child abuse; nor has he violated any District rule or policy. Because of the pending investigation, Dr. Wood will not litigate this case in the press. Instead, Dr. Wood will continue to cooperate with law enforcement officials, and continue to respect District Attorney Matt Ballard's investigative process."
Rogers County District Attorney Matt Ballard released a statement saying that he believes the investigators handling the case are dedicated to law and to the truth:
"I have full confidence in the investigators assigned to this case and their dedication to the law and the truth. From the very beginning of the case, it has been frustratingly difficult to get pertinent information from the school district. As soon as the Attorney General assigned my office to pursue the case, I released a public statement urging anyone with relevant information to reach out to investigators. That obviously included members of the Bixby School Board and I will welcome their call."
Wood's resignation comes as the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation looks into the superintendent and other administrators over their response to the alleged assault.
Bixby police started the investigation and filed reports saying football players assaulted a teammate, and investigators have since alleged that Woods and administrators tried to cover up the incident.
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