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Former superintendent and two others sue over firings at Gardner Edgerton

Bill Gilhaus, who headed the Johnson County district for a decade, and two former female subordinates, Christy Ziegler and Lana Gerber, say their firings last February were illegal. Ziegler and Gerber further say they were victims of sexual discrimination and harassment.
Bill Gilhaus, who headed the Johnson County district for a decade, and two former female subordinates, Christy Ziegler and Lana Gerber, say their firings last February were illegal. Ziegler and Gerber further say they were victims of sexual discrimination and harassment.

The former superintendent of the Gardner Edgerton School District and two former administrators who were fired last year are suing the district for wrongful discharge in federal court.

Bill Gilhaus, who headed the Johnson County district for a decade, and two former female subordinates say their firings last February were illegal.

The two women, Christy Ziegler and Lana Gerber, further say they were victims of sexual discrimination and harassment. Specifically, they say they were subjected to demeaning comments and treatment by school board members Rob Shippy and Brad Chandler.

Shippy and Chandler are named as defendants, along with fellow board members Tresa Boden and Mary Nelson. They formed the board majority that terminated the contracts of Gilhaus, Ziegler and Gerber on a 4-3 vote.

Other defendants are the district and current superintendent Pam Stranathan.

The former administrators are seeking unspecified monetary damages, although Gilhaus said he lost at least $580,000 as a result of the board action.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan.

A district spokesperson could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

Shippy declined to comment and Chandler could not be reached, but both previously have denied the allegations.

To reach Mike Hendricks, call 816-234-4738 or send email to mhendricks@kcstar.com.

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