In a parking lot Wednesday night, assistant School Superintendent Tom Maher learned that he had lost his job.
His boss, Superintendent Pete Kelly, told Maher that he was not going to recommend that Maher return after this school year.
Kelly delivered the news to Maher on Wednesday night at the district office, following a special School Board meeting about Kelly's plan to reorganize the administration.
"It was absolutely a surprise to me," Maher said late Thursday.
Kelly would not discuss Maher's employment status. "We have conversed, but I don't make comments on personnel," he said Thursday afternoon.
According to Maher, Kelly approved in February a preliminary recommendation for Maher to return as assistant superintendent next year.
Kelly first proposed his reorganization plan about three weeks ago, and Maher was among several administrators and School Board members who questioned it. Kelly eventually withdrew the proposal and presented a revised plan to the board Wednesday.
Board members approved it, and Maher said he was happy with their decision.
"I believe he was upset relative to my involvement in how the reorganization decisions were eventually arrived at," Maher said. "He felt that we had some differences in how that should have gone, and, quite frankly, I believe what the board approved last night was a win-win situation."
When the plan was first announced, Maher said it was unique for a small school district like Citrus, but added that Kelly strongly supported it.
"This is a new concept," Maher said in early April. "This is a bold concept, one we hope will serve the kids.
Maher, who lives in Hernando County, said he has always wanted to be a superintendent.
Maher was assistant superintendent in Hernando County before coming to Citrus in 1995. He oversees 19 school principals and four staff members.
"I am extremely proud of what we've accomplished, and I'm extremely proud of the role and relationship I've had in this school system," Maher said. "And this is so out of character in regard to the skills that I have in relationship to the way this happened."