Investigation clears ex-Clarkston superintendent

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

School officials in Clarkston said an investigation into former Superintendent Rod Rock determined he did not violate any laws or district policies and did not compromise student safety when he engaged in a relationship with a 19-year-old woman that started after she graduated from the district.

The Clarkston Board of Education issued a statement Wednesday that said an investigation by the Dickinson Wright law firm examined the nature and timeline of the relationship that was disclosed by Rock, whether any laws or district policy had been violated and whether the safety of any current or former student was compromised.

“Based on the findings presented to the Clarkston Community Schools Board of Education on Monday, February 12, we are confident that the investigation conducted by Dickinson Wright was thorough and conclusive. We are satisfied that the results of the investigation confirm our initial understanding that the relationship brought forward by former Superintendent Dr. Rod Rock developed only after the former student graduated from Clarkston High School, and was an isolated incident,” a board statement said.

Rock, 49, resigned Jan. 11 after admitting to an “inappropriate relationship” with a 19-year-old graduate of the district. Rock notified the board of a relationship he had with the recent Clarkston High School graduate.

The matter was not referred to a police agency by the district because Dickinson Wright investigators found Rock had not violated any laws, district spokeswoman Mary Ellen Rowe said.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office asked the public to report any information about Rock related to the relationship or any other matters, but no information led them to open an investigation, Rowe said.

A report from Dickinson Wright said the investigation involved 233,300 documents and more than 1 million pages of content dating to 2010.

“We also conducted numerous personal interviews with, and collected written statements from individuals involved, as well as those who may have knowledge that might be important to the investigation (including current and former District employees). Our investigation confirmed that the District was not in possession of any information suggesting a relationship between the former Superintendent and former student,” according to a summary of the law firm’s findings.

The board will now focus on a superintendent search.

Rock, who was hired as superintendent of schools in 2010, was being paid $150,000 a year. He also received a $500,000 life insurance policy and a $600-a-month car allowance through the contract.

Clarkston has about 7,600 students, 900 educators and 12 schools.

In 2015, Rock was named Michigan PTA Outstanding Administrator of the Year. In November, he was inducted as the 2018 Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce president.

Before coming to Clarkston, Rock was director of instructional services in Saginaw County and was an elementary school teacher, coach and principal in the Unionville-Sebewaing Area Schools, outside Bay City in the Thumb.