North Manchester Supt. resigns after district scammed out of $1.2 million

Jackie Gorski

NORTH MANCHESTER – Manchester Community Schools Superintendent Kyle Wieland announced his resignation after the school corporation confirmed it was scammed out of $1.2 million.

According to a press release from MCS, the school board recently learned MCS had been victimized by an internet scheme consisting of an unknown person, posing as a legitimate vendor, who redirected two payments by wire transfer to a fraudulent bank account.

The two payments totaled nearly $1.2 million.

After learning of the incident Wieland reported the scheme to Indiana’s State Board of Accounts and law enforcement, informed the school corporation’s insurance companies and alerted the two financial institutions involved in the wire transfer.

School board leadership also learned of the scam and efforts are underway to recover at least some of the money, according to the press release. An initial review of the school corporation’s insurance policy suggests a portion of the loss may be covered. Some funds may be recovered by the financial institution’s freezing of the fraudulent account. The level of success in the recovery efforts won’t be known for several weeks, the release stated.

As part of the school corporation’s investigation, a preliminary forensic review concluded no cyber-security breach occurred at MCS. The scheme was a type of social engineering attack known as “wire phishing,” where an attacker uses impersonation to trick an unsuspecting person into transferring money. investigating whether appropriate policies and best practices were followed as part of the wire transfer of funds.

To assist in the process, MCS requested Dr. Jeff Stephens serve as a full-time member. Prior to his retirement in 2021, Stephens served for 25 years as superintendent of DeKalb County Eastern Community School District in Butler.

The press release stated the school board plans to take all actions necessary to safeguard against a similar scheme in the future. As developments occur, the school board will inform the community during school board meetings.

In a letter to the community to announce his resignation, Wieland said he called North Manchester his home since he was 2. He also attended school at MCS.

“While the past year-and-a-half has had some challenges, I could tell that gains were being made. We already had great people spearheading great programs, but consistent leadership, focus and support were what I felt the district needed most. I am genuinely excited by the direction of the culture and climate throughout our district and was looking forward to a summer of reflection and getting us ready for next year,” his letter said.

“Unfortunately, those plans for the future were altered when I realized our district was a victim of fraud. It was at this point that I tried to do everything I could to stop what was occurring and contacted the proper authorities for assistance. We had fallen victim to a too-common occurrence, and I knew that I had responsibility in that. For that I am truly sorry.

“I have worked hard to prevent negative influences from impacting our schools and the corporation, but this fraud affects us all.

“I am and will continue to be devastated by the gravity of my mistake. I sincerely apologize to the people who offered me the opportunity to lead this district, the community who trusted and supported me throughout my career, and to those who may be impacted by this loss.

“I want to also extend my unwavering appreciation to the great MCS employees for their support, the families who trust us with their student’s education and the community who continues to invest in the next generation of Manchester graduates. When I returned in 2021, my full intention was to serve as the superintendent of Manchester Community Schools until I retired.

“Unfortunately, as much as I would like to stay, recent events have taken away that possibility. It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to resign. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to serve my community in this capacity and will continue to give back to North Manchester for as long as we live here.”