NEWARK -- A hot summer of deep divisions between school board members and some Newark residents might grow hotter now that long-shot hopes of keeping Superintendent Dave Marken on the job have been officially dashed.

Ever since Marken announced in late May that he would leave his post in the fall, board meetings have been dominated by angry, jeering parents and district employees lashing out at a school board whose critics say willfully forced out a popular and effective superintendent.

The furor began when Marken apparently became unwilling to put up with board interference in his administration of the district. Nearly two months later, the controversy has not gone away.

"Despite your public claims, it is obvious that you are not acting in the best interests of the school district and the students whom you claim to care about," said Richard Nikssarian, co-president of the Newark Teachers Association. "You continue to play games with people, and the community will not continue to stand for it."

Marken has sat stone-faced through the stormy meetings, during which trustees were at first apologetic but since have begun to fight back.

His only overt reaction was -- at the request of parents -- to ask that trustees extend his departure date by three months. The board instead on Thursday accepted his resignation, effective Sept. 30.

The trustees also will pay a consultant about $21,500 to search for a new district leader.

The decision to accept Marken's resignation deeply disappointed parents and teachers who were hoping the popular superintendent might stay, and made it unlikely their tempers will cool.

Anger over Marken's departure has escalated in recent weeks, with at least two people publicly calling for the resignation of new board member Gary Stadler and for longtime trustees Nancy Thomas and Charlie Mensinger to not seek re-election in November.

"We need the board configuration to change," said Debbie Ashmore, a district employee and Newark resident who has called for Stadler to resign immediately. "We feel the personalities and personal agendas being pushed through are not good for the kids."

Stadler said he will not resign.

Thomas said she is weighing her re-election options, and Mensinger said his detractors are "a vocal minority (that) has not persuaded me one way or another."

Since Marken's resignation was announced, dozens of speakers at board meetings have blamed them for alienating a superintendent credited with turning around a struggling school district, improving test scores and fostering unity and morale.

A handful of district employees interviewed by this newspaper have accused Stadler of showing up at school sites unannounced, intimidating principals and teachers and publicly criticizing the superintendent and other district staffers.

"With Gary, it's been constant; he'll come into your office and yell about certain employees, bad-mouthing them," said Liz Warren, executive assistant to the superintendent. "We think Gary Stadler is the most toxic of them all."

Asked about the accusations, Stadler replied: "Never." He said the critics who have packed recent school board meetings do not reflect Newark.

"The two ladies (who demanded his resignation) don't know me; they don't know what I've done for the district," Stadler said Friday. "I've been getting a ton of emails and messages saying, 'Keep up the good work.' "

Stadler said that Marken had not reached out to the board to improve their relationship. "At any time, Dave could have said, 'Hey, guys, let's talk about this,' " Stadler said. "But he hasn't."

Marken, who could not be reached for comment, has made no public statement since the board rejected his extension request.

Warren, at a May 20 meeting, said the trustees had made employees feel "scared, frustrated and apprehensive to do their work."

She said that Thomas and Mensinger had crossed professional lines by orchestrating public criticism of her job performance.

"That's not a board member's job," Warren said. "Their job is to set policy, make sure the district is fiscally sound -- and if they're dissatisfied with something, they should set policy to let staff know how it should be handled."

Mensinger paints a different picture.

"Legally, board members can do whatever they want; we report to the community, but we can question anything and we can speak to anybody we wish," he said. "As a board, we have agreed to communicate through the superintendent most of the time, but the superintendent has given us permission to talk to anybody whenever we want."

Mensinger, a Newark Unified board member since 2002, said he and his colleagues have tried to get Marken to stay, but he has refused. "Frankly, you cannot make somebody work for you," he said, adding that he is "sickened and saddened at the division."

The district's brewing tensions boiled over at a June 3 meeting, when more than 200 people chanted Marken's name in support after several speakers chastised board members.

The Newark Management Association, a labor group representing district managers, that night announced it had no confidence in the school board.

Speaking on behalf of the district's large Latino community, Adriana Lopez, a Newark parent, urged trustees to do all they could to keep Marken on the job.

The clearly shaken trustees agreed with most of their critics, saying they had lost their way and vowed to change.

Critics have since grown louder, accusing the board of immediately reverting to the same dysfunctional habits. Angry comments by dozens of grim-faced people have increased, with audience members sometimes hurling insults at trustees or words of support for Marken, infusing the meetings with palpable tension.

At a recent meeting where school board members described to executive search consultants the qualities they seek in a new superintendent, Mensinger asked, tongue-in-cheek, "Is Superman available?"

Several people pointed at Marken -- saying, "Superman is sitting up there."

Mensinger and Stadler say the district clearly needs to heal its divisions, and the best way to do that is to move forward with a new superintendent.

"I got on the board to help the kids, but it's a mess right now and it tears me up that this is happening," Stadler said. "This town has to start healing."

Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.