A big shakeup happened at Eastside Catholic after two principals were fired and 13 faculty members quit in protest. School is supposed to start August 23, but on Friday the school confirmed classes will be postponed one week and start August 30.
The school released the following statement Friday afternoon:
"We made and announced administrative changes on August 2. Unfortunately, the timing was poorly chosen, because it happened just a few weeks before school. In response to questions raised by our faculty and community, we held a Town Hall on Wednesday August 16. We heard strong opposition to the changes from both the faculty and our community. Based on all the feedback, we realized that both the changes and their timing were a mistake. The decision was made yesterday to reverse these changes and go back to the previous structure. This decision was announced in an email that was sent to our community last night."
"The administrative changes were intended to support the board’s vision for the school’s future. How the administrative changes were executed and the timing was a mistake and our community has spoken. We have now invited the administrators and faculty to rejoin us on the first day of school. In addition, two Board members have stepped down. We have also rescheduled our back-to-school dates to allow us to refocus on the classroom and prepare adequately."
"As I’m sure you can understand, I am not able to provide specific personnel details. We are in the process of hiring an interim president. Father Heric remains our chaplain and community liaison. He formerly served as our interim president. The big picture is this: We are working to restore our school’s previous administrative structure. We have already announced all these changes to our community and they are overwhelmingly supportive of moving forward. I am sure we can agree that getting our kids back to school and focused on their studies, their friendships and their future’s is the important goal, and we look forward to doing just that."
Eastside Catholic updated its website announcing Father William Heric, the school's chaplain, as the interim president on Thursday. The change was posted the day after the school had a meeting with parents.
Father Heric was appointed to be interim president after the previous president, John Kennedy, resigned over the summer.
Faculty members told KIRO 7 Father Heric and the co-chairs of the board of trustees fired the principal of the high school and principal of the middle school without the permission of the rest of the board of trustees.
Thirteen faculty members quit in protest, most of them teachers.
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KIRO 7 obtained a resignation letter written by teacher Lisa Abraham. Abraham wrote, "I will not remain at a parochial school whose singular religious figure, and now, president badly lies to his faculty and staff."
Father Heric and the board co-chairs told teachers, the principals were fired due to restructuring. Faculty members don't believe it and told KIRO 7 high school Principal Justyna King worked to improve the culture at the school, increased diversity and cared about academics for all students.
In her resignation letter teacher Lisa Abraham wrote,
"Justyna stands up for each, individual student. She believes that education- particularly the education of the Spirit- is not about politics, money, football."
Teachers told KIRO 7 Eastside Catholic has buses that bring students who live far away to Eastside Catholic to play football -- with tuition paid for through the Independent School Association. Teachers are concerned those athletes are not being supported academically.
A KIRO 7 crew went to Eastside Catholic to try to talk to administrators and was told to leave.
Eastside Catholic later issued the following statement:
"Thank you for your interest in our school. Our current administrative structure has been undergoing some review and change. Thanks to our long history of educational excellence and deeply felt sense of mission, any change at Eastside Catholic invites high interest from our current and alumnae community. In addition, the changes were announced very close to the start of the school year, which caused a lot of consternation. We now recognize that this timing was a mistake, and we are working to rectify the impact it has had. We are proud that the school holds such an important place in our community, and we look forward to working with everyone and continuing to serve our mission." - Karen Hatch, Eastside Catholic, Marketing and Communications Director
The board of trustees met Thursday evening to discuss the possibility of offering the principals their jobs back and rehiring the teachers who resigned.
During the meeting the other co-chair resigned and the board of trustees removed Father William Heric as the interim president. Father Heric will go back to being the school chaplain.
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