In a letter to the school board, some teachers and staff express deep dissatisfaction with the district's administration after former principal Nick Schollmeier was fired last week. Schollmeier said that he was given no reason. The district has paid him for the contract year, so he cannot hold a hearing with the school board to address the decision.
Twenty-one teachers and staff of the Dillingham City Schools have signed their names to a letter calling for the district to reinstate former Elementary School Principal Nick Schollmeier, according to Teachers Union President Stephanie Jenson.
In a letter to the school board, they expressed deep dissatisfaction with the district's administration. They also called for the school board to begin the search for a new superintendent and vice superintendent.
Jenson, who is an elementary school teacher, said that when the school district informed teachers and staff that Schollmeier was no longer employed at the school, it didn’t say why. So 33 of them met after work last week.
“We had classified and certified staff from both the elementary school and the middle school/high school who got together and voiced their concerns," Jenson said. "And that’s when we decided to come up with the letter that expresses our concerns that were voiced at that meeting. And we also decided to do a vote of no confidence.”
Jenson said 21 teachers and staff ended up signing their names to the letter. Jenson said the letter was sent out to the emails of the 33 people who attended the meeting, some of whom forwarded it to additional staff.
Superintendent Jason Johnson said in an email Tuesday that the district is aware of the letter and that “in general, leadership requires that difficult decisions be made whether they are popular or not and/or when knowing that the outcome will result in circumstances such as this.”
The district has not said publicly why Schollmeier is no longer employed at the school. In a news release last week, it said that it “determined it is in the best interests of the Dillingham Elementary School and Collective District to make a change in leadership” and that “the District wishes Mr. Schollmeier well in his future endeavors.”
Schollmeier said in a written statement to KDLG Tuesday, “This is not what I want. I have been and continue to be committed to Dillingham schools, students and the community.”
He also said he is “unaware of any reason whatsoever,” for his termination, and that the administration would not answer any of his questions.
Schollmeier worked as the principal of Dillingham Elementary for seven years. In that time, he said he’s held positive relationships with staff, students and community members.
In the letter to the school board, teachers and staff refer to him as a “model administrator.”
“We thought Mr. Schollmeier was a major reason that we had a very positive climate at the elementary school, and that was one of the major concerns that was voiced, and why we really hope that the school board will listen to the letter and try to possibly reinstate Mr. Schollmeier as Dillingham Elementary School principal,” Jenson said.
According to Schollmeier, the district financially fulfilled his contract when he was terminated, so he has no right to a hearing with the school board to address the decision. But, he’s hopeful that the board will reconsider.
The district is holding an executive session tonight to discuss personnel matters.
Update: This article has been updated to specify that 21 teachers and staff signed their names to the letter, as well as that the letter was sent to the 33 teachers and staff who attended a meeting after work last week.
KDLG's Tyler Thompson contributed reporting to this article.
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