Longtime Queen Anne Elementary principal David Elliott says he’s been given no choice but to leave because he didn’t complete teacher evaluations from last school year.
Queen Anne Elementary principal David Elliott, who had been the school’s leader since it opened five years ago, went on leave this week and will be resigning at the end of his contract, according to Seattle Public Schools.
“He (David) is a caring educator and we wish him a successful future,” Sarah Pritchett, the district’s central region executive director, wrote in a letter to Seattle school leaders that was released Thursday.
The district didn’t provide details about Elliott’s sudden departure, citing personnel privacy, though the school’s parent group called it a “forced resignation.”
On Friday morning, Elliott issued a statement saying he was given the choice of being fired or resigning because he hadn’t finished his teacher evaluations from the past school year.
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Elliott said he made a serious mistake by not completing the evaluations, but he was saddened that, after 15 years as a principal in good standing, that the district “finds severing employment the only course of action.”
He said he had contacted an attorney, and was given more time to decide whether to be fired or resign.
He said he told Pritchett, his supervisor, last spring that he was behind in completing the evaluations, but no completion date was set. On Oct. 12, he said, he was called into the district’s central office and told Assistant Superintendent Michael Tolley he was still working on them. Four days later, he said, he was asked to leave or be fired.
“I feel a tremendous responsibility for allowing this to happen,” he wrote in the statement. He asked Queen Anne families to support the interim principal who is replacing him. He also asked the district to apologize to the school’s staff and families for how they handled the situation.
The parent group said Thursday it plans to call for Elliott’s reinstatement.
“David is the heart and soul of our school community,” the group wrote in a news release. “He is the reason we parents send our children here, the reason why children love to study here, and the reason why the teachers love to teach here. David is a visionary educator.”
Elliott has been praised for his role at the technology-focused option-school, which opened in 2010. He previously was principal at Coe Elementary School and began his teaching career 25 years ago, when he was 38.
“This was a late-in-life calling,” he wrote on the school’s website. “Starting as a teacher at 38 years old is not really the norm. Sometimes the best things just take longer for some of us.”
Amy McCue Jessee, current assistant principal at Coe, will serve as interim principal at Queen Anne. She is the former principal at Meridian Park Elementary School in Shoreline.