Lowell Elementary Principal Gregory King's move comes as a special investigator is finishing a report about his handling of staff.

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Gregory King, the controversial principal of Lowell Elementary School, announced this week he is taking a job in Tacoma.

The move comes as a special investigator is finishing a report about the school, Seattle Public Schools spokeswoman Lesley Rogers confirmed.

It is unclear whether King’s decision is related to the investigation, which relates to personnel conflicts.

In an email, he declined to give a specific reason for his departure.

“It is a very difficult decision to make given the great community, students, parents, and staff we have,” King wrote. “But, I am leaving because it is in my best interest for professional and personal financial growth as a principal and future leader.”

King will stay until a successor is named, he announced in a letter to parents. His new job is as principal at Bryant Montessori, a prekindergarten through eighth-grade public school in Tacoma, he said.

The announcement caps a tumultuous two years for Lowell, which is currently operating in two different buildings — its usual spot on Capitol Hill and at the old Lincoln High School building in Wallingford, where its Accelerated Progress Program is temporarily sited.

Tensions between administrators and staff members have been openly discussed on local education blogs since last spring.

Special investigator Cristin Kent has been looking into the situation for months, said school-district attorney Ron English, who declined to provide any more details.

Kent is one of two attorneys who conducted last year’s investigation into the district’s small-business contracting program, which found that program spent nearly $1.8 million on items with questionable or no public benefit.

She has declined to comment on the Lowell investigation.

Lowell also made the news in December when a fugitive showed up as a chaperone for a fourth-grade field trip. The fugitive, who was recognized by a fellow chaperone, sparked a manhunt but eventually turned himself in.

King came to Seattle in 2008, first as principal at T.T. Minor Elementary and then moving to Lowell in 2009. Before coming to Seattle, he was an elementary administrator for eight years in Atlanta.

Brian M. Rosenthal: 206-464-3195 or brosenthal@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @brianmrosenthal.