St Joseph's principal put on indefinite leave
The principal of St Joseph's Catholic School in Hamilton is on indefinite leave as a stoush over school management comes to a head just a week before the new school year.
A letter from Anthony Fisher, chairman of the school's Board of Trustees was sent yesterday to the school community to announce principal Arnna Graham-Sommerville was on "indefinite leave until further notice".
An acting principal will now be appointed.
It follows a Ministry of Education investigation into practices at the school.
The Ministry last month appointed independent contractor Trevor Kilpin after approaches from parents with a range of concerns, including nepotism, bullying and financial mismanagement.
The school's board of trustees has asked the ministry to appoint a commissioner to oversee the management and governance of the school and to investigate the issues.
The letter said once the appointment was made the entire board would resign.
Mr Fisher said, "At the end of 2011 there were a number of issues that had been raised with the board (and) during the break the board has been working alongside the Ministry of Education, NZ School Trustees Association and the diocese to look at how these issues can be addressed so we can move forward."
The letter said the acting principal would "work alongside the management team to ensure the smooth running of the school".
The commissioner's position will be taken up within the next week.
"We will ensure that you are informed when the commissioner has been appointed and who this is," Mr Fisher said. He could not be reached for further comment.
Education Ministry acting regional manager, central north, Chris Day said inquiries relating to the principal's employment should be directed to the school's board of trustees.
"The Ministry of Education does not become involved in issues involving staff employed by the board."
Parents have previously waded into the stoush with open letters taking shots at both the principal and those attacking her.
Robert Batters told the Times in December he was concerned at the way the school was being run and called for action.
"We hope that action is taken to ensure taxpayer and parent funding is being used appropriately and that the deep-rooted and complex issues at the school are resolved before any more good teachers and families are lost from the school," he said.However, Chris Mangan backed Mrs Graham-Sommerville, describing the actions of a "small group of self-centred parents and supporters" as abhorrent.
"I believe the consequential treatment that is being meted out to Arnna and others is unjust and offensive to the doctrine of the school and our parish."
The Board comprises: Mr Fisher; Collette McConnell; Paul Flanagan; Cheryl Green; Aroha Wainu; K. M. Adams; Peter McGirr; Mike Lovell; Tani Hermann and Heather Clayton.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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