The principal of George Washington High School has resigned after almost two tumultuous years at the southeast Denver school, and following critical editorials in the school's newspaper.
Loan Maas announced her departure Wednesday at school and a notice was posed late Thursday on the school's website .
"It is with a heavy heart that I let you know that I have decided to resign," her announcement reads. "This very difficult decision was made due to personal health issues."
But Maas leaving the building is exactly what a group of teachers requested a week ago, citing unrest at the school, numerous teachers being placed on leave and disciplined for minor issues.
Currently, one teacher, and one counselor are on administrative leave, according to union director Billy Husher.
In late February, teachers and their union conducted a survey to help quantify the atmosphere at the school.
Results showed teachers felt leadership was not effective and that they lacked confidence in the administration.
They presented the results to Maas and other administrators. But the conversation did not go well, Husher said, and so teachers took the survey results, a no-confidence vote against Maas, and a letter requesting her dismissal to district adminstrators.
"The faculty of GWHS respectfully requests that our principal, Loan Maas, be promptly removed and that you appoint an interim principal," the letter states.
Student-written editorials in the school newspaper, "The Surveyor," point to a disgruntled teaching force and building tension between staff and administration, and between the students enrolled in the International Baccalaureate and traditional programs.
"Strained relations between the GW faculty and the administration are having an increasingly apparent effect on student learning," one editorial reads.
Newspaper advisor Sara Morrow confirmed that Thursday morning she was told the newspaper would be confiscated before distribution.
The decision was reversed later in the day and the newspaper was distributed as normal.
But Morrow faces a "due process hearing" today with Denver Public School's human resources directors, and with the school's athletic director Michael Gaither, — who was criticized in an editoral published Thursday for reportedly attempting to interrupt an orchestra rehearsal for the school musical a week before its performance.
Thursday's resignation announcement was accompanied by a note that Maas will continue to lead the school until a replacement or interim principal is named.
Concerned parents submitted letter a to the district early Thursday asking to participate in the development of a transition plan and the selection of a new principal.
"While Ms. Maas' departure was a surprise, and we recognize the sense of urgency to identify her replacement, we are writing to express our strong recommendation that the district take the time to engage in a thoughtful and deliberate search that includes robust community engagement," the letter states.
Superintendent Tom Boasberg responded by making an appearance at the school on Thursday afternoon to speak with parents about next steps.
A closed meeting is scheduled at 4:30 p.m. Monday at the school.
Yesenia Robles: 303-954-1372 or firstname.lastname@example.org