Fort Worth

Elementary school in turmoil over leadership; principal reassigned

Eagle Mountain Saginaw school trustees hear remarks Monday night, March 2, 2015, from a supporter of an assistant principal at Comanche Trail Elementary School. The school’s principal has been reassigned.
Eagle Mountain Saginaw school trustees hear remarks Monday night, March 2, 2015, from a supporter of an assistant principal at Comanche Trail Elementary School. The school’s principal has been reassigned. Star-Telegram

About 30 parents and other supporters of an assistant principal on leave from an Eagle Mountain-Saginaw district elementary school attended Monday night’s school board meeting armed with a 17-item handout of “talking points” to distribute to trustees.

Four speakers aired their concerns during the open forum period, although they were forbidden to use employee names.

The disruptive administrative situation involves the assistant principal and principal of Comanche Springs Elementary School. Principal Katy Maurer has been temporarily reassigned to another job in the district.

Assistant Principal Kourtney Glaser remains on leave while officials sort out claims and counterclaims from both sides.

The chain of events began Jan. 28 when Glaser, 31, left a district training session to go to an emergency room, she has said, where she was treated for bleeding related to an intrauterine contraceptive device. The device was removed two days later, according to Glaser.

She was placed on leave instead of being allowed to return to work.

A letter to Glaser from district officials dated Feb. 11 said she had had similar incidents of vaginal bleeding, citing “severe anxiety” as the reason. The officials also said Glaser “cannot speak in public to groups.”

Glaser said she was told that she would be required to visit two doctors and sign a waiver for release of her medical records before she could return to work.

On Thursday, Maurer, 34, filed a report with Fort Worth police saying that she was being harassed by an unnamed school employee recently placed on leave and that woman’s husband. She was reassigned Friday.

On Monday night, the “talking points” brought to the board included whether district officials support the assertion that anxiety induces vaginal bleeding, that a high turnover rate in teachers and other staff is due to heavy-handed tactics by the principal, and that the principal had misused PTA travel funds for personal entertainment.

The “talking points” also dealt with questions of safety issues at the school, switching of teacher assignments, staff drinking on campus, the use of disparaging nicknames for teachers, parents and even children, and lack of support for special-needs students.

“My daughter is stuck in a horrible situation at Comanche Springs,” Chad Ferguson said. There is “no real leadership at the school.”

“I want my kids to grow up and feel like when something is not right, they have an obligation to try and make it right without fear of retribution,” he said.

PTA member Jennifer Jordan said that the group was “misled” about how money was used on school projects and staff trips paid for with PTA funds, and that volunteer participation has dwindled since new leadership arrived in 2012.

“They dislike and distrust this administration,” Jordan said. The principal “has tried to remove PTA leaders, and has said she only wants people she likes on the board.”

Retired teacher Carol Smith of Coppell said she worked with Maurer for two years in a school in that district and saws “bullying tactics” that caused “life-altering changes” for many teachers.

“It was a very sad situation,” she said outside the boardroom Monday. “She was hired against the recommendation of the committee, and I felt like I was working with a person in the seventh grade.”

Maurer began her reassignment Monday, district officials said.

“The administration of Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD is very aware of the concerns surrounding the leadership team at Comanche Springs Elementary, and is actively working toward a resolution,” the district said in a statement Friday.

Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657

Twitter: @shirljinkins

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