Whittell may have new principal this week | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Whittell may have new principal this week

Roseann Keegan

ZEPHYR COVE – The search for a new principal at Whittell High School in Zephyr Cove could be over by Thursday, a district official said.

The final candidates include an Incline Village assistant principal, an elementary school principal from Texas and the principal of a rural school in Oregon who once taught at a controversial alternative school for troubled teens.

Rich Alexander, human resources director for Douglas County School District, said he plans to make a recommendation to the district’s new superintendent, Lisa Noonan, by Thursday. The new principal would go before the school board for final approval July 13.

Angela Blair of Texas is a principal for the Pearland Independent School District. Crespin Esquivel was an administrator at Hug High School in Reno for five years before transferring to Incline High School in June.

Michael Zielaskowski is the head teacher/acting principal at Paulina Elementary School in Oregon. Prior to joining the Crook County School District, Zielaskowski was the academic director at Mount Bachelor Academy 2001 until 2007 also in Oregon.

The alternative high school was shut down in fall 2009 by the Oregon Department of Human Services due to allegations of abusive practices at the school dating back a decade – including sexualized role playing in front of other students, sleep deprivation and extended manual labor as punishment, according to a Nov. 5, 2009, article in The Bulletin newspaper of Bend, Ore.

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Last week, Zielaskowski told the Tribune he never saw any evidence of the allegations, despite being quoted in the 2009 Bulletin article as saying the facts laid out in the complaint, or what he’d seen of it, matched up with his experience at the school.

“Everything I’ve read is accurate,” Zielaskowski was quoted.

Zielaskowski said last week that his words were misinterpreted.

“My statement was that I had no reason to doubt the students,” Zielaskowski said.

Zielaskowski called the school’s closure “a really complicated topic that could be traced back to a supreme court decision involving one of the students,” he said.