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FHES principal Pfleuger resigns; pending departure tops tonight's School Board agenda
San Juan Island School District and Gary Pfleuger are parting ways.
Pfleuger, who took over as principal of Friday Harbor Elementary School in 2008, handed in his resignation Jan. 5 and will leave his position with the district at the end of the school year.
Pfleuger was accompanied by district Superintendent Rick Thompson when announcing his resignation Friday to the faculty and school staff. In an interview with The Journal on Monday, Pfleuger said that although he and district officials were not on the same page regarding management of the school, the decision to resign was entirely his own.
"This was my choice," he said. "I have great respect for the public school system and the way this has been handled has been respectful and legal. Part of my decision is that we have a difference of opinion about the instructional leadership at the school. The Board wants something else, and I think you could say on that point we respectfully agree to disagree."
According to Thompson, a search for Pfleuger's replacement will begin immediately. The district will form a search committee and the upcoming selection process will include parents and members of the community, Thompson said in a press release announcing Pfleuger's resignation.
Thompson declined to comment on any personnel-related matters involving Pfleuger and his standing with the district.
The school board will meet tonight, Jan. 11, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Friday Harbor High School Commons. The agenda includes approval of Pfleuger's resignation and discussion of the search committee. The meeting is open to the public.
Pfleuger, a public school administrator for 21 years and teacher for 10, was the principal of Salmon Middle School in Salmon, Idaho, prior to taking the position at Friday Harbor elementary. He began his career teaching special education in Pocatello, Idaho and received his master's degree in educational administration at Idaho State University in 1994.
Pflueger was slated to earn $87,759 a year when he was first hired.
Pfleuger (pronounced "Flee-ger") succeeded former principal Jodi Metzger, who in turn took over in 2004 for long-time principal Dr. Carolyn Haugen. During his tenure, he worked with school and district staff to improve assessment practices and to establish a Response to Intervention model and a First Steps in Mathematics training program.
His biggest challenge, perhaps, was overseeing the addition of a sixth-grade class, which had previously been part of the middle school, into the elementary school. Pfleuger said the transition, which took place last year, has been smooth and beneficial to the sixth-grade students, who tend to have more in common with younger classmates -- physically, emotionally and academically -- than with seventh and eighth graders.
Enrollment this year at the elementary school, kindergarten through sixth grade, totals 418 students.
Pfleuger said he prefers for school staff, parents and the community to put aside any debate over his decision and to continue putting energy into supporting and improving the school system.
"I have no regrets over this decision," he said.