By Judy Reed
The Cedar Springs Board of Education approved a resolution Monday evening to enter into a separation agreement with longtime Cedar Trails Elementary principal Jennifer Harper.
Harper, who was co-principal with Mike Duffy, has been on paid administrative leave, and recently resigned. The reason for her paid leave and subsequent resignation has not been made public.
The Post has been contacted by concerned parents, who said she was there one day, and gone the next, with no explanation to staff or students and parents. “As a parent with students in the school I want to know what is going on,” wrote one parent. “This is crazy that the school district has said nothing to parents about this or anything that is going on. The kids are asking where she is.”
The Post spoke with the district office about the matter. “It’s been an ongoing personnel matter,” explained Superintendent Laura VanDuyn. “We can’t reveal the nature because it is a personnel matter. But I think it’s important to say that it’s not a matter that has to do with criminal conduct or the safety of students.”
Van Duyn said Harper was put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. “We have clearly followed our district’s legal counsel in the matter,” she said.
Harper was originally hired to run the Parents as Teachers program, and then became co-principal with David Cairy. She continued on as a principal at Cedar Trails after Cairy moved to Assistant Superintendent. Andy Secor and Mike Duffy have served as co-principals with Harper. Secor currently is principal at Cedar View.
VanDuyn said that Duffy would continue as principal at Cedar Trails and Harper would not be replaced.
While Harper said she could not discuss the terms of her resignation, she did have a statement for parents, staff and students.
“I have gladly dedicated my heart and soul to the students, staff and families of the Cedar Trails Community for the last 17 years. I have loved working with the staff, mentoring your young children, and have always supported high expectations for all. I wish only the best for CSPS and I pray for its continued success,” she said.
The Post submitted a request through the Freedom of Information Act on Monday, asking for any emails, documents, and minutes referencing the resignation of Jennifer Harper.
Harper is the second administrator to resign since the beginning of the school year. Assistant Superintendent Steve Seward resigned earlier this year.