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Tag Archive | "principal"

Cedar Trails principal resigns


Longtime Cedar Trails Elementary principal Jennifer Harper with a student.

Longtime Cedar Trails Elementary principal Jennifer Harper with a student.

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.

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Principal arrested for embezzlement


By Judy Reed

Tri County Middle School principal William Robert Cichewicz was arrested last week on embezzlement charges.

According to the Michigan State Police Lakeview Post, they began an investigation in February on money missing from the Booster Club Fund. Cichewicz turned himself in on June 20, and was arraigned on a five-year felony charge of embezzlement of over $1,000 but under $20,000.

Cichewicz, an employee at Tri County Schools for 13 years, was initially put on administrative leave, and then fired last week.

“As a school community, we are committed to excellence in all that we do,” stated Al Cumings, Superintendent. “This commitment means that we hold our students, staff, and, most of all, our leadership accountable for behaviors and choices that do not reflect our community values.”

Cumings noted that Cichewicz accepted the termination and had made full restitution. “I am pleased that in addition to owning his decisions and paying back the missing funds, Mr. Cichewicz also has released a public letter of apology to the community that is on the district web site (www.tricountyschools.com),” said Cumings. You can also view it here.

In his letter, Cichewicz acknowledged that he had made serious mistakes and violated the community’s trust over the last year. “In my role as principal, I had access to booster funds that were acquired from the school store. Over a period of months, as I collected and took those funds to the bank, I was tempted by the money that was available and I began to take some each time. Ultimately, I took $1,350 of booster money to benefit myself,” he wrote. He added that his family knew nothing about what he was doing, and that he planned to return the funds immediately. He also said he felt horrible about what he did.

Cichewicz served as a teacher, vice-principal, and principal while employed at Tri County.

He posted a $2,000 bond and has a pretrial date of July 2 and a preliminary exam on July 3.

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