BRADENTON -- Sugg Middle School parents say they are feeling left in the dark after district officials abruptly removed the school principal with no explanation more than a month into the school year.
On Tuesday, Manatee County School District officials announced Darlene Proue, in her second year as principal at the school, was being "reassigned" to another position and Rosa Daughtry, an assistant principal at Southeast High School, would take over.
The district has not said why the switch was made, which is most troubling, parents have said.
"I do find it a little disturbing that we as parents do not know any details," said Lindsey Lester, who has a sixth-grade student at the school.
Daughtry's first day at the school will be Monday.
Proue will start Monday as well as an assistant principal at Southeast High School. Proue moved to Manatee County from Marion County last school year, and is the sixth principal in five years to be moved from a principal position to an assistant principal position in Manatee County, Superintendent Diana Greene said.
District officials declined to further discuss the details of why Proue was moved, saying the decision was made in the best interest of the whole school community. Greene said she holds principals to higher standards than other groups of employees, but also said just because a principal makes a mistake it doesn't mean the employee should be fired.
"I have faith she is more than capable of being the assistant principal at Southeast," Greene said.
Wondering what happened
Greene would not elaborate on the circumstances leading to Proue's move, saying she and other officials went over the facts of the case with a "fine-tooth comb." Greene said the issue did not have anything to do with any students at the school.
The school district refused to release any emails concerning Proue saying they are related to her performance evaluation and therefore exempt from the public record until after her evaluation is completed at the end of the school year.
The school held an open house Monday, and is planning another open house next Monday to meet the new principal. Daughtry is expected to spend the rest of the year at Sugg, officials said.
Lester, the Sugg parent, said she had to wonder what was going on when she got the call because there were no details.
"I'm not trying to jump to conclusions," she said. "But you know something's not right."
Lester and her family moved back to Bradenton this year, so Lester could be close to an ailing family member. She had to go to the school a few times to enroll her daughter, who started about a week later, and has gone back a couple times since for other things. She said she's had no issues with the school staff so far.
Candice Sheets, who also has a sixth-grade student at Sugg, said the phone call was impersonal, especially after attending the open house Monday.
"I got the phone call and my husband and I said: 'That's kind of fishy,'" she said.
Sheets said she has never had any issues with the school, and like other parents, wishes the district would explain the decision.
"That's all we want to know: Why?" she said.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter@MeghinDelaney.