COLORADO SPRINGS — Pine Creek High School staff demanded answers from Academy School District 20 about their principal's leave. They said Tracie Cormaney disappeared without any explanation.
1/3 of staff and 2/3 of students were absent in protest Friday.
"We felt like we had to stand up for her because we love her," said principal's assistant Pam Krzeczowski.
Krzeczowski said Cormaney has been gone for about 2.5 weeks.
"Tracie is the glue that holds Pine Creek together, since her absence the building lacks charisma and positivity and the halls are flooded with a constant worry of the unknown," said counselor Kelley Stewart.
The staff I spoke with believe Cormaney's leave of absence is related to an ongoing investigation into a program that provides appreciation gifts to teachers and staff.
"It's about a purchasing policy, we have followed financial procedures and policies," said Krzeczowski. "We have done nothing wrong and I can wholeheartedly say that as a person who has been interviewed."
D20 officials said personnel matters are confidential and cannot comment further.
Staff said they're frustrated with what they call a lack of transparency.
"Arriving at work one day with zero communication about your building leader being removed and placed on leave creates a sense of resentment, frustration, and insecurity in the workplace," said Stewart.
D20 officials said it's unclear how long the principal will be gone. During this time, they said five support staff will be at Pine Creek to ensure learning isn't interrupted.
"The mental anxiety and stress level in the building is tremendous, students have been in counseling in tears, and teachers have been in tears in the classrooms," said Krzeczowski.
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