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Protective order issued, school official resigns day later

Administrator says he was wrongly accused, policy board member says behavior was 'threatening'

Posted: December 4, 2013 - 1:05am

The top administrator at the Juneau Community Charter School tendered his resignation last month a day after a policy board member at the school obtained a stalking protective order against him.

Quinn Haas was hired in early October to replace a former site manager who had led the school for more than a decade. His resignation was handed in on Nov. 13 and was effective the next day.

“There was a personnel matter, and the district has addressed the issue,” Juneau School District Chief of Staff Kristin Bartlett said. “I don’t believe there was ever a fear for students.”

‘Disturbing’ behavior

In her petition to the court for the protective order, Academic Policy Committee member Angela Moe said Haas retaliated against her after she raised concern that he shared confidential information about children enrolled in the school, including her son.

Moe’s request followed nearly a week of repeated harassment via email and phone, and a recommendation from police to pursue court action. According to court documents, Moe received upwards of 100 emails from Haas in just a few days time. There was a brief hiatus after police asked Hass to stop contacting Moe, but the harassment began soon after and escalated leading up to the court filing on Tuesday, Nov. 12.

It reached a peak the day before Moe filed the request with a barrage of emails from Haas “every other minute” from 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Nov. 11, court documents show. That same day the Academic Policy Committee that governs the charter school met in executive session to evaluate the situation and make a recommendation to the school board.

Moe told the judge she was scared for the safety of herself and her two children, who both attend the K-8 school, citing in part the fact that Haas told her “he would silence me forever, and we would learn a deep lesson. It feels disturbing and threatening.”

In an email sent to the Empire on Nov. 24, Haas denied any wrongdoing and said the school was poorly managed.

“I am the recent ‘administrator’ with no power who was asked by the superintendent to quit at Juneau School District,” Haas wrote. “Even though I did nothing wrong or threatening like one board member claims.”

Attempts to contact Haas via email were not returned Tuesday.

Ryan Stanley, the president of the Academic Policy Committee that governs the charter school, said Haas was “not a good fit” at the school, but denied that the executive session was held in light of the harassing emails. Stanley said the executive session was only to “address the performance of that job.”

He was not at liberty, however, to go into the details of Haas’ job performance, he said.

Multiple sources contacted by the Empire who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the issues with Haas went beyond job performance, and Stanley sent an email to parents on Nov. 12 informing them that police officers had been on campus that day as a precautionary measure.

“I have been working with School District Administration to make sure that tensions with one of our employees does not escalate into a safety issue,” Stanley’s letter read. It continued to say that an officer would be on campus the following day as well.

The letter was sent the same day two of at least seven teachers cancelled their parent-teacher conferences due to the situation with Haas, Stanley told the Empire Tuesday.

 

An ideological conflict

Former site administrator Marjorie Hamburger had built a solid rapport with faculty and parents after serving as the school’s top administrator for so long, and that reputation had led to colleagues treating her as a supervisor, Stanley said.

“Due to the nature of our school, that position is not assigned a supervisory role over the teachers,” Stanley said. “There was no mandated leadership to it, but — depending on the person — they could have assumed a more leadership-type role.”

That type of role did not jive well with Haas, Stanley added.

“The primary objective was to get someone in there to roll up their sleeves and do all the day-to-day things that needs to get done in the school,” he said.

“The position was clearly part of fabric of school, and not designed to change the way the school does what it does,” he added.

In an interview Tuesday, Moe said the trouble began after she tried to get in touch with Haas privately via email and phone to discuss how mentioning students explicitly by name in emails wasn’t appropriate and is against school policy.

“When I said do not do that, he lost his mind and went on the attack,” Moe said. “It was really upsetting.”

Moe, a family engagement specialist for Head Start, said Haas focused his anger on herself and two other people. Moe said Haas made statements such as, “I will bring the whole school down, you must see my power!” and sent emails to others saying, “Angela has too much power, she should be silenced.”

The events culminated with the Academic Policy Committee deciding at its Nov. 11 closed-door meeting to recommend to the Juneau School District that it remove Haas from his position. The APC governs the school’s policies and budget, but does not have hiring or firing power. They can only make recommendations to the Juneau School District.

After the board met, Haas began emailing Moe again, which prompted her to call the police. Juneau District Court Judge Keith Levy granted Moe the protective stalking order on Nov. 12, finding that there was enough probable cause that Haas placed Moe in fear of death or physical injury to either herself or family members.

The ex parte order was effective for 20 days. Moe said she decided not to apply for a long-term protective order because she had heard Haas was planning on leaving the state after he resigned on Nov. 13.

The school informed parents about the situation via robocall, Moe said. The automatic message did not include Haas’ name to protect his privacy.

 

Varying reasons for Haas’ resignation

Despite Moe’s version of events, which she relayed to the court under oath, Stanley tried to downplay the seriousness of the incident and said Moe’s interpretations was not representative of what he believes to be true.

“Angela’s situation is her own, and it does not reflect the opinion of the school or the district,” he told the Empire. “Not everybody who got all of Mr. Haas’ emails went to court to file what she filed.”

He would not say if the court order led to Haas’ eventual resignation.

“I’m not sure what she said in court — and I’m not sure what she did say — was the school’s opinion of Mr. Haas,” he said.

Moe said Haas initially displayed enthusiasm and commitment for helping the school, and she’s unsure what exactly led to his change in behavior.

“Honestly, we’re not really sure what started a lot of this,” she said. “I think that Mr. Haas frankly just needs some help.”

The APC has not yet found a replacement for Haas.

• Klas Stolpe contributed to this report. Contact reporter Matt Woolbright at 523-2243 or at matthew.woolbright@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/reportermatt. Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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