We finally saw resolution on one Madrona school’s principal controversy when Farah Thaxton was officially named to replace Kaaren Andrews last month at Madrona K-8. But a new one is brewing a few blocks down at St. Therese Catholic School, as parents are challenging the Seattle Archdiocese’s decision not to renew principal Eileen Gray’s contract.
Our news partners at the Seattle Times reported on the rally by parents, students and community members in front of the Archdiocese’s headquarters yesterday.
They allege the decision was part of a plan by the Seattle Archdiocese to disperse the African-American students at St. Therese School, which is predominantly black, to other Catholic schools.
Le Roi Brashears, a parent, said he believes the archdiocese thinks St. Therese parishioners send their children to other schools because a high percentage of the school’s students are minorities, as is Gray, an African American.
Not renewing her contract, he said, could discourage black families from sending their kids to the school.
The Archdiocese disputes that race is the issue, but hasn’t given details or a reason for not renewing Gray’s contract. Her supporters are calling for her contract to be renewed for two more years, after which she could retire.
Gray has been the principal for 20 years, so for many Madrona residents and St. Therese students and former students, she’s an institution. It will be interesting to see if the Archdiocese or the school yields to pressure and decides to renew Gray’s contract, or at least make a statement with more explanation for the move.