‘We can’t comment on personnel issues,’ Olathe district says about principals’ removal

Oregon Trail Middle School’s top administrators will not return to the Olathe school, according to letter sent to parents on Wednesday afternoon.

Principal Anne Hawks and Assistant Principal Steve Skoczek will be replaced by other administrators while the district searches for new leadership, Jim McMullen, executive director of general administration, wrote to parents.

The reason for Hawks and Skoczek’s abrupt departure was not disclosed and Olathe officials said Thursday they could not provide further information.

“We can’t comment on personnel issues,” spokesman Cody Kennedy said.

Kennedy said he did not expect a further update to parents.

Olathe Police Department spokesman Logan Bonney said the police were not involved with the administrative changes.

“This is strictly a school district matter,” Bonney said.

The letter to Oregon Trail Middle School parents read:

“Dear Oregon Trail parents,

We wanted to make you aware of some administrative changes at Oregon Trail Middle School. Principal Anne Hawks and Assistant Principal Steve Skoczek will not be returning to Oregon Trail as administrators. Current Assistant Principal Jim Poplau will serve as interim principal for the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year. Additionally, Rob Thomas, currently an assistant principal at Chisholm Trail Middle School, will be joining Oregon Trail as assistant principal and will work alongside Jim Poplau.

We will work closely with Human Resources throughout this school year to find the permanent principal and an additional assistant principal to lead and serve Oregon Trail and the community.”

Hawks has worked at Oregon Trail Middle School since 2015, according to her LinkedIn profile. Prior to that she served for one year as an assistant principal in the Blue Valley School District and for two years in Lawrence Public Schools.

Skoczek was previously the principal at Chisholm Trail Middle School.

According to Johnson County Court filings, Skoczek lost his principal position “due to failure to adequately perform job duties.”

He chose to be demoted and took the assistant principal position in lieu of being terminated.

Katy Bergen: 816-234-4120, @KatyBergen