Algonquin principal not returning to post

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Algonquin School Principal Lynn Patterson, right, seen above during the Region 16 teacher of the year award ceremony in 2008, submitted a request for an unpaid leave of absence Thursday that will end her tenure at the school. Patterson was the subject of a personnel investigation by interim Superintendent of Schools Tim James. –RA ARCHIVE

PROSPECT — A personnel investigation into Algonquin School Principal Lynn Patterson has come to an end and so has her tenure at the Prospect school.

Patterson submitted a request Thursday for an unpaid leave of absence for personal reasons through June 30 when she will officially retire, interim Region 16 Superintendent of Schools Tim James said.

“She will not be returning to Algonquin,” James said.

Patterson was the subject of a personnel investigation by James, which concluded Thursday. School officials have repeatedly declined to comment on what specifically was being investigated saying it was a personnel matter. Officials have said it was not an issue that affected the safety of the students.

Patterson was placed on administrative leave with pay Feb. 29 while James conducted the investigation. James said he met with Patterson, who already intended to retire this year, on Thursday when she submitted her request.

James said he met with teachers at the school on Friday and also sent a letter to parents to inform them of the situation.

James said Patterson will not receive any pay, her salary was $120,823, but she’ll receive health benefits while she is on leave until she retires .

The Board of Education is scheduled to approve Patterson’s leave and retirement requests at its meeting next Wednesday.

“Due to personal reasons she requested the leave,” school board Chair Priscilla Cretella said. “Being that she is a longstanding employee the board is happy to grant the leave.”

Patterson, of South Glastonbury, has been principal at Algonquin, which serves pre-kindergarten through third-grade students, since August 1997. Andrea Einhorn, the district’s curriculum director and assistant director of special education, has been serving as interim principal at Algonquin since Patterson was first put on leave.

James said he is now turning his attention to finding someone, preferably with experience at a pre-kindergarten through second- or third-grade school, to serve as interim principal at Algonquin. James said his intentions are to find an interim principal who could serve in the role until the new elementary school in Prospect is opened in a couple of years. James said he wants to avoid having a lot of change over the next two years.

“I thought that’s what would be the best thing for the students and parents,” James said.

Cretella said the board is favorable to James’ plan.

James said the best thing the district can do now is move forward.

“I think the district needs to move forward at this point,” he said. “It’s been a trying couple of weeks … I think it’s time to look forward and move ahead.”