Riverside Middle School principal out, replaced by principal from Castle Rock

2014-03-28T10:01:00Z 2014-04-28T12:55:07Z Riverside Middle School principal out, replaced by principal from Castle RockGazette Staff The Billings Gazette

School District 2 officials removed Riverside Middle School's principal from her job on Thursday. 

Sharon Tietema, who had been principal at the school for four years, will be replaced by Castle Rock Middle School Principal Shaun Harrington, who takes over on Monday. 

"There was a deep disagreement between Sharon's leadership style and how the staff received it," said Superintendent Terry Bouck. 

Tietema was unavailable for comment on Friday. A message left on her cellphone was not returned. 

Over the last several months, Bouck said he worked with staff at Riverside and worked individually with Tietema to resolve the issues. 

"Tried to work through several avenues," Bouck said. "In the end, it was in the best interest of the school, in the best interest of the students."

He said Tietema is still an employee of the district. Her next assignment is still "to be determined," he said. 

Bouck explained that he came to the decision to make the change when all the other methods to remedy the situation failed. 

"It wasn't a knee-jerk decision," he said. "It was a thoughtful decision."

Rumblings of discord among staff have been bubbling up most of the school year. In January, a group of teachers gathered and held a no-confidence vote on Tietema's job performance. 

Shortly after, Bouck visited the school to address staff. As the school year went on, nothing improved. By the time Bouck felt he had to make the change at Riverside, the staff's January vote wasn't a factor. 

Rather, he said, "it's something, you finally get to that point (where) it's obvious you need to do something." 

Bouck sent a letter home Thursday night to Riverside Middle School parents announcing the change. 

Tietema wasn't named in the letter. Instead, Bouck simply stated that Castle Rock Middle School Principal Shaun Harrington would take over at Riverside beginning with the new week.

"Although he will miss Castle Rock Middle School after eight years, he is looking forward to reconnecting with the Riverside community, of which he was a part for seven years," Bouck wrote.  

Friday afternoon, Bouck praised Harrington's abilities and confirmed that his move to Riverside is permanent. At Castle Rock, Associate Principal Nikki Hoffman will take over as principal. 

"She'll do an absolutely stellar job," he said. 

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