Popular teacher reinstated after parents protest at board meeting
EAGLE — A popular teacher will stay in the school after two dozen angry parents stormed a school board meeting to protest the non-renewal of his contract.
Joe Marino still has a job, but he will teach at a school other than Brush Creek Elementary. Declining enrollment forced Principal Stephanie Gianneschi to cut a full-time position.
On the heels of all that, Gianneschi announced her resignation on May 29. It became effective June 16.
“Thank you for the opportunity to lead Brush Creek over the past academic year,” Gianneschi wrote in her resignation letter to Jason Glass, superintendent of Eagle County Schools.
In a letter to Brush Creek parents, Glass said Gianneschi’s decision was “difficult … but was right for her at this time.”
“We greatly appreciate all of the energy and dedication that Stephanie provided to her school and community and wish her the very best in the future. Stephanie is a talented and professional educator who cares deeply for her students. We wish her only the best in the days ahead,” Glass wrote.
A May 13 school board meeting was the second time in two nights Glass heard from Marino supporters. Glass had attended a parent meeting the night before.
They were just as passionate the next night in the school board meeting, standing by their man and asking Glass and the school board override the decision not to renew Marino’s contract.
Glass said he appreciates that amount of engagement from parents, and said it’s one of the reasons Brush Creek Elementary School is so outstanding.
At that May 13 school board meeting, Glass said that because of the school’s declining enrollment, a full-time position would have to be cut.
After almost a half-hour of parent testimony in Marino’s behalf, Glass promised those parents he would spend a day in Marino’s classroom, observing his teaching and interaction with his students.
During those meetings, some parents said their young children wanted to become educators because of Marino’s positive influence.
They called the decision not to renew his contract “short-sighted,” and called Marino “a rare find,” saying he is an outstanding educator and a male elementary school teacher.
“We would be lucky to have a school full of Mr. Marinos,” said Heather Beckett.
They said letting Marino go is a “disservice to our community,” and that they were “dumbfounded when he was not renewed,” calling him an “outstanding educator and individual.”
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.