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Vail Daily letter: Principal treated poorly

I am writing to express my embarrassment as a parent of Brush Creek Elementary School in Eagle.

Eagle is a forward-thinking town, one that is nationally recognized for ideas such as the singletrack bike path to the Eagle schools. Brush Creek Elementary School is a thought leader and one of the leading elementary schools in the district. I have been extremely happy with his experience at Brush Creek.

From the teachers and volunteers, to the office administration and the principal, I would not have wanted my children to go to any other elementary school. Until now.

For those of you who are not familiar, Brush Creek Elementary School had a fantastic principal, Ann Heckman, until the start of the 2014-15 school year. She was a pillar in the community and was liked by students, teachers and parents. Our school district recognized Mrs. Heckman’s achievements and promoted her at the end of the 2013-2014 school year.

Brush Creek Elementary School recruited and hired Stephanie Gianneschi as the new principal. Mrs. Gianneschi brought to the school many fresh ideas and forward thinking mentality — just like our town of Eagle.

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” — George Bernard Shaw.

Mrs. Gianneschi was not met with the small-town open arms that one would expect. She was not given the trust that our principal so rightly deserved. Instead, she was undermined as she looked towards the future and planned to take Brush Creek into a leadership role among elementary schools. From the transition of a library to a media center as well as the 2015-16 school year class size and many ideas in between, her ideas were scrutinized and met with unprofessional, personal attacks. The last incident that I know of was via an email from an anonymous source that asked for a review of Mrs. Gianneschi’s accomplishments (or lack there of) along with an evaluation request. I have never heard of such a thing for any principal or person in a professional role.

This last attack was not authorized by the school or the school district and was sent to many of the parents of children of Brush Creek.

I am concerned not only by the actions of a few parents, and the impact they had, but by a school system that let us down.

The parents of Brush Creek Elementary received an email on May 29, the day after our last day of school. It was from Mrs. Gianneschi. She resigned from her position of principal of Brush Creek Elementary School. I believe this excerpt from her letter to the Brush Creek Community sums it up best:

“As the school year came to a close yesterday, I reflected on the past year. I realize that it takes more than experience, instructional expertise, and passion to run a school like Brush Creek. A fit with the expectations of the community the school serves is also a must, and I now realize that I was not the best fit for the principal at Brush Creek.”

For the short time she was with our school, I can say she was hardworking, forward thinking, respectful and had a positive vision for our school — a vision we hardly had time to see play out. Whether or not you agree with all of her ideas, the way she was treated and the approach parents took to undermine her ability to do her job was unprofessional at a minimum.

I am ashamed that I did not speak up earlier. I would like to thank Mrs. Gianneschi for her hard work, positive attitude and forward thinking for our school. Your ideas will be missed. I hope we can find a principal who has half of the passion and forward thinking that Mrs. Gianneschi did.

Ken Nager


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