Weiss defends actions, record

  • Sarah Koenig<br>Enterprise writer
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 1:07pm

Alan Weiss downplays negative comments in his professional record during 12 years in the Edmonds School District.

The recently retired Edmonds-Woodway High School principal is running for Edmonds School Board. A public records request by The Enterprise revealed a suspension and numerous complaints as well as some support and positive reviews. (See related story).

Weiss said the complaints were “isolated” and that only a small group was against him. He said he doesn’t recall insulting staff.

“I’ve never done anything deliberate to try to harm a person verbally,” he said. “Just because a person says something, that doesn’t mean that I did it.”

Weiss said that though he’s been accused of using teacher assignments to get rid of people who crossed him, it isn’t true.

“My word is my bond,” he said. “I never lie. I absolutely never lie.”

When Weiss came to Edmonds-Woodway High School in fall 1995, there was no central curriculum and academic expectations were low, he said. Weiss raised the academic bar and set standards, which made teachers who wanted the status quo uncomfortable, he said.

Weiss said those teachers complained to Edmonds School District officials about him and tried to get rid of him.

Weiss said that much of the bad perception about him stemmed from a building representative for the teacher’s union.

Weiss declined to name the teacher, but said the person complained to officials and rallied staff against Weiss.

According to Weiss, this teacher said he came to the school in 1999 for one reason — to try to get Weiss fired because Weiss had canceled a percussion class his daughter was in. The statement purportedly happened in a 2003 meeting.

“We were shocked,” Weiss said.

Once the teacher left the school in summer 2004, the “pall over the building was gone,” Weiss said.

“I didn’t have a dramatic turnaround for the better,” he said, referring to the years after the district’s 2001 investigation. “The piece that was creating the trouble (the teacher) was gone.”

Weiss gave The Enterprise detailed accounts of his version of the story on district reprimands in recent years.

He said the fall 2004 e-mail that resulted in a three-day suspension was sent after a stressful weekend when he learned his daughter might have cancer. In that situation, he’d already spoken with the teacher about what he considered inappropriate behavior that persisted, he said.

Weiss said the e-mail was terse but that the district’s punishment was “excessive.”

Of his reprimand for publically giving female teachers sexually explicit romance novels a month later, Weiss said another staff member purchased them and told Weiss it would be a good joke.

As for reprimands for sexual innuendos Weiss made in 2006, he said the comments were taken out of context.

Overall, Weiss said the changes he made at the school speak for themselves.

“I was hired to transform Edmonds-Woodway High School from a school that had enormous potential but was unrealized,” he said. “Look at what I did. Everyone and their uncle wants to go there.”

Talk to us