Morro Bay High School Principal Dan Andrus has resigned from his post, following an agreement reached with district administrators.
Andrus, 46, remains employed with San Luis Coastal Unified School District and will continue to be paid $162,000 annually in salary and benefits as an administrator on special assignment for up to a year. Assistant Principal Kathy Buehler is now the interim principal.
Superintendent Eric Prater said the decision comes at a time when a new focus is being put into in the areas of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) education at the school.
“Andrus and I have worked together closely for the last 3 1/2 years,” Prater said. “We didn’t necessarily agree on everything but I have a respect for his skills and talent. I think we agree that we’ve landed on amicable terms and I feel like we are both in agreement that this is probably going to be the best thing.”
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The decision was not based on any unprofessional or unsatisfactory conduct, Prater said.
Andrus, who was hired by the district in the middle of the 2006-07 school year as an assistant principal at the high school, was promoted to principal in 2009. He was on paid medical leave from Feb. 7 to Feb. 19, followed by paid administrative leave from Feb. 20 to March 7.
He sent an email to high school staff Tuesday, letting them know of the change in leadership.
“My medical leave actually ended a couple of weeks ago and since then I have been working with the district to negotiate new leadership for Morro Bay High School,” Andrus wrote. “On Friday, I officially resigned my position as principal and will be employed on special assignment.”
Andrus, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday, went on to say in the email, “The seven and a half years that I have spent with you at MBHS have been the highlight of my career…. MBHS is truly a special place because of the people who work so hard to make it so.”
The email, received mid-day, left some staff members rattled and others wondering why the decision was made with only a few months left before graduation. Prater said he did not think that Andrus will continue to work for the school district much longer, but said that in the meantime he will be asked to help with curriculum and professional development.
In 2016, the first batch of students from the new STEAM program at Los Osos Middle School will become ninth graders at Morro Bay High School. That program, launched by the district this year, includes a focus on using technology for advanced learning.
Prater said he plans to replace Andrus with someone who can continue that program at the high school level.
“What I am looking for is someone who understands the benefits of STEAM education, the complexity of working with different staff and departments on how to fully embrace this and integrate a learning model,” said Prater. “I’m not suggesting he wasn’t willing to do that, he was.”