The head of Palliser Regional Schools is temporarily stepping aside after a controversial year addressing allegations of a “culture of fear” and abusive behaviour.
A release from district officials said superintendent Kevin Gietz is taking a temporary leave and will be replaced in the meantime by a familiar face.
The Board of Trustees of Palliser Regional Schools passed a resolution Tuesday to appoint Dr. Garry Andrews as acting superintendent, effective immediately. Andrews is no stranger to Palliser, having served as superintendent from 2004 to 2007.
Gietz has served as superintendent of Palliser Regional Schools since 2007, when he succeeded Andrews. Gietz joined Palliser in 2005 as an associate superintendent working as part of Andrews’ team.
Earlier this year, an online petition, started by a group calling itself Concerned Parents of Palliser Schools, asked for an investigation and independent review into the school system after allegations of a “culture of fear” and alleged abusive behaviour by Gietz.
Palliser Regional Schools and Gietz have denied the allegations, claiming they “are entirely without merit.”
Gietz himself requested an independent operational review in January, but the process has been delayed several times.
READ MORE: Palliser Regional Schools Superintendent calls for external review into ‘culture of fear’.
The public has been left with many unanswered questions as to why Geitz has taken a temporary leave, but the board is not willing to release any details at this time.
The board’s motion appointing Andrews is for a term ending July 4 or until Gietz returns.
No further details of the leave will be made public in keeping with privacy legislation.
READ MORE: Palliser Regional Schools’ operational review plan changed again
Palliser Regional Schools is a public school division serving more than 8,000 students from Coaldale to Calgary. The division includes 15 community schools and 10 faith-based alternative schools, as well as 17 Hutterian colony schools, and a number of alternative programs. It also includes an online and international program.