New principal at Eau Claire elementary school let go - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

New principal at Eau Claire elementary school let go

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Hired in July and released in August. The man recently hired for principal at Sherman Elementary has been let go, before the school year even begins.

In July, Tom Dechant took over as principal at Sherman Elementary, replacing Chad Erickson who resigned to take a job in another district.

Concerns then grew over charges that were filed while Dechant served as principal of a middle school in Clintonville.

In 2010, and again in 2012, he was charged, but not convicted of, disorderly conduct. In both cases Dechant was ordered to maintain absolute sobriety and do community service. Both cases were dismissed when he completed those conditions.

The superintendent at Dechant's former school was aware of the cases, but did not do anything because they did not affect his job performance.

In Eau Claire, the district's executive director of human resources, Kay Marks, says they were also aware of the cases. While the district is prohibited from discussing personnel issues, we were told that it's against the law to refuse to hire someone based on their arrest or conviction record, unless there is a direct correlation between the charge and the job.

According to a criminal complaint from Calumet County, the charges against Dechant were from two separate incidents related to domestic altercations. In 2010, there was an altercation between Dechant and a 16 year old. Then in 2012, a similar situation was reported with Dechant and the same person who was then 18 years old.

Thursday, the Eau Claire Area School District notified parents of Sherman Elementary School students that Dechant would be replaced before the beginning of the school year. Then Thursday night, the district announced that Kris Dimock has been named interim principal at Sherman. Dimock previously served as Director of Pre-K and Elementary Education.

Dr. Mary Ann Hardebeck, Superintendent of Eau Claire Schools, says she hopes the Sherman community can move forward from this and support the school's new principal.

Below is a copy of the email sent to families that attend Sherman Elementary:

Dear Sherman Parents and Families,

I wanted to follow up with you as Sherman Elementary parents and families regarding the appointment of a principal for Sherman Elementary.

I am pleased to announce that the Director of Elementary Education, Mrs. Kris Dimock, has agreed to serve as Interim Principal while the District continues its efforts to appoint a principal to the position.  Mrs. Dimock is an experienced administrator and was a successful principal at Longfellow Elementary School.  She is very much looking forward to working with Sherman's students, parents, and faculty.  With her leadership, the Sherman community can move forward in its work on behalf of our students. 

I recognize that you, as parents, can and should be concerned that the District complete its process and appoint a permanent principal.  I share your concern.  I want to assure you that we have not as yet done so only because we have the best interests of your children at heart, and want to make certain that you and we can support any final appointment with confidence and enthusiasm.  I will keep you posted.

Sincerely,

Mary Ann Hardebeck

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