John Colson, whose sudden departure from his job as principal of Waimea Middle School ignited a firestorm of protest earlier this month, has found a new job at Hawaii Preparatory Academy, where he once served as headmaster.
"Having a gentleman of John’s stature join our administrative team is not an opportunity that comes around every day," said Lindsay Barnes, headmaster of HPA, which is also located in Waimea on the Big Island. "This is not an opportunity I would have predicted, but it’s one we were ready to explore when it was confirmed that John was available."
On March 1, Colson will become acting director of development at Hawaii Prep, a college preparatory school. He had worked there as a counselor, coach and teacher for many years, and was its headmaster from 1991 to 2003.
"I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and working with Lindsay and everyone else at HPA as they continue to improve the HPA experience," Colson said in a prepared statement issued by the school Wednesday.
Ho’okako’o Corp., the Honolulu-based nonprofit that serves as the local school board for Waimea Middle, has refused to divulge any reasons for Colson’s sudden exit from the public charter school. On Feb. 7, it abruptly announced to students that their principal had left. It later described the exit as a resignation, and said neither side could discuss the situation because of a confidentiality agreement.
Officials emphasized that there was no impropriety involved.
Parents, students and community members have pleaded for Colson’s return, packing a community meeting, taking to the Internet, and appealing to the Charter School Review Panel.