WAIMEA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - After attending a community meeting on Thursday night, parents and students are still confused about a Big Island principal's abrupt departure. John Colson's mysterious departure is causing controversy on the Waimea Middle School campus. During the meeting, puzzled parents grilled members of Hookakoo Corporation, the board that runs the public conversion charter school.
"You all have not lived up to the purpose of education for our kamalii. You as directors fired our principal in the middle of a school year, and keep in mind two weeks prior to Hawaii state assessment," said Waimea resident Melissa Lindsey.
"John Colson resigned. We accepted his resignation, and part of a separation agreement is neither of us can talk about it. You're gonna hate it. You want to know why. Was he fired? We cannot comment on it," said Keith Vieira, chair of Hookakoo Corporation.
Colson had served as the school's leader for four years. He is credited with bringing stability to the campus and helping to raise test scores. The board said his resignation was not due to any impropriety.
"I will say that John Colson did nothing ethically, morally wrong. There was nothing like that at all," said Vieira.
"Mr. Colson is deep-rooted here in Waimea, and his love, compassion, understanding for our, and his community, is unconditional," said Lindsey.
Colson's last day was Friday, February 3. The board notified students and staff during an assembly last week Tuesday. Parents received a letter the following day.
"We have to say that we're very sorry that we did not communicate that better. It should have been done in a different format and we should have shown you the respect to make sure we got that right," Vieira said.
While many hope Colson will be reinstated, the search for a new leader has already begun. The board introduced the interim principal, Lydia Trinidad, from Kualapuu School on Molokai. Still. community members aren't giving up.
"I will be sure, as well as our Waimea ohana, will research, learn, and teach ourselves to dissolve you all as directors," said Lindsey.