As of Friday afternoon, the Camas School District is searching for a new principal for Camas High School.
That is the word following an announcement Friday afternoon, where Camas School District Superintendent Dr. Jeff Snell said that Principal Dr. Liza Sejkora turned in her resignation earlier that day, and that he has accepted it.
Dr. Snell will act as interim principal for the time. He said the district is looking for someone inside to take the job in order to maintain stability.
“Trust between a principal and a school is so critical, and it’s become clear to me and my time here that trust has been broken,” Dr. Snell said in the video. “I do not see a path to repair that trust that can happen in a way that does not continue to compromise your educational experience.”
The decision comes in response to a controversial post about Kobe Bryant by Sejkora on her private Facebook account on Sunday, January 26.
On Thursday, Dr. Snell and other District staff members worked with Camas leadership students to organize an indoor tribute to Kobe Bryant. Despite this agreement, many students decided to walk out of the school building.
“We gonna do this right so we are going outside,” Senior Seth Kolshinski posted to his Snapchat story, along with a video of a mass of students leaving the building.
Twitter Footage of Walkout– video credit Junior Lily Leifsen.
Thursday’s walkout is in response to Dr. Sejkora posting to her personal Facebook account a comment, now deemed inappropriate and a self-admitted mistake, on the day basketball star Kobe Bryant and eight others died in a helicopter crash in California. The post, allegedly leaked to the community-sharing app Nextdoor by a Facebook friend, began circulating on various social media platforms in the following days. Sejkora deleted the post soon after it was published. On Tuesday the Associated Press published the story, causing the news to go nationwide — from Good Morning America to The New York Times. Also on Tuesday, Sejkora spoke to a number of local media outlets, including Lacamas Magazine, which published an interview on YouTube.
Many students were outraged by her statement, but others think the situation is getting out of hand.
“I think people can speak their mind, but if you are a public figure, then you should not speak in a public way,” an anonymous student said.
“I don’t think it was that big of a deal. She can have her own opinion. She apologized, and she wouldn’t do that if she didn’t care about us,” a different anonymous student said.
As a result of threats and the concern over safety for students and staff, there was additional staff and police presence on campus on Wednesday and Thursday. Additionally, students planned a walkout beginning at 1:04 for nine minutes — one minute to honor each of the nine victims who died in the helicopter crash along with Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. Dr. Snell announced that students should remain in class for safety reasons, after swarms of students left school in the morning due to safety concerns. Dr. Snell said police investigated all the threats and have found no credibility thus far.
Superintendent Snell shared a message with students during first period on Wednesday and asked teachers to continue that messaging with a letter: “Students, I’m sorry that you have been placed in this situation. We have always asked you to represent our school well and you certainly have. Unfortunately, because of a mistake from a trusted leader, our school has been thrust into the spotlight. I want to let you know that your safety is our first priority.” He said, “As a school community, we need to move forward. It is important for me to hear your voice.”
“I wanted to make sure that students and staff felt supported,” Dr. Snell wrote in an email to The Camasonian. “I really would like to help the school get back into more of a normal routine, but I know that’s going to take some time.”
Camas School District Superintendent Dr. Jeff Snell announced Tuesday evening that Camas High School Principal Dr. Liza Sejkora is now placed on administrative leave due to safety concerns. Her return to campus is pending a District investigation.
Superintendent Snell said he will continue to be at CHS all week, and “quite a bit more than usual the rest of the year.” During Sejkora’s leave, he is acting as principal and carrying out her duties.
“I felt privileged to get to work with the staff. As you know, we have some pretty incredible people that work at Camas High,” Dr. Snell wrote.