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Former Federal Way High School principal settles with district for $219,000

Federal Way Public Schools - Courtesy Federal Way Public Schools
Federal Way Public Schools
— image credit: Courtesy Federal Way Public Schools

More details have emerged in the mystery of why former Federal Way High School principal Lisa Griebel left the district  219,000 details, to be exact.

Signed on March 12, 2014 by former Superintendent Rob Neu and Griebel, is a settlement of $219,000 given to Griebel in exchange for releasing district officials “from any liability or damages, including without limitation, continuing contract rights and damages for emotional distress and/or discrimination, arising by reason of Griebel’s prior interactions with the district and Griebel’s employment relationship with the district …,” according to records the Mirror obtained through a public records request.

The settlement specifically outlines that the district is freed from any claims arising under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Washington State Law Against Discrimination and the Washington Age Discrimination Statute.

Debra Stenberg, spokeswoman for Federal Way Public Schools, said the settlement amount was negotiated based on Washington principal tenure law and represented the value of Griebel’s contract, “including all employer-paid benefits and leaves.”

Although Stenberg would not comment on why there was a settlement, she did say “it was in the district’s best interests to resolve this matter via a negotiated settlement.”

While Griebel also declined to comment on the record, she did confirm all information in the Mirror’s column by Bob Roegner, printed in April, to be true and factual.

Roegner outlined a tumultuous relationship between the former Federal Way High School principal and former superintendent.

It’s alleged that despite an excellent evaluation, in August 2013, Griebel was asked to leave following questions of whether the superintendent and district administrators had spent too much money and too little effort in gaining public support before planning a trip across Asia and Australia for the Global Initiative Project.

She also allegedly voiced concern about the district’s choice of using an inexperienced consultant for $250,000 in support of Race to the Top.

Allegedly, Griebel’s vocal opposition didn’t bode well with the superintendent and action was taken.

Roegner states district officials told Griebel she was insubordinate. A short time later she was placed on administrative leave until March when she signed the settlement.

Griebel had been with the Federal Way school district for 23 years.

In an April 1 blog post titled “So long and thanks for all the fish!” Griebel addresses the board of education about her resignation.

She described all that she’s benefited from in serving the four schools and three different grade levels during her eight distinguished job titles since 1991.

“I willingly learned alongside some amazing and caring mentors like Tom Murphy, Carol Matsui, Dr. Josh Garcia, Karen Dickinson and Erin Jones,” she wrote. “Their leadership lessons grew me into a confident, outspoken and student-focused leader I am today.”

She also spoke of how the administrative leave left a self-proclaimed workaholic looking at life differently — a blessing in disguise.

“I learned that family comes first and spent many weeks supporting my dying father — able to be present when he passed from this world into the next, surrounded by our loving family,” she wrote. “I learned that work friends are not real friends. I spent these months renewing former friendships and cultivating news ones, gaining a new network of loyal and supportive friends away from the workplace.”

Now Griebel paints, writes, photographs, does yoga, volunteers for the Salvation Army, a food bank and serves as a member of a city library advisory board.

“All making me a more balanced, and more interesting, person,” she wrote.

And in the end, Griebel thanked the district for the past and for putting her on the path to a better future.

Griebel will start her new position as principal of Miller Junior High School in Aberdeen on July 1.

 

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