Wadsworth Elementary School Principal Paul Peacock placed on administrative leave

The former district chief operations officer had filed a grievance against the school district.

Paul Peacock. File photo
Paul Peacock. File photo
  • Palm Coast Observer
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Wadsworth Elementary Principal and former Flagler Schools Chief Operations Officer Paul Peacock, who filed a grievance against the school district last December, has been placed on administrative leave.

A letter delivered to Peacock on Monday, May 8, informed him that he was being placed on administrative leave with pay “pending the final resolution of the current investigation being conducted by the outside law firm at the direction of the School Board.”

The letter was signed by LaShakia Moore, the district’s assistant superintendent for academic services.

The Observer emailed district officials requesting information on the nature of the investigation. School Board Attorney Kristy Gavin responded that she could not comment because it is a personnel matter.

“It’s something that will need to go before the board, so I really can’t comment,” she added.

Peacock said he was advised by counsel to also not to comment.

Peacock filed a grievance last December seeking $7,500 he said was owed to him in his former role as a district chief negotiator with the unions. 

The dispute had hinged on whether a stipend for the role was based on the calendar year or the fiscal year. The grievance went all the way to the School Board, which agreed with the district’s position that the stipend was paid by the fiscal year, and that Peacock had already received it.

But Peacock also sent the School Board a notice to sue based on what he called  a demotion from his district position as chief operations officer, his termination as a district negotiator, and his discovery of School Board member Colleen Conklin’s emails and texts to Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt concerning Peacock’s role in forging a tentative agreement with the teacher and support unions on a health insurance rebate for staff members.

Peacock had approved the tentative agreement before the board discussed the rebate. When the board later resisted the rebate, union members accused the district of reneging on the agreement. 

Peacock obtained Conklin’s emails and texts through a public records request.

In one text, Conklin had called Peacock “an idiot.” Her text went on to say, “Our emails are blowing up and social media is a mess.”

The board ultimately approved the rebate.

Peacock was reassigned to Wadsworth in June. He has said that he has received positive district reviews for his performance as the school’s principal.

The letter informing Peacock of his administrative leave said that during the leave, “You are not to discuss this matter or any other school related business with any colleagues, parents or students.”


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