The embattled head of Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish has resigned in the aftermath of her controversial firing of a popular gay vice principal and swim coach.
The news of Sister Mary Tracy’s resignation came in an email sent Tuesday to parents and other members of the Eastside Catholic community.
“For Sister Mary it was a difficult, but necessary decision so that a new leader can be brought in to ensure the entire Eastside Catholic community is moving forward on a positive path,” said the letter.
Students have staged a number of protests since Tracy fired Mark Zmuda after learning he had married his gay partner last summer.
Sister Mary and a school spokesman issued conflicting statements about Zmuda, first claiming he had resigned, saying he had violated teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, which he’d agreed to uphold when he began working at the school.
But Zmuda insisted he had been fired by Sister Mary. His departure has sparked worldwide attention and outrage. It’s been a black eye for the school as students walked out of class, protested at the Seattle Archdiocese and launched a petition drive calling on the school to reverse its decision and urging the Catholic Church to change its stand on gay marriage.
Here is the email in its entirety:
Dear Eastside Catholic Community,
After several years as Eastside Catholic’s President and Head of School, Sister Mary Tracy has submitted her resignation to the board of trustees. The board has accepted her resignation, which is effective immediately. We thank Sister Mary for her many contributions to Eastside Catholic.
Principal Polly Skinner and Interim Vice Principal Tom Lord will continue their leadership of the school supported by our outstanding faculty and staff as they carry forward with Eastside Catholic’s three Touchstones of Academic Excellence, Relationships and Servant Leadership.
Sister Mary came to this decision after much prayer and reflection. For Sister Mary it was a difficult, but necessary decision so that a new leader can be brought in to ensure the entire Eastside Catholic community is moving forward on a positive path.
The board of trustees, along with a search committee, will immediately begin a search for Eastside Catholic School’s next President.
We realize that members of the Eastside Catholic community (students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni and friends) may have questions. In that spirit, the board is in the process of setting up additional town hall meetings with the Eastside Catholic community. A school parents’ meeting is currently scheduled for Thursday, January 23. We will notify you as soon as additional meeting dates are scheduled. The board has also established an email address for questions and communication with the board: [email protected]
In closing, we want to once again thank Sr. Mary for her many contributions and to thank each of you in the broader EC community for your ongoing thoughts, prayers and support of the Eastside Catholic school.
Interim Board of Trustees Co-Chairs
Eastside Catholic School