Roosevelt High School principal Brian Littlefield no longer with Weld RE-5J School District – The Denver Post

Weld RE-5J School District community members are looking for answers on the status of a well-respected former Roosevelt High School principal.

But the district is not ready to explain why it’s separated from Brian Littlefield and the process behind the decision.

Three adults with ties to the school system expressed their desire for more transparency surrounding Littlefield and his future during a board meeting last week.

“It’s not OK,” Johnstown resident Chelsea Sawyer told the 5-person board during the June 16 meeting. “Our students, our parents in this community deserve to have some answers.”

In her remarks, Sawyer questioned who made the decision for the district to part ways with Littlefield,  who has a doctorate in K-12 Educational Leadership and a career of nearly 30 years.

“This is not the best interest of our kids,” Saayer said. “That man has something he’s bringing to this community that very few have. He made a difference in my two high school kids’ lives.”

In the spring, it was revealed Littlefield was the subject of allegations of inappropriate behavior and responses on a variety of serious matters including bullying and race. He was ultimately switched from a role as the Roosevelt High School principal to a co-principal position where he shared duties with assistant principal Rebecca Albert Vollrath.

Littlefield leveled allegations of his own against former superintendent Leslie Arnold and district director of human resources Cara Anderson for creating a hostile work environment, targeting and retaliation.

Arnold and Littlefield have both received support this spring from community members during citizen comment periods at board meetings. Littlefield was fully endorsed by multiple community members who spoke to the board during a meeting in early May.

Two weeks later, Arnold was terminated by the board after less than three years as superintendent.

Arnold said she had “no clue” why she was dismissed by the district, while board of education president Michael Wailes said the district wanted to find a way forward with Arnold but was unable to accomplish that goal that following a conversation with her about her role as superintendent.

In mid-May, prior to Arnold’s termination, Wailes wrote in email that the matters relating to the complaints involving Arnold, Little and Anderson were closed.

“Although the investigation results and discipline documents are public record under Colorado law, personnel matters remain confidential and the District may not comment on them,” Wailes wrote.

Littlefield declined to comment on the allegations against him following the May 5 board meeting when nine of 10 individuals who addressed the board supported Littlefield.

“We are blessed and overwhelmed with the support and encouragement form our community, faculty and staff,” he said during a phone call.

Wailes, whose term is up in November, said near the end of the 3-hour meeting June 16 that he understood the community’s frustration with the district’s silence on Littlefield. Wailes added there is not a lot the district can explain because “it’s a personnel matter.”

“One of the things the board needs to do in cooperation with Dr. (Randy) Zila is…how can we share the process and how things have transpired?” Wailes said.

Randy Zila, Centennial BOCES executive director, is serving as the district’s short-term interim superintendent. He is expected to fill the role until or around July 19 by which time the board of education hopes to have an interim superintendent in place for the upcoming school year. Wailes said Zila is helping the district identify long-term superintendent candidates.

A search for a permanent superintendent is scheduled to begin later this year or in early 2022.

Wailes added there is a threat of litigation with the situation surrounding Littlefield and “that puts the board in a more precarious position and we can’t compromise the district more than we may already be compromised.”

Wailes and Zila did not return requests for comment as of late Monday afternoon.

Sawyer wasn’t the only district community member to praise Littlefield at the June 16 meeting. Shane Hartson, also a Johnstown resident, said Littlefield “has added a lot to my three sons’ lives.” Hartson said one of his sons, who is in middle school, knows Littlefield because the former principal is a regular at district events such as sports and other extra-curricular activities.

Hartson suggested the board re-evaluate its decision on Littlefield by trying to find non-biased perspectives without a link or tie to Arnold.

“Reach out to people who don’t have a dog in the fight,” Hartson said. “We don’t want to lose this guy.”

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