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Level Creek principal assigned mentor for rest of school year

SUWANEE — A Gwinnett County elementary school principal has been assigned a mentor for the remainder of the school year after complaints about “low morale” and “interpersonal skills” were brought to light by concerned parents.

Several Gwinnett County Public Schools officials gathered in the cafeteria of Level Creek Elementary for an emergency PTA meeting Wednesday night. They had met with principal Nancy Kiel several days in a row, addressing the situation they said was the result of Kiel’s inability to successfully communicate with parents and faculty in an “effective manner.”

It is a “serious issue,” GCPS Associate Superintendent Steven Flynt said.

“What we have is an adult issue,” Flynt said to an emotional crowd of parents. “And we don’t want that to go down and become a kid issue.”

Kiel, who has been principal at the Suwanee school for several years, will now be assigned a “leader mentor” from within the school system. Betty Dominy, a former administrator at Fort Daniel and Benefield elementary schools and long-time educator, will spend most days with Kiel for the remainder of the semester, spokeswoman Sloan Roach said.

Frequent parent and faculty surveys will also be monitored regularly by the school system. Test scores — which officials and parents both agreed were not an issue — will also be monitored.

“I realize that I failed to connect with many of you,” Kiel said during an address to the full cafeteria. “I look forward to the opportunity to regain your trust and hope that we build a successful partnership for our school.”

Several parents raised questions Wednesday about Kiel’s ability to lead and maintain high-level teachers because of her personal skills. Area Superintendent John Green said five Level Creek teachers have asked for transfers this school year, which is actually among the lowest percentage of Gwinnett County schools.

“The issue is that we don’t feel like there’s a lot of trust with our top administrator,” said parent Angie Hevia, who has a fourth-grader at Level Creek. “We’ve noticed that teachers have moved out, and we want to keep the good teachers. We’re not really sure why there isn’t a good rapport there.”