Genderfluid educator will move to classroom role in Swampscott
A Swampscott educator whose principal’s contract was not renewed after he came out as transgender will return to the classroom as an elementary school teacher, as part of an agreement with the school district.
Thomas Shannon Daniels, who worked as the principal of the Stanley Elementary School from 2012 to 2018, was out on paid administrative leave after coming out as transgender in a letter to the school community earlier this year.
In mid-March, schools Superintendent Pamela Angelakis announced that she would not renew Daniels’ contract, which ended June 30, after parents presented a statement of no confidence in Daniels.
At the time, Angelakis declined to say why she did not renew Daniels’ contract.
With the new agreement, announced Friday afternoon, Daniels will be able to remain on leave next year to obtain necessary licenses to return to work as a teacher for grades 1-5 beginning in the 2019-2020 academic year, according to a statement released by both sides Friday.
Daniels will receive a lump sum payment of $90,000, which includes legal fees and other costs, according to the statement.
“We’re very happy that the issue was able to be to be resolved before it reached litigation,” Hillary Schwab, Daniels’ attorney, told the Globe in a phone interview Saturday.
The agreement was first reported by the Salem News on Friday.
Daniels identifies as gender fluid, which means he does not describe himself as entirely male or female. Daniels uses the pronouns “he,” “him,” and and goes by “mister,” Schwab said.
In Friday’s statement, Daniels called the agreement a “win-win,” and said it sends a positive message to the Swampscott community and students “about responding to conflict with empathy, creativity, compromise, and collaboration.”
“I look forward to returning to classroom teaching where I can have a direct and positive impact on student learning while providing an environment that respects and celebrates human differences,” Daniels said in the statement.
The agreement comes after a tumultuous several months for Daniels and the Swampscott schools.
Days after Daniels came out, parents who attended a February school meeting to discuss the changes raised issues about his record as principal and cited grievances by teachers.
And in March, a group of parents presented a statement of no confidence in Daniels to the Swampscott School Committee that faulted his leadership, communication with parents, and decision-making.
Daniels also “failed to present a proper learning environment and has not put the safety of our children/students first,” the parents wrote.
Angelakis in the statement said that she was pleased to reach an agreement that allows Daniels “the opportunity to return to teaching.”
Daniels and Angelakis could not be reached Saturday.
School Committee Chairwoman Amy OConnor declined comment to a Globe reporter Saturday.
In the statement, OConnor called the agreement a “reasonable resolution” that is fair and eliminates the possibility of legal action.
“Providing the opportunity for Thomas Shannon Daniels to return reaffirms our district’s culture of inclusivity for all students, teachers and staff and allows Daniels to return to his chosen profession,” OConnor said.