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Harbor City International School opts for new leadership

Harbor City International School has terminated its executive director, replacing him with two teachers.

The school's board of directors in June opted against offering Paul McGlynn — who has led the charter high school since 2014 — an employment agreement for the coming school year, said Sarah Lindahl, a teacher at the school and president of the board.

She said the board reviews the director annually.

"This year we decided that in order to reach the goals of (Harbor City), a change in leadership was needed," Lindahl said, noting the school's "high academic standards" won't be affected.

English teacher Anne Wise and math teacher Ted Buck — both who will continue to teach part-time — are now director of academic programs and business director, respectively.

Both have been in leadership positions with the school before.

"We've always been, since our founding, a very teacher-led, teacher-driven kind of school," Wise said. "We've looked at teachers as the ones who know how the school should work."

The board of directors is made up of five teachers, three parents and a non-parent community member.

McGlynn, who could not be reached for comment, replaced John Haire, who died last year several months after his departure. McGlynn previously served as the executive director of Sobriety High, a former charter school in the Twin Cities, and has taught in Japan, Spain and England. When he was hired, Wise said McGlynn's leadership style, teaching experience and "passion for developing excellent educational outcomes for all students" would complement the school.

This week Lindahl declined to go into specifics of the decision.

Former Harbor City parent Kathy Sahlberg said she was "shocked" to hear of the decision.

"It's a horrible loss for the school," she said.

About 240 students are enrolled at the school this year. Harbor City opened in 2002. The school's academic performance improved dramatically under Haire, and that continued under McGlynn, with the school lauded by the state again last year for its test scores. Also under McGlynn's tenure was a dress code controversy, where some students reported being targeted for code violations.