MERRILLVILLE | The principal at Andrean High School is on a leave of absence.
Andrean President Harry Vande Velde III sent a letter to parents March 7 regarding Principal Mary Beth Ginalski.
In the letter, Vande Velde said, "Please be aware that Principal Ginalski has begun a leave. During the leave, the responsibilities of the school will initially be handled by the management team. If it is determined that a temporary principal needs to be appointed we will notify you of this decision immediately.
"In the meantime please do not infer or promulgate anything negative about Principal Ginalski or the leave situation. Ginalski is still our Principal, and we are very appreciative of the things that she has accomplished at Andrean. We have been blessed in many ways under Principal Ginalski's leadership."
Ginalski joined Andrean on Aug. 1, 2012, after being principal at Ridge View Elementary School in Hobart for 17 years. She has been in education for more than 30 years.
Ginalski replaced the Rev. Paul Quanz, who was the last of the Congregation of St. Basil ministers at the school and had been there nearly 30 years, 18 as principal. Quanz resigned to become a diocesan priest with the Diocese of Gary.
Vande Velde, of Valparaiso, became the first president of Andrean High School on Sept. 30 when Andrean became the first Catholic school in the Diocese of Gary to embrace the governance model of leadership. Already in place in some areas in Indiana, including Indianapolis, the school principal is responsible for academics and education while the school president focuses on fundraising, public relations, marketing and strategic planning.
The principal's leave of absence follows the firing of longtime Andrean teacher Kathy Lavenda, who was released in February, and a coach fired last year.
When asked about the situation in early March, Barbara O'Block, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Gary, said she couldn't comment on personnel issues.