Transgender principal will return to Swampscott schools as a teacher

An employment agreement has been reached with former Stanley Elementary School principal, Thomas Shannon Daniels. (Jim Wilson)

SWAMPSCOTT — Embattled elementary school principal Thomas Shannon Daniels will return to Swampscott as a teacher next year.

Daniels, who prefers he/him pronouns, had been on paid administrative leave since February, weeks after coming out as transgender. He was the principal of Stanley Elementary School from 2012-2018.

Daniels will remain on leave for the rest of the school year, and will be paid at a teacher’s scale, according to the terms of an agreement signed by Daniels, School Superintendent Pamela Angelakis and members of the Swampscott School Committee. During that time, Daniels will seek the necessary teaching certifications to return as a teacher for the 2019-2020 school year, according to a joint statement from Daniels and the Swampscott School Department released Friday.

“I am pleased that we were able to reach an agreement that affords Thomas Shannon Daniels the opportunity to return to teaching,” said Angelakis in the statement.

Daniels is expected to teach grades 1-5 for the beginning of the 2019-2020. He will also receive a $90,000 lump-sum payment as part of the agreement, which includes legal fees and other costs.

“I believe this win-win agreement sends a positive message to the Swampscott community, and particularly our students, about responding to conflict with empathy, creativity, compromise, and collaboration,” said Daniels. “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, 52, announced he was transitioning in early February. By the end of the month, however, Angelakis placed Daniels on paid leave, saying the mutual decision was made after the principal received “hurtful” messages related to his announcement.

By early March, Angelakis announced she would not renew Daniels contract. The move came after a petition signed by parents expressed a lack of confidence in Daniels’s leadership. The petition, sent to the School Committee, pointed to performance issues that preceded his announcement about his gender.

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