A popular Kenosha Unified principal has resigned citing personal, undisclosed reasons, according to a district announcement Thursday.
Kurt Sinclair, the bow-tie wearing principal of Bradford High School, resigned effective Wednesday, according to an automated recorded call sent by the district notifying staff and parents of students.
Assistant principals Kim Fischer, Adam Sulko and Jill Schwenzen will be in charge during the transition, according to Unified spokeswoman Tanya Ruder. She said assistant principals met earlier with staff regarding Sinclair’s resignation.
“Right now we have the three assistant principals who will be stepping up to handle the role and further plans are still in the works for posting the position,” Ruder told the Kenosha News.
“I cannot say anything more regarding this,” she said.
Sinclair had been principal since August 2012, returning to lead the school nearly three decades after his graduation in 1983.
In 2015, he received a distinguished almuni award from the Bradford High School Alumni Association.
Years as a principal
Prior to taking the reigns of his alma mater, where he replaced then-Bradford Principal Sue Savaglio-Jarvis who became Unified superintendent, he was principal at Round Lake (Ill.) High School for five years.
Sinclair, who had been a district administrator prior to taking a job in Illinois, departed Unified in 2007 following a contentious job reassignment involving three other district-level administrators. Viewed as a demotion by the administrators, a lawsuit filed by one of them later forced the board to reverse its position thereby undoing the reassignment.
During his tenure at Bradford, Sinclair’s leadership accompanied changes, among them the building and opening of the long-awaited Mary D. Bradford High School Stadium on its campus three years ago.
Over the last two years, Sinclair and Schwenzen have been involved in leading the district’s applied trauma response care in schools.
School faced scrutiny
In recent months, however, the school, also has faced its share of scrutiny, including a teacher’s reported use of a racial slur in class and concerns about the school’s health curriculum.
In December the curriculum came under fire and later became part of a larger ACLU complaint involving sexual harassment allegations against the district, after students and parents complained that materials discussing date rape were inappropriate as some questions blamed rape victims. The materials have since been removed.
That same month, parents of students in an Italian language course complained to administration that an instructor reportedly used the “N-word” after overhearing two students using it during a conversation in class.
The parents went to the district after they said Sinclair failed to address the issue. The district launched an investigation and placed the teacher on paid administrative leave.
The incident later prompted members of Kenosha’s Coalition for Dismantling Racism to call on Unified’s administration for answers and to address the results of its investigation in public.
“What we want is to have the administration give answers on their policy and the feelings on how they handle this situation,” Derrell Greene said Thursday night. “It just seems there’s a real lack of communication between the administration and the school and the community.”
He said the administration and the School Board have yet to respond on the results of the investigation and whether it would conduct districtwide cultural sensitivity and diversity training for its staff.
Greene said he was shocked at the news of Sinclair’s resignation.
“I have a hard time thinking he resigned because of this incident,” he said. “We’ve never said anything to them about discipline (of Sinclair).”
Sinclair could not be reached for comment.
The principal had earned an annual salary of $136,297.