Sequim schools’ assistant superintendent placed on leave

Jennifer Maughan, Sequim School District assistant superintendent, has been placed on administrative leave, district officials and Maughan’s attorney said last week.

An email from Sequim school board president Brandino Gibson explained that on Sept. 3 the district received a complaint from Maughan, filed by attorney Shannon McMinimee, alleging acts of discrimination/retaliation against her by interim superintendent Jane Pryne.

“While this matter is under investigation, Dr. Pryne will not be Ms. Maughan’s supervisor and has been directed to have no direct communication with her,” Gibson wrote on Sept. 13.

“The matter has been referred to the District’s insurer.”

In a telephone interview last week, Pryne said she was unable to comment about Maughan’s placement on leave or employment status.

The school district is also processing other complaints involving Maughan, Gibson wrote, “some that require coordination of her interactions with District staff, students and community members.

“Further, the District has no one other than Dr. Pryne to supervise Ms. Maughan’s work or complete the transition of her return from her leave of absence, which had not been completed prior to the filing of her complaint. For those reasons Ms. Maughan was placed on paid administrative leave, effective September 4, 2021.”

Maughan was on medical leave from Feb. 19 through August. In opposition to the district’s statement, McMinimee said Maughan had already returned from her medical leave before she filed her retaliation complaint against the superintendent.

The Gazette is awaiting documents from the district detailing the number and specifics of complaints against Maughan, as well as complaints filed by Maughan.

The school district is “continuing to monitor all of the complaints currently pending, and will take further action as circumstances warrant, but has no further comment on any of them at this time,” Gibson wrote.

Maughan’s placement on leave on Sept. 3, McMinimee wrote in a Sept. 4 email, said was “in direct retaliation for our having made a discrimination and retaliation complaint against Interim Superintendent Jane Pryne.”

McMinimee said that while Maughan — while on medical leave earlier this year — filed a complaint with the Washington Human Rights Commission (HRC) regarding “discrimination, retaliation, and workplace violence she had experienced working for the (Sequim School District) up through the time when she went on medical leave.”

The complaint filed with the Human Right Commission claims that Maughan “Has been passed over for consideration for Superintendent, been subjected to unwanted sex-based commentary, had her job duties taken away/minimized, physically assaulted, etc.”

McMinimee provided the document detailing Maughan’s complaint through the HRC, available here.

Maughan has also filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, McMinimee wrote.

“Ms. Maughan looks forward to the HRC engaging in the prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation and hopes that her bravery in stepping forward helps remedy a deeply problematic workplace culture at the SSD that has been allowed to fester even despite large settlement against the SSD and the forced departure of other wrongdoers,” McMinimee wrote.

She wrote, “It is highly unusual that the complainant in such a circumstance gets put on administrative leave as opposed to the person whose conduct is being investigated. We are disappointed that the SSD is sidelining the complainant instead of the person whose conduct is at issue.

“This is unfortunately just the most recent in a series of unlawful actions our client has been subject to over the course of her employment with the SSD.”

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